A close encounter of the shark kind

Mark & Sue Owen
Sat 20 Dec 2014 14:26

We are still anchored off Salardup. The flat water here makes it ideal for the boat jobs we want to progress and this is an excellent place for our daily swim, with the cut between Salardup and Achudup providing snorkelling comparable with Bonaire. Every day there's something different to see, it's an ever-changing view. Yesterday, for the first time, we had the added excitement of seeing a large nurse shark which swam by a couple of metres below us. We know nurse sharks aren't dangerous, but this close encounter certainly increased the pulse rate.

The weather has become a lot more settled and we hope the dry season is well and truly on its way. In the wet season this area is renowned for its lightning activity, something all boaters fear. We recently got to see at first hand the damage that can be caused when a neighbouring French cruiser 'dinghied' over to seek assistance after having suffered a near miss whilst anchored off a nearby island. A damaged ignition circuit left them unable to start their engine - far from ideal in this reef strewn cruising ground.

Skipper, armed with his tool bag and Nigel Calder's weighty tome, plus his trusty translator set about developing a workaround to get them moving again. A couple of hours and a couple of jump leads later, having over-ridden the fuel shut off and starter motor solenoids, the engine burst in to life, leaving just the alternator which needed 'exciting' with a test wire to start charging the batteries again.

Lucien and Francoise (and friend Natalie) were very grateful and insisted we join them for dinner that evening. After an afternoon of boat talk it was lovely to be able to hear about the small theatre they run back in France and a wonderful opportunity to dust off our French. It was a great evening and we really hope to see them again.

Finally, we've had a couple of visits from veggie boats, so are nicely re-stocked and we're pleased to report that 4 of our hand of 7 bananas have at last ripened.




We received visits from Kunas who live on nearby Isla Maquina, or Mormake Tupu its Kuna name, meaning Mola-making island.  Molas are an important part of the Kuna economy and the handmade specimens we saw were beautiful and incredibly detailed.  One of the visitors was Lisa, one of their master mola makers: