Saturday, October 26, 2013

Sail rock anchorage

October 27, 2013
Anchorage Position: 16°40.59 S 178°17.41 E
Sail Rock

Sail Rock, Vatu Ma

Sail Rock Vatu Ma, Fiji

A hint of breeze occasionally sends ripples glassy seas. Last night we had a great nights sleep anchored on the west side of Yandua in Cukuvou Bay at: 16°48.9S 178°17.11E. It's a beautiful calm bay in prevailing winds and one of our favorites having stayed for two weeks in 2007.

Clear skies and calm conditions beckon exploration off the beaten track. Mostly by chance we ventured near Sail rock chasing a school of fish that wouldn't bite. With bright sunshine overhead we traversed the coral studded shoals and found a unique calm weather anchorage on the south side of Sail Rock (Vatu Ma) which lies about 8nm north of Yandua. Even on a calm day Sail rock offers little protection, provides a perfect opportunity to reunite with our long lost sea legs. We carefully located the anchor in a 50' deep sandy patch near 16°40.59 S 178°17.41 E.

Just off our stern a coral head the size of a 4 story apartment building lingers 10 feet below the surface. A glorious sea anemone with 3 clown fish stands sentinel. Spawning Yellow Grunts numbering over 1000 swim in unison near the bottom. Despite the brutish name the Yellow Grunts waft like a gentle summer breeze across a golden field of grain. Truly a moment of awe as we hovered motionless above.

Envision the wind filled billowing sails of a traditional 80' schooner and you'll have a perfect image of Sail rock Swimming towards the reef, tropical fish of all size and description frolic at the precipice of an underwater cliff plunging 40 feet to the white sandy bottom below. A cacophony of song emirates from the circling sea birds whose precious eggs sit perilously atop barren rock. A churn of sand and shells mix with crashing waves to form a whisper of a beach. Dark black basalt streaked with white guano is specked haphazardly with delicate eggs. Yikes, a huge black and grey banded snake rests in the shade of an overhanging rock. Yes, it's alive and appears well fed. A diameter of 2-1/2" indicates many feasts on fledgling chicks. Is it indigenous? We'll hope it doesn't swim.

In the next few days we'll be looking for a weather window to Rotuma, Fiji about 300nm to the north.

That's it for now.