13 April 2009 | Ulong Island
It was better on the west side of Ulong last night than the night before, but still not flat like a great anchorage. So after an enjoyable but bumpy stay we headed for the secluded lagoons inside the walls of the rocky island.
Hideko and I got up at 7AM to scout out the entrance to the lagoons. High tide was at about 9AM. We found a north and south way in but the south way was wider and had a bit more water. After surveying the area we made a quick run back to the boat and raised the anchor. Whistler was right behind us as we headed around to the lagoon entrance.
Ulong island is really three islands. The western most part is divided from the rest by a straight through channel that almost dries at low tide. The middle part looks like part of the eastern island but there are actually three interconnected lagoons that exit to the north and the south dividing the isles. There are of course many little isolated rock islets here and there in the mix.
We came over the bar at the south entrance to the first lagoon and had 11 feet or so of water. We draw 4.5 and the tide was 6 feet so we can just get out on a 0 tide.
The anchorage is fantastic. We chose the first lagoon because is has large areas of 30 feet sandy bottom, great holding and plenty of room for two or even three boats. The next lagoon is deeper and lined with coral. Might be ok to anchor in the middle but the bar at the entrance to lagoon two is shallower and there's a little less breeze in there. The third lagoon entrance is too shallow for us, you might have 1-2 feet of water at low tide there. Exiting the north side requires transiting lagoon two and exiting the shallowest of the bars with maybe 7 feet of water in a 6 foot tide.
So it is lagoon one for us, and we are very happy to be here. It is beautiful. Sheer limestone cliffs covered in vegetation and lime green water.
Pepe continued working hard on his open water certification today. We completed more knowledge reviews, confined water dives and even got in his first Open Water Dive. We went out to Ulong channel at 4PM, just as the tide began to come in. It was an hour long dinghy ride and we had four divers (Hideko, Miki, Pepe and I) so we weren't up on a plane.
After searching around a bit and getting a hint from some fishermen, we tied up to one of the moorings in the Ulong channel. The current was ripping. Hideko and Miki decided to run surface support while Pepe and I did a drift dive and Eric and Julie did a dive under the boats. It was a great dive and Pepe did great. We saw many of the famous grouper that come to the channel to spawn in May/June. The coral in the channel is also fantastic.
Twenty minutes after hitting the water Pepe and I had drifted a good half nautical mile. Hideko and Miki came to pick us up and we headed home. Eric and Julie checked in on the VHF and followed us in. A wonderful day in paradise.