Day 208, Year 5: Fantastic Drift Snorkel and Camp Clean-up
Date: Saturday, May 22, 2010
Weather: Repeat–Beautiful Day, Cloudy Evening; SE Winds 15
Location: Ile Fouquet, Salomon Atoll, Chagos

What a great way to start a day. High Tide was at 9 am, so we picked up Ed and Lynne and headed into the pass between Takamaka and Fouquet. This is a narrow pass with sandbars on both sides, and you can only go so far in even at high tide as it gets very shallow, but we went as far as we could and jumped in the water to drift with the dinghy. The current is somewhere between one to two knots 24 hours a day. It never reverses and never slows down, so the only way to see the fish and coral is to drift with the current. I took Mark’s video camera and tried to capture some of the beauty. Most of the footage is unusable as I was moving too fast, but once in a while I could grab on to a piece of coral and hold fast for a few seconds. I got so-so footage of a large and beautiful Emperor Angelfish, good footage of the little Nemos, and a short, but great clip of a turtle that was right under in front of me. He was swimming against the current, so it seemed he was not moving and that allowed me to get the video of him. We went in and out three times and just had a fabulous time. We will definitely do this a few more times before leaving here.

The good news of the day is that Ed and Lynne’s refrigerator compressor is magically working again, so they are VERY happy cruisers. But their almost new AGM batteries just don’t seem to be holding a charge like they should, so today’s project was to take one of their batteries and connect it directly to our wind generator to charge it. In order to do that we had to get under the bed in the aft cabin and that meant moving all the stuff on top that used to be stored in the v-berth. So we decided to move everything back to the v-berth and sleep once again in the aft cabin. It is cooler now, so that should be fine, and we have discovered that it is a much better mattress. All of that moving happened before the drift snorkel and then in the afternoon, Mark, Ed, and I went to the camp on Takamaka and did a major clean-up to get ready for tomorrow morning’s book exchange. Sweeping debris from a large area with a palm fond is a back breaking job, but the camp looks great now and it will be fun to get together with everyone tomorrow. We have a new boat in the anchorage, Galateia, a German boat with a young single-hander named Wolfgang. We haven’t met him yet, but hopefully we will meet him tomorrow.

The bad news of the day is that our friend Robert of Shirena has more serious heart problems than expected. He arrived in Vienna, went immediately into the hospital, and the test results are showing that part of his heart is simply not working due to a lack of blood flow over a period of time. The doctors there tell him his sailing days are over and that he needs a pacemaker and a defribulator with him all the time. So now he and Tina are flying back to their home in Sydney, Australia, to get a second opinion. Shirena seems safely tucked into the marina in Ashkelon, Israel, and they will leave it for the next six months while they are deciding what to do. Right now friends Tom and Nicolette of Katanne are in the marina with Shirena and watching over things. So our thoughts are with Robert and we are hoping that when he arrives in Australia, the doctors there might be more hopeful.

100522 Day 208 Salomon, Chagos–Drift Snorkel in Pass and Takamaka Camp Clean-up
Day 209, Year 5: Book Swap in Takamaka Camp
Day 207, Year 5: Learning from the Masters