Days on Palmyra
18 August 2012 | Palmyra!
Our departure is nearing, as the forecast claims the wind will become more southerly and the seas will build. I'm not quite ready to leave, but I'd rather leave a day or two early with a favorable wind direction than beat into it, especially with a sea. (I've become a cruiser already??) Nevertheless, we've been in Palmyra 5 days, and we have a bit of a routine going.
We wake up around 7 (one rainy morning we slept until 10 and it was MARVELOUS), have coffee and toast, do a few boat projects, reading, etc. Round 10, after applying our sunscreen, of course, we head out the channel in the dinghy for a snorkel at one of the moorings off the west end of the atoll. One spot, off penguin spit, boasts an incredible diversity of reef fish of all different colors. Another spot, on the north side, is aptly called "crazy corals." Wow. Apparently because of the confluence of currents, the waters around Palmyra sustain a huge array of different types of coral. Every direction we look, we see a different structure, a different color. Today we thought, what the heck, let's stop at this place called "western terrace" even though all these other spots are so amazing could it really be any better or different .... well it was different. The structure - scenery, really - was different. It was more rocky - even though there weren't any rocks, it was still coral. It's like driving across the southwest of the US or something - through rainbow bridge, the grand canyon, joshua tree ... (all places I've never been). They are like cities with their own special architecture, or forests with their own foliage. I guess they are, sort of. Yesterday we went for a little dinghy ride after our snorkel - out beyond the reef, and dolphins came to ride the bow wake – of our DINGHY. I almost fell in!
After our morning snorkel, we head back to the boat for lunch. So far, we have managed our supplies quite well and still have tasty food (although we are out of lettuce, and were out of tomatoes until the chef here, Katie, gave us a few).
Following lunch and a short rest/nap, we head ashore for an excursion. Yesterday we went for a long walk around Strawn Island and saw baby black tip reef sharks, lots of crabs, and nesting boobies and sooty terns. We saw red-footed boobies of all different ages: some very fuzzy, some awkwardly adolescent, all peering at us with vague indifference. All of this was oddly interspersed with remnants of WW2 structures. After a long hot walk ashore, we stop at the swimming hole to cool off. There is also a spigot with rainwater there for a quick fresh water rinse (my favorite thing these days).
Then, we head back to our boat, have a refreshing drink, make dinner (grilled mahi-mahi anyone?) eat it, clean up, and read. Or blog. Or play the ukulele. Or stargaze. You get the idea.