20042013 At Sea - Saturday - Flying
During the night we have been boarded by stowaways, whose sad bodies litter the deck. Two 6"/12cm flying fish are slowly cooking in the early morning sun before we return them to the sea.
Meanwhile Grete, who was taking her early morning coffee, is attacked by the fruit of our stalk of bananas which having ripened overnight decided to succumb to gravity and let go a shower of yellow missiles down onto her. Needless to say the diet of bananas has increased and the crew are starting to leap up and down scratching their armpits. Some of us have even had an increase in facial hair.
The wind gets up to a steady 17knots just abaft the beam and we're flying along at 8/9kts and at that speed should reach the Beveridge Reef, around 3pm. We site the reef, a long line of breakers some 5 miles in the distance just after this time.
During our approach, Fred decides to go fishing and lets out a line. Suddenly "twang" as the remnants of the line less its hooks and trace hurls back to our stern. That was a 200 kilo breaking strength line, I'm not to sure we want to know what creature lurking in the 5000 metres of water below us has made good its escape.
We gingerly approach the fringing reef, skirting around it looking for the channel through it and our way in. All our charts bear little resemblance to reality and the GPS position is way out. We can now see the wreck of the 90 foot fishing boat and use it as a reference point.
Finding the dark blue channel we slowly motor in, keeping an eye out for any change in water colour, a change to brown yellow shows where a reef is near the surface, black marks small head on the sandy bottom with plenty of clearance.
Apart from a few diversions we head across the inland sea to the roaring breakers that mark the far edge of the reef and put us in the lee with calmer seas. There is a band of bright blue water some 5 or 600 metres inside of it where it changes from the dark blue which has indicated a steady 12 metres on our depth sounder.
Pulling up short of it we drop anchor, the water is crystal clear and we can see straight down to the little black blobs of small coral formations that stick out from the sandy bottom.
We haven't been anchored ten minutes and Fred, throwing one of those more ripened bananas overboard is treated to the arrival of a shark to check the offering.
As Anchordram and happy hour coincide, we settle for a gin and tonic, take rays and steady our nerve before donning our snorkelling gear to explore the waters.
My first sighting of two sharks under the boat is a little daunting but my colleagues assure me their "Only" reef sharks. "Only" they may be but they are nearly 2metres long and their beady eyes are checking me out.
Caution to the wind, and away we go. It's a bland desert, with small colourful fish life clinging around the occasional coral head that breaks the monotony of the flat sandy bottom. Wow, a large Sting Ray is heading my way, scurrying along the bottom and passing beneath me, looking for dinner.
The sand rises a couple of metres; this is the light blue band we could see as we anchored. Not a lot here either and it's still along way to the main reef. As I turn to head back I see I'm not alone and music from a certain movie fills my head as I see my escort of those two sharks keeping station some 10 metres away.
With certain urgency to my finning I make my way back. My! the boats a long way away. On my return, Fred who had caught up to me informs me that I am wrong, there were four sharks keeping me company! He shows us his find of a mini giant clam about 25cm across, which we photograph before he returns it to the deep
After a beautiful sunset it's Fish for dinner, Mai Mai which they caught some weeks previously, a nice bottle of Chardonnay and a special treat, Shan's lemon drizzle cake
With a shot of Brandy.
Under clear skies the stars shine brightly and we retire after another adventurous day in paradise.
Bob the Blog