Anchored in the middle of the Coral Sea
03 November 2012 | Chesterfield Reefs
An easy passage with ideal conditions brought us to Chesterfield Reefs. What a wonderful stop on our way from Santo, Vanuatu to Bundaberg, Australia! It is an odd feeling being anchored in the middle of the ocean. Waves break on the far side of the reef but we are safe. Billions of stars sparkle in the night sky until the full moon rises and drowns out all but the brightest. It is absolutely magical.
Tenaya floats in 9 meters of calm, turquoise water, protected from the Coral Sea by reefs topped with low, sandy bits of land, scrubby bushes and thousands of birds. Frigates, noddies, terns and boobies abound. Boobies are our favorites. Their eyes close-set beady eyes peering over their colorful beaks make them look kind of goofy as they watch us without any hint of fear. Four types populate Trois Ilots du Mouillage: red-footed, blue-footed, masked and brown. Some nest in the low branches and others on the ground. Many sit on small chicks while many more stand quietly on the sand with a single snowy white fluff ball seemingly larger than its parent. We took about a million pictures of these adorable creatures with XL sized floppy feet in a variety of colors.
A natural breakwater on the ocean side creates a perfect nursery for black-tipped reef sharks. Each time we visited there were four to five adults and eight to twelve young ones about two feet long. They can also be seen swimming slowly along the shores of both sides of the islets.
Yesterday, without a cloud in the brilliant blue sky above shimmering water an unbelievable shade of turquoise, Jim, Steve and I each took a ride up the mast for a better view of the magnificent scenery. If only we were brave and coordinated enough to dive from the spreaders into the warm, crystal clear lagoon! We had to settle for safe leaps off mid-ships. Now the bottom has been scrubbed clean so the Australian authorities should be happy. Well, until they find all our souvenirs from Vanuatu.
This afternoon we will haul up the anchor, nestled well in the sand, and continue our passage to Australia. The forecast indicates good sailing conditions with a little more wind and swell than we had coming here. With a waning but still fairly full moon, we are looking forward to the four day trip.