Friday, October 19, 2012

Shelling, Snorkeling, Socializing

And several boat projects...

It has been a very pleasant stop here in Uoleva. The long beach walk yielded several beautiful shells, a lovely long hike and meeting some of the locals (or at least ex-pat locals). The beach had pretty steady surf action the day we walked so getting ashore was an adventure. We decided to row in, thinking it would be easier to handle the waves without worrying about the outboard. Plus, we could carry the dinghy higher onto the beach to keep it put of the four foot tidal change here. It all worked without too much drama! We walked the length of the beach and collected a good assortment of shells, watched hermit crabs scatter and saw a mound of pumice rock towards the neck of the island. This must have washed up from one of the areas of active volcanoes at some point. It is very strange "rock," unusual to walk on and light as a feather.

On our way back, we stopped and chatted with Dave who runs a local catamaran sail trips, whale watching trips and snorkeling adventures. He pointed out some areas with the best snorkeling, gave some advice on getting through one reef and was interesting to chat with. It was just before sunset time, so the bugs were quite numerous.

The next day, we organized Astarte some more, got out some paper charts for the New Zealand area (we don't have electronic charts for that area), and baked a cake. We still had time for a nice snorkel to one of the reefs and it was magical! The reef is so incredibly healthy with a wide variety of corals both hard and soft in every imaginable color and texture. The light was hitting it perfectly and it was like a marvelous landscape painting. Add to that an amazing array of colorful fish of various shapes and sizes with stripes, dots and decorations. We saw many we had never seen before and some old favorites as well. The structure was a nice wall – not too deep with lots of swim-thrus and inlets. It was so good we went back the next day!

We also have some of our favorite cruising friends here – so enjoyed an evening of dinner, dominoes and dessert aboard "Victory" with our Dutch friends Monique and JanBart. JanBart had caught a HUGE sailfish and though he tried to release, ended up with the fish and we enjoyed some of that. He gave half of the fish to one of the village churches to share with the island families. We stayed up enjoying a lot of laughs and couldn't believe it was 1 am when we got back to the boat.

Tonight, another fish feast aboard "Superted V" with Jean and Matt. We are always asked to bring "pudding" (that would be dessert). Guess it's good to be known as the chocolate cake boat! Barbara made coconut macaroons and brownies. She made a chocolate cake yesterday for the dinner aboard "Victory." The good news, we won't worry about having too much alcohol aboard when we get to NZ!

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