On the reef

This is the first time in nearly a year that we’ve been in a lagoon inside an encircling reef and the memories of all our beautiful Pacific atoll anchorages are swirling in my brain. The only difference here is the temperature, much cooler than our tropical landfalls. We determined the water is too cold for us to snorkel without wetsuits (perpetually on the list but so far not acquired) but we enjoyed seeing the photos the crew of Blackwattle took when they explored the various bommies. 

Our crystalline blue sky weather continues day after day and we’re delighted to have the the sun top up our batteries by noon, and the water tank filled up every day with the watermaker running on solar power. 

Christian of Blackwattle makes himself at home on EV’s stadium seat.

The crew of Blackwattle joined us for sundowners the first night and while I was showing off our well-insulated fridge and freezer I accidentally slammed the freezer lid on my thumb. Ouch! Peter said I should drill a small hole through the thumbnail to release the pressure of the obvious copious bleeding under the nail. Double ouch! Christian countered with the suggestion to heat a heavy needle and burn a hole through the nail instead. Triple ouch! That led Peter to declare that there are two kinds of people in the world, burners and drillers. I decided I was neither and took some painkillers to dull the throbbing. 

Landing on the small island involved a circuitous putt-putt in the dinghy through a marked channel across the reef to a crunchy shoreline. We hoped we’d timed it right, because if we went at high tide the receding water would leave our heavy dink high and dry on the sharp coral. At low tide we ran the risk of the dink getting swamped by the incoming water. We met a young couple with a small child on the beach who had badly mistimed it and were trying to stay comfortable in the midday sun and amuse themselves while they waited 3 or 4 hours for their beached dinghy to float again. 

The path across the island is beautiful but the real attraction is the reef. 

A wide bank of dead coral forms a solid buttress against the ocean swell. At high tide waves tumble over into the lagoon leaving small sea creatures and nourishing patches of live coral. A healthy reef will grow bigger on both the sea and lagoon sides as new coral sprouts and branches. 

We spent lazy days enjoying the relative solitude of the reef. Blackwattle borrowed our kayaks for a blustery tour of the island, and Jack busied himself with polishing the stainless. One night we had a mini dinghy raftup for sundowners just to change things up a bit. This is boatlife at its finest. 

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