Anchored at Ulithi Atoll
20 March 2009 | Philippine Sea
Miki started taking on watches last night and was a big help. Everyone got a good rest and we had a nice breakfast with bacon and eggs in the morning.
We crossed Challenger Deep yesterday which was kind of fun. Gives you a shiver to think the bottom is over 30,000 feet down.
The squalls started forming up at sunset last night. We had a little rain here and there but nothing too hostile. Things cleared by 3AM or so and we had a great sail all day. The atmosphere was progressing in an unfriendly fashion by mid day however. By the time we were approaching Ulithi Atoll big squalls were surrounding us. Ulithi was about a half mile away from its charted position on the Navionics chips but after setting up an offset the chart matched the radar nicely.
In the afternoon today we approached Zau pass. After an easy transit at 15:00 we turned to starboard and sat off of Mangejang island on the NW side of the pass to wait out a big squall that was pounding our target anchorage. We began moving again in parallel with the end of the squall, hoping to squeeze in between it and the next one in line. The squall in question crossed in front of us as we turned around Fassarai island on the way to our target island, Lossau.
There's lots of squak in Yapese on 16. One station has a 5 beep key up tone that is longer than most of their transmissions. Seems like all of the little islands are keeping in good contact.
The lagoon inside the atoll is pretty open in most places and the coral is low enough to make many passes viable. The lagoon is 80-100 feet deep in most places that we transited, and with good visibility the underwater hazards easy to see and far between away from the barrier reef.
The anchorage (see position) is lovely. We dropped the hook in a large 25 foot deep sandy area with very little swell coming in. The water is crystal clear and the island seems to be an uninhabited white sand beach and palm affair. I feel like I'm back in the Bahamas! You can hear the surf breaking on the other side of the island. This anchorage is wonderful in trade wind conditions but it would be no fun in a westerly. There just isn't any protection on that side, as the atoll is open to the sea. You could anchor behind some islands on the other side of the atoll though.
We will likely pull out tomorrow early and head for Yap though me may stay here a day if the weather is foul in the AM.