Beveridge Reef

Lars Alfredson
Tue 23 Apr 2013 06:14
Pos 19:03.05S 169:55.30W
Alofi, Niue

20130421 Sunday - Beveridge Reef
After a quiet night at anchor, we breakfast, up anchor and head towards the entrance where we had spotted a nice patch of shallow reefs when we came in.

Dropping the anchor, we don our snorkel gear and fin our way across to the reef. On the way over I spot what looks like dead conch shell. Diving down some 8 metres I gingerly lift it just in time to spot the scything arm of
its occupant starting to emerge. Discretion being the better part of valour it's left to its slumbers.

On the reef it's the usual rainbow assortment of fish of all hues and sizes. Iridescent Blues, browns, greens and the bright yellows of Angel fish. In amongst the crevices out pops a black and white spotted Moray Eel, whilst in
crammed into another are a couple of Pencil sea anemones with their long, thick, orangey brown triangular spikes.

1130 we return to the boat and weigh anchor following the reciprocal course > held in the chart plotter. Soon were in dark blue water as the bottom drop to 3000 metres within a short distance from this isolated place. 

Fred decides to go fishing and reels out the line just as we pass through the gap and within minutes he's got a fight on his hands. As he reels in his catch he realises he's also got a big problem as a large set of jaws head towards him. The 5 foot shark is not a happy chappy and although we wish to return him to his domain, there is the matter of removing the hook from that gleaming set of gnashers that he seems determined to attach to some part of Fred's anatomy.

Luckily with deft flick of the long bladed fish knife a small incision releases the hook and he's cautiously launched back overboard. Who said Reef Sharks only feed in the evening!

Undaunted the hook is set again and some hour later another catch. This time it's a three foot Wahoo. It's an extremely lively and very powerful fish looking a little like a Barracuda. We have a line around his tail and hoisted up while Fred attempts to remove the hook. He's having none of it and in his threshing manages to inflict a large gash in Fred's foot as the protruding hook is raked across it.

The stern of the boat resembles the aftermath of a pirate raid with blood everywhere, most of it Fred's. The fish is left hanging while we attend to the wounded.
By now the fish has succumbed and Lars descends to the "Sugar Scoop" stern platform and deftly reduces our catch to two large fillets, returning the skeletal remains to the sea. It's only left to a scrubbing brush and several buckets of sea water wash away the blood and gore of the encounter.

Brandies all round is the concerted opinion, as it's been a traumatic experience.
It's a cracking sail, though more or less dead down wind in a heavy swell means the boat is rock and rolling. By the time it's my watch at 2300 the wind has dropped and as the effect of the swell becomes more predominant the boat's motion becomes more violent, as it rolls from side to side.

Up ahead is a large dark rain cloud that blots out the Moon. As we approach it. There is a rapid wind shift, requiring the Mainsail to be gibed. No sooner done when the wind shifts back and the whole process has to be repeated and to add to that it's started to rain.
I scramble about the heaving deck closing hatches and fitting the preventer to stop the boom swinging dangerously, before seeking refuge from the torrent in the wheelhouse
0200 Fred relieves me and now spend I the rest of the night battling with my bunk which has assumed the characteristics of a bucking bronco, as the yacht pitches and rolls. It's going to be a long sleepless night

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