Day 197, Year 5: Scary Night, Brighter Day
Date: Monday, May 10, 2010
Weather: Mostly Sunny; Winds SE 10-15
Location: Ile Fouquet, Salomon Atoll, Chagos

After sending the log last night, the wind decided to come from the NW at about 15-20 knots with one period gusting to 30 knots. Everything warns that this anchorage is good EXCEPT in NW winds. It is during these storms coming in from the NW that the wrecks here have happened. So at 8:15 pm, I went to bed so I could get up at 10:15 pm and do a two-hour watch. Mark watched our position and we did keep steady. Mark didn’t get me up until 11:15 pm and by this time the winds had settled down to 10-12 knots. At 12:30 am, Mark got up and since everything had calmed down and we had held steady all evening, we decided to abort the watches and go to bed. I woke up at 6:30 am with beautiful bright sunshine streaming in the forward hatch and with winds blowing steady from the SE. Thank goodness. We requested a GRIB file and it confirmed that we should have SE winds for the next four days, so for now the scary NW winds have gone away. Constance was much closer to the reef that they felt comfortable with, so this morning they pulled up anchor and moved back further from the reef. We’re staying put for now as we have had winds from all directions now and we have stayed steady. So far, so good!

Low tide is now early in the morning, so we went out for another snorkel this morning. This time we went down to snorkel a number of bommies off Ile Sepulture, the island just beyond Ile Fouquet. We made a decision not to take the camera as we were on a mission to find a lure Mark lost the other day. I knew I would be pulling the dinghy while he was diving down to try and find the lure. So we went camera-less, even though I said that I thought we would see turtles today. And just after jumping into the water at the first bommie, a beautiful Hawksbill swam beneath us for a good three to four minutes. She had absolutely no fear of humans and was the perfect photo opportunity. There was a second turtle, but she was not nearly so photo friendly. We will go back again and hope that the friendly turtle always hangs out at the same bommie. Just as we finished snorkeling on that bommie, Ed and Lynne arrived. We drove our dinghies to the next bommie and continued our search for Mark’s lure and enjoyed the fish life. We moved the dinghies one more time and found a beautiful flat-topped bommie. We saw Regal Angelfish, two different types of boxfish, and just generally an abundance of fish. We also saw more than one shark patrolling the bommie, but they seem to ignore us so we continue to snorkel and just keep an eye on them.

When we got back to the boat it was late morning. I varnished the Dorade boxes while Mark helped Constance re-anchor. Mark and I then went out in the dinghy with the GPS and marked the bommie that we have discovered to our south. Just in case we have winds from the north again, we want to make sure we know exactly where any problem areas might be. Late in the day, Mark, Ed, and I went to shore to scavenge for mooring balls. We are going to use them to mark some of the bommies and the wreck in front of us. You can also cut them in half and they make great hanging containers for plants. It’s time to plant more arugula.

We got an email last night from Tina of Shirena telling us that Robert is in the Suez Canal University Hospital recovering from a mild heart attack. As soon as he is able, he and Tina will fly home to Australia to have more tests run. They are going to find someone to deliver the boat to either Israel or Turkey. So our thoughts are with Robert and with Tina. Thank goodness they were not at sea. They had just returned from touring Cairo, so they were still at anchor in the Suez Yacht Club.