paradise beheld

tony zwig
Tue 2 Oct 2007 20:49




Paradise beheld


7:30am Wed (sorry; a bit late today as I was out taking pictures)


Yesterday we presented ourselves at 7:45am to the government office for cruising permits to visit the islands. I know it is a strange phrase  that seems out of another era, but seems appropriate.  The official didn’t show until 8:15 who took my information.  At 8:45 she mentioned that the computer didn’t work and she had to wait to borrow her colleagues.  Anyway, I (the others had abandoned me for breakfast) sat there and got our papers at 10am and joined the diners.  We left the anchorage, which showered us with black soot during the night from a neighboring belching smoke stack, leaving the deck covered in black filings  We motored the 12 miles to Malollailai Island and negotiated the very narrow but beautifully colored reefs, including going the wrong side of a mark and surviving, to enter Musket Cove Marina.  Now, you should understand this skipper has performed many Mediterranean style dockings; where one enters the harbor aimig directly at the wharf, and about 10 boat lengths before hitting it, spin the boat around 180 degrees so the stern (the back of the boat) is facing the wall, drop the anchor and back straight into the wharf between other boats similiarly docked.  The entrance here is only 150 feet wide (less than 3 boat lengths) and we had to enter at 90 degrees to the wall.  So, with the normal 25 knot side wind we came in, at the appointed point, turned 90 degrees away from the dock, went the 10 feet until we were almost aground at the bow (the front), dropped anchor and roared in reverse for a perfect docking; if this writer does say so himself. 
And we are here. PARADISE

Exactly 20 steps from the dock is the sand beach, 30 steps in the other direction is the palm and thatched shaded beach bar with bar b ques and wood and food you can buy, for boater use.  Back to the 20 steps, as we looked, we saw an endless crescent of beach with little bures (huts) stretched along and in the trees, a sports centre, 3 restaurants, 2 pools.  As the sun set, the air took on a silky soft feel.  The breeze was now quiet, just enough to be refreshing.  Sort of like the feeling of swimming in a northern Ontario lake with the very soft water.  There is a little grassy airstrip and an adjacent small golf course.  Rules are, if you hook your shot into the runway, you have to remove the ball, not take your next shot, and run whenever a plane comes in.  Same thing if you are crossing it when walking along that part of the beach.  A couple of terrific out door meals was consumed yesterday. The crew is feeling no pain.  We are off on a snorkeling tour at 9am, so have to go.