Day 215, Year 5: Ups and Downs of the Cruising Life
Date: Saturday, May 29, 2010
Weather: Beautiful Day, SE Winds 10 (not as high as expected)
Location: Ile Fouquet, Salomon Atoll, Chagos

The “up” today was another early morning snorkel on the bommies between the isles of Takamaka and Fouquet. Ed and Lynne went with us today and it was again just magic. And this time we got to swim with the Eagle Rays. They are so beautiful and graceful. And although the Chagos clownfish do not look just like Nemo, I have fallen in love with them and can’t get enough of hovering over the anemones and watching these little yellowish-orange fish with two bright white bands around them poke their heads out to also look at me. Once the current started running again, we left the cut and went to the south end of Fouquet to snorkel there off the camp area. I saw the world’s tiniest little butterfly fish, the largest giant clam we have seen this year, and a huge group of roving parrotfish that let me snorkel right along with them. The coral was interesting and Ed and Lynne saw some beautiful, large live cowries. So it was a beautiful morning. But before going out to snorkel we checked our email and the news there was not so good. This was the “down” of the day. We received an email yesterday from Jim and Carole of Nepenthe who have been stuck in Mayotte in the Comoros due to boat problems. When they checked out two days ago, they were told by the officials that there had been a pirate attack on a Spanish fishing boat about 70 nautical miles east of Mayotte and 90 nautical miles from Madagascar in the northern part of the Canal of Mozambique. This is further south than other attacks to date and a little too close for comfort. There is no confirmation that this was a Somali pirate attack so we are contacting officials at UKMTO (UK Maritime Trade Organization) in Dubai, MSCHOA (24-hour piracy watch but not sure what the initials stand for), and MARLO, the Maritime Liaison Office in Bahrain for US flagged vessels in this part of the world. Jed sent us all the contact information for these organizations and he also sent an update from the UK Foreign Office about the current state of political instability in Madagascar. Unfortunately the US
State Department doesn’t seem to have such information for public view. Basically, after the coup in Madagascar last year, things have continued to deteriorate and tourists have to be extremely careful. So Madagascar got two strikes this morning. We will gather more information before making a final decision on where we go next, but our hope is still to head to Madagascar. The alternative is to head south to Rodrigues, Mauritius, and Reunion and hang out there until September when we could sail north to Madagascar if things have settled down. This has always been a back-up plan, so we will just keep gathering information and make a decision on direction between now and Wednesday morning. That is our projected departure date. But at this point, everything is flexible. We will weigh the information and make a decision by Tuesday. We’ll keep you posted. And we really want to send a special thanks Jed for all the research he is doing for us. He is our connection to the internet. Thanks, Jed.

100529 Day 215a Salomon, Chagos–Snorkeling in Cut Between Takama-Fouquet
100529 Day 215b Salomon, Chagos–Snorkeling S Fouquet Reef & Bonito Frenzy Around Windbird
Day 216, Year 5: Good News About Madagascar
Day 214, Year 5: Simply Magic