Two Green Flashes
23 July 2009 | Suwarrow, Cook Islands
All the weather data says that July 22nd would be the best day to depart for American Samoa. But, Mother Nature slips her own opinion in at the last minute and Tom announces at around 7am, "Wind has changed and shifted, we're not leaving today. Go back to sleep." Our neighbors are happy we haven't lifted up our anchor and proceed to make a plan w/John, the Park Ranger. He and his family will meet us at Seven Islands and be our tour guides for the day. Tommy learns of the plan and feels Zen would be a good tourist vessel. We should invite everyone in the anchorage to bring a bag lunch and hop aboard for the 4 mile excursion. Normally, I am totally gung-ho to play cruise director, but this morning, in an effort to stave off seasickness, I had adhered half a Scopalamine Patch to my ear about 12 hours prior. The meds had certainly kicked in. My pupils were dilated, fatigue and thirst were immense and I was definitely a bit out of it. "Sure!" I slur to my husband. And off Cole went to chauffeur our guests to Zen. I lost count after 25 people came onboard w/their picnics, snorkel gear and towels. Put the space-cadet on the helm, she'll navigate us around the coral heads. "Sure!" I keep saying that word. No, I didn't smash into anything. Easier to drive Zen at 7 knots than a car at 70 mph. The day was beautiful, anchored in 7 feet of crystal blue water with white sand, snorkeled very unique reef formation (see photo), and tramped around the deserted island. The reef is difficult to explain, but it's one of the best ones we've seen since Blanquilla in Venezuela. There are spires of coral in 30 feet of water that is gin clear. You can dive and swim in the caves and narrow passageways, making it seem very maze-like. The fish and fluorescent colored clams are everywhere. After the underwater adventure, we took a walk ashore to see the old whale bones and the little baby birds all fluffy and poofy. There were boobies, terns and tropicbirds. Greeting a little baby, waiting for its momma to come back w/food, was common. The juveniles, birds that is, were so new they could barely keep their balance and would frequently get knocked over by the wind. It was too cute for words.
You'd think the day was over when we drove Zen and passengers back into the main anchorage, but no, there's more. We went over to say goodbye to our friends on Karma. They would not let us simply blow kisses from the dinghy. Had to get onboard. The sunset started and was casting amazing hues. Best lookout was from Karma's top deck. The gang of humans gazed at the painting in the sky, but then gasped. It was an eclipse. You could easily see the moon pass in front of the sun and split it down the middle, making two balls of fire sink into the Pacific. Two green flashes appeared! If you are a sailor, or just a salty kind of person, you know how treasured a green flash is. But two at the same time? We could hear horns going off and many hollers throughout the anchorage. In our world, that would be front page news coverage. But our world out here is some kind of parallel universe. This morning, when the winds twisted up again and held us hostage in the anchorage with 35 knots of wind, we heard one of our neighbors call on the VHF to the Suwarrow fleet, "Does anyone know what the day and date is today??" That about sums it up.