August 5, 2011

Landfall Aitutaki

Looking for a 40' wide entrance break in a barrier reef is a stressful way to start the day.
Knowing that the channel would be about 6' deep and not in it's charted position is bad enough, but somehow I visualized the entrance as being marked, you know, with a buoy or something. Instead there's a stick. A stick. An insignificant (and very short) piece of wood inside the opening that indicates where the oncoming swell stops exploding on exposed coral heads and is able to gently flow into the lagoon. Unless there is a 6 knot outflow current. In that case we're back to that exploding wave thing again--but at least there is no coral underneath.

But we're here. And it's gorgeous. The outer 'pool' anchorage, where we're currently bow and stern anchored, is a bit iffy (aka indifferent holding and lots of coral heads) and it will soon be crowded. The little low, which we were whimpishly avoiding, has apparently grown to a more concerning low and boats that use professional routers are now being routed here and the boats which were due to leave (and appear to have filled up the entire inner anchorage) are now staying put. Which means a harbour that typically holds 5-6 boats currently has 11-12 and at least three more are enroute. This afternoons activity is the big shuffle--as we all move into the inner harbour then lace ourselves in.

But we're here. And did I mention it's gorgeous? And with the anchor down it seems safe enough to look at the guidebook and find out what we might get to see should we end up in a snuff enough spot that we can leave the boat...

It turns out there is an important marae here and apparently it's made of bigger rocks than the ones we've previously seen. A fact that thrilled me and made Maia ask what else there is to see. So I told her about the lagoon; it has excellent snorkeling, sandy motus, a wreck and (the best part) giant! clams. Which also failed to stimulate much enthusiasm. Which left us with the fact our friends on Connect Four are due shortly and she'll have friends to play with. This seemed to thrill her.
"I think I'll like Aitutaki," she said. Which sort of made me wonder...

But it is gorgeous--the blue lagoon stretches for miles and shifts through every shade of blue, the palm trees are swaying over sandy beaches and green hills rise up behind them. And if rumours are correct the beer is affordable again, although the internet (which apparently doesn't work) is not and nor is the food. And it's bloody expensive to visit here with a $50 arrival fee a $20 inspection fee, a $5 something fee and a $50 per person leaving fee.

But it's better than getting battered by a storm.

PS--Happy Birthday to Deb! I planned to send an email but it seems that is not so likely to happen. But we're sending birthday wishes your way and a little package will follow in a few weeks.

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1 comment:

dennis said...

WOW! Sounds like paradise.

Hey, Maia, I'll trade places - we have Internet and air conditioning, and Netflix even. Haha.