Day 214, Year 5: Simply Magic
Date: Friday, May 28, 2010
Weather: Beautiful Day, SE Winds 10-15 Going Higher
Location: Ile Fouquet, Salomon Atoll, Chagos

The last twenty-four hours have been just magical. The Full Moon Party on the beach was spectacular. Everyone brought nibbles-marinated grilled fish, Norwegian fish cakes (outstanding), fish pate (the best I have ever eaten), sushi rolls, and even pizza. We watched the Red-footed Boobies coming in to roost for the evening, vying for the best positions in the trees, gathered wood for the bonfire, talked, ate, drank, and watched the full moon rise behind the island. The nationalities represented were American, Norwegian, German, British, Australian, South African, and French. Wolfgang of Galateia played guitar and sang for us as we sat around the beach bonfire looking at that perfectly round moon rising higher and higher.

Then morning came and we got on our dive skins and headed to Takamaka in the dinghy. A full moon low tide is very low, so when we got close to the island we had to walk the dinghy to shore. Our goal was to snorkel over the coral bommies that sit right between Takamaka and Fouquet islands and our hope was that since we could almost walk out to the bommies that the current would not be so great. As we stood there deciding the best way to approach this, three tiny Fairy Terns came and hovered over us. These birds look like little white angels. I was sure one was going to land on Mark’s head, but they flitted about us and then flew away. I choose to believe that they were blessing our morning snorkel. When they flew away, we started walking out. As the water got deeper and deeper, we changed our plan. We went back and walked the dinghy over the sandbar and then motored in behind the first and second bommie in a sand patch. There was almost no current, so we anchored and went in holding onto the dinghy We could tell immediately that there was no need to hold on so we let go and enjoyed the show. We were immediately met by an Emperor Angelfish leading a parade of big fish. These were the kind of fish that looked like dinner. We then went to the first bommie and concentrated on the anemonefish. The Chagos clownfish is yellowish-orange with two white bands and we immediately found an anemone with one little baby. Then we went next door and watched another, larger one. We did tummy tucks to swim over the coral but the fish were just right there in front of us. It was an interesting mix of reef fish, some small and some very large. In addition to the normal reef fish, we saw a Peacock Hind and a Saddleback Grouper, each about two and half feet long, and schools of Trevally. The Fairy Tern blessing worked. It was the best snorkel we have had in Chagos. We only had one little problem. We were sharing the bommie with a rather large Black-tipped Reef Shark. If he had just gone by and kept going we wouldn’t have worried. But this one kept coming back, so we cut the snorkel short and got out of the water. Shark or no shark, the snorkel was just magical and we will try it again tomorrow morning.

The weather information we got this morning showed that it is going to get windier over the next three to four days, so we made the decision to go to Boddam today. It is a three mile dinghy ride and when the winds are blowing strong, it is a tough ride. We stopped by Constance on our way back to Windbird from the magical snorkel and invited them to come with us. An hour and a half later we were headed to Boddam. We stopped and picked up everyone’s recycling in this anchorage as the recycling bins here are full, we gathered onions for a cruiser in Boddam who is staying another two months and needs them, and we took a package of DVD’s from Susan Margaret to trade with Aires Tor in Boddam. We were so loaded down that we couldn’t plane on the way down, so it took a little longer than expected. We made deliveries to the boats there and Mark tried to help Brumby get their Winlink email working. We then started walking the trails on the island. It was almost five o’clock when we finished and thankfully the dinghy could plane on the way home, but the water is already getting rougher due to higher winds, so it was a bouncy ride. We read in the cockpit until the sun went down and then ate Yellowfin sushi and sashimi for dinner. Another magical experience and the perfect ending to a perfectly beautiful day.

100528 Day 214a Salomon, Chagos–Snorkeling in Cut Between Fouquet-Takamaka
100528 Day 214b Salomon, Chagos–Day Trip to Boddam
Day 215, Year 5: Ups and Downs of the Cruising Life
Day 213, Year 5: BFAFM-Big Fish And Full Moon