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Showing posts from October, 2017

The Shipwreck - Roncador Reef Part III

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Our first night at Roncador Reef, I kept having these crazy visions of desperate, emaciated fishermen from that ship coming to our boat in the dark. The hatch over our bed was open (sailor’s a/c) and I kept imagining a hand reaching down to grab me. Then I envisioned the entire crew climbing aboard like a zombie invasion - not coming up the transom steps like anyone else would, but slowly hauling themselves up the sides of the hulls and up the anchor chain, then slithering over the life lines and across the deck, clawing at all the hatches to find a way inside, moaning and seething.

Of course, once they got in and tied us all up, they’d sail away in our boat to escape this mid ocean hell they’d been wrecked in for who-knows-how-long. There we’d be, the four of us, sitting back to back in a tight little circle on the salon floor, a stiff, itchy rope wrapped tightly around our chests, watching as the zombie fishermen ransacked all of our cabinets and gorged themselves on our recent pro…

Runaway Car - Roncador Reef Part II

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It doesn’t have a fancy automated trunk or bluetooth capabilities, but it does get us from point A to point B. Our dinghy is like our car. So much so, that when we visit the US and rent a car, many times, Mark or I will mistakingly call out, “Okay, let’s go! Everyone hop in the dinghy!” (Yes, it is always a big adjustment to living on land again!)

Well, today, Elizabeth, Mark and I decided to dive down to check out the anchor and the red snapper that we had seen hanging around beneath the boat. As we ascended from below, approaching the stern ladder, we were all careful to watch our heads - a habit that has formed to avoid hitting our heads on the steel bottom or sharp propeller of the dinghy.  Usually it is tied up behind Field Trip during the day when we’re anchored.

I was the last to surface, and on my way up, I saw Mark casually holding onto the frayed end of our dinghy painter. Something wasn’t right here. I looked behind him - oh no!  Where’s the dinghy?? I hurried to join them…

Roncador Reef - Part I

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Satellite images have changed sailing dramatically. Roncador Reef (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roncador_Reef) is a perfect example. While looking at the satellite images months ago and planning our stops on the way to PNG, Mark noticed a small reef just
between Ontong Java and the Arnavon Islands. Zooming in, he could see a clear entrance to the circular reef, and that was the tipping point. This little spot in the middle of nowhere suddenly found its place on our agenda. It reminded him of Minerva Reef, the remote reef between Fiji and New Zealand where many cruisers stop for a rest if the weather permits. Fish and lobster are abundant and enormous, the water is crystal clear, and the diving is pristine. These are places that you won’t find on a travel brochure or in any cruise itinerary.

Our trip here was not a long one, but it was tough. I think I’d lost my sealegs after months hopping between the Solomon Islands, and unfortunately, I was sick the entire way. The southeast trad…