Saturday, June 13, 2009

June 13, North Minerva Reef

North Minerva Reef is a coral lagoon that is about 2/3 of the way between northern New Zealand and Fiji. The reef is a 3.5 mile diameter circle. There is one narrow pass in and out. Inside the reef the water is about 40-50 ft deep, surrounded by the Pacific Ocean. There's nothing relating to civilization on the reef except one navigational beacon.
At high tide the reef is awash and we are surrounded by breakers. At low tide, you can take the dingy to walk and wade on the magnificent coral reef and see octopus, starfish, hermit crabs, and splendid live corals at your feet. It's warm but not hot. Chris is keeping us and the three other yachts here provisioned with fresh fish which we have eaten sushied, fried, barbecued, chowdered, pated.
We arrived just after dawn on June 8, after a mostly pleasant passage of 6 days. We were shocked to see a cargo ship anchored inside the reef. On closer examination, it looked more like a pirate lair. We have since learned that the ship is a Tongan-Chinese sea cucumber harvesting operation. The crew - 9 stationed here for 6 months- walks the reef at low tide. In broken English and pantomime, they showed us how to eat raw giant clam (which turns out to be an endangered species).
This was supposed to be a quick rest stop to meet up with our friends on Asylum and Scholarship. However, we are essentially trapped here by north winds that will make continuing the passage to Fiji miserable and have made it virtually impossible to get off the boat the past two days.
You can't escape the life lessons that are helping us get by:
- Patience. Patience. Patience.
- This too will pass.
- Don't put off til tomorrow what you can do today.


Anonymous Douglas Sylvester said...

Hi Tom & Ellen,your blog entries reminds me that: "Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans" John Lenon. I hope the whether is cooperating with you at last. My experience in Fiji is that the Fijian's work ethic is about the same only with a smile. They didn't need to work due to living in paradise with everything needed, provided. Very nice people, just on another schedule. That's why they imported the East Indians to harvest the sugar cane. I hope all continues to awe and inspire while we keep the home fires burning. Doug Sylvester

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