Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Sapphire is for Sail

Reef Shark
Well this will be my last Illustrated Post for a while as in a few hours I will be sailing for  Suwarrow Atoll, and  I expect it will take a week. I’ve fixed everything I can on the boat, the mould and smell have all gone, everything seems to be working well and the forecasts are good so I have finally run out of reasons not to go on with my original plan. Suwarrow atoll is famous because a Kiwi guy called Tom Neael lived there all alone for many years and wrote a classic account of his solitude there. I read the book about 30 years ago: its called “An Island to Oneself” Since Tom Neale left its remained uninhabited for most of the time but apparently  a care taker live there during the sailing season.

The snorkelling was fantastic, but on the Booked trip we didn’t see any Manta Rays, even though I had explicitly stated that that was what I wanted to see. Instead we did the non-manta ray trip and saw lots of the usual colorful tropical fish at one dive stop, and at another had a quite strange and wonderful encounter with 12 or 14 stingrays in 4 feet of water out on the sandy lagoon. The rays crowded round pushing themselves up against us expecting food as we snorkeled or simply stood there. Later, on the ocean side of the reef in impressively clear water we were once again surrounded by fish and as well by small sharks, and 25 feet below three much larger sharks patrolled ceaselessly with attendant fish swimming beside them. Our guide swam down and patted one as it pulled him along briefly, the shark seeming completely untroubled by his presence. The guides other skill was to play a Ukelele and sing as the dive boat raced back to the Shore.

The other two people on the trip were Michael and Susane the couple I had met on their Cat in Raiatea. They had sailed over the day after I did and were having a great time. They also wanted to see Manta Rays and so yesterday after doing some research on the Internet Michael worked out where he thought they would be and invited me to come with them on the Cat around to the other side of the island and see if we could find them. And we did – as you can see – well we found one, and it was one of those sublime experiences that takes your breath away, makes time stand still, leaves you in awe of how wonderful nature can be. There was an aura of serenity and grace about the Ray as it slowly swept back and forth and round the edge of the reef before finally and gradually disappearing back into the depths.. Back on the Cat Michael cooked up a beautiful fresh tuna pasta, and later we had drinks ashore to finish off what had been a really fabulous day in Bora Bora.: Michael and Susanne: Thank you again for a wonderful day!

Bora Bora really is a beautiful place and though out on some of the Motus there are grotesque strings of luxury Hotel rooms most of which seem empty, there is much that seems unspoiled and almost rural and traditional about the way of life here. I would like to be able to stay longer – well theres nothing stopping me really but having decided after much deliberation and soul searching that I am going to Sail, I feel I need to get on with it. 

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