14 August 2012 | Palmyra
After a particularly tiring night of sailing as slow as we possibly could back and forth in front of the channel entrance with just a scrap of jib out, we met our guide this morning at 0700 as the clouds began to build. Amanda (?) greeted us with a wave and a big smile and she guided us through the narrow channel that was originally blasted into the coral by the US Navy during WWII. As we slowly motored along in 25 feet or so, we spotted several tuna leaping from the water, not 20 yards from the boat! Birds of many varieties circled overhead and squawked. Several other large fish were finning just feet from the boat and even though it was cloudy, the pastel colors of the sandy shallows were breathtaking. There are many more trees than I expected and the west lagoon seems quite larger than we had imagined. It's easy to see how this natural harbor was developed for the military as it truly is an oasis in the middle of the pacific. Amanda guided us to our anchoring spot - directly in front of what appears to be the main Fish and Wildlife Camp - which is quite elaborate. I could not contain my enthusiasm as I exclaimed to her - "you have the best job in the world!" She agreed. After anchoring, it began to rain....and then it really began to rain. We were simply elated to be anchored - and even motionless, for perhaps the first time since we left Victoria, BC. We've had to come a long-@ss way to find a peaceful anchorage and by god - this is something. As the fresh water from the sky intensified, we had a marvelous thunderstorm. We both stripped mostly down, and rinsed - ourselves and soon everything we could grab - of the salt accumulation. I watched in great satisfaction as the crystallized salt that had encrusted everything on the boat was washed away by this magic fluid of life - fresh sweet water. We were pretty bushed today, so opted to nap as the rain continued through the day. Lolo and I were simply giddy about the water and soon were collecting it in buckets and from pockets in the mainsail, folded bimini, sponges, etc. If you have ever spent a week at sea - where everything you grab (handrails, ropes, sails, winch handles, etc) is coated in basically rock salt, you can appreciate what I'm saying! Soon we had the dinghy put together and as the sun went down on our first day in this landfall of paradise, Lolo made a delicious curry with fresh mahi mahi. We toasted our first major ocean crossing - some 900 miles alone - just the two of us - as a resounding success. More pictures to follow tomorrow.