Daily Archives: July 23, 2015

Life cycle of an anchorage

It’s nothing official. There are no rules. It’s just something you feel or sense. One day you’re having fun in paradise, utterly content, and the next, you look up from your morning coffee and everyone is gone or you don’t recognize any of the boats in the harbor. We Escapees call it watching the dead pig drift past the boat. It’s a long story but you know it when it happens. 

The lagoon in Fakarava at thirty eight miles long is one if the largest in the world and we wanted to check out one of the anchorages on the way down to the southern pass, so it was up anchor for the good ship Escape Velocity. The problem is that while there is a tremendous expanse of water in this lagoon, most of it quite deep, there are notable exceptions most of which are marked in that French way and rocks, bommies, reefs, and motus are not rare. So it was mind the magenta line on the chart plotter for Yours Truly, and watch the lagoon for any disturbances in the water. It can get a little tense. 

Motor sailing south we came upon the immense schooner Athos thundering backup north. Makes you wonder what is going on doesn’t it? They’d even assembled their mini airplane on deck.  

 We found our deserted anchorage just before the channel turns to the south west crossing the lagoon to the southern pass and bon mârché as far as we could tell. Anchor down, rum and lime on the rocks in hand, let the sunset begin. No green flash (NGF)   

I like a slow start to my mornings so it was mid day before we were heading towards the southern pass. As we approached, the symbols on the chart became very real as rocks reefs and bommies reared up out of the water. We had a series of four waypoints snaking our way through the rocks but we knew one of them was not in it’s correct location. Ok, now it really is tense as Marce on the foredeck cons us through the rock garden.  

 We spotted the bad waypoint sitting right on top of a reef but we squeezed by into the anchorage, sniffed around for a good spot and it was down anchor for the now breathing crew. Bring on the sunset!



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Dress yourself at the coconut tree

There was a competition scheduled called “tressage,” which we learned was plaiting palm fronds into various useful household items. There were examples displayed in the shell tent — a hat, clutch purse, market basket and round bin — and if I understood the rules, the competitors were to make three of the four. It wasn’t clear whether they would be judged on speed or quality, but as it turned out, only three women came to compete and one of them was so much better than the others that it turned into a one-horse race and a terrific demonstration of the art. If I had all the time in the world I’d apprentice myself to this woman. To watch her work, chatting with the onlookers as she deftly trimmed the fronds, plaited and wove, was to see a master craftsman. That it was an ancient skill passed down through generations using the materials available at hand gave us even more insight into life in this special place.       


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