Charts showing several more days of foul weather in Beveridge Reef were enough to convince us that our departure from there should come sooner than we had planned. We’d definitely recommend a stop there to any other cruisers headed in that direction but unfortunately our own experience of the reef was limited because of the weather, temperatures, and the loss of our beloved dinghy. Patrick and Rebecca, s/v Brickhouse, were fantastic in carting us to and from the boat to the reef so Drew could do some spear fishing but I don’t even have a wet suit so I spent most of my time on the boat. It was time to go. We took with us the memory of our first whale sighting of this year, a freezer full of fresh grouper, and a lifelong lesson in that when going to other people’s boats, always tie off your own dinghy. One can never assume that your dinghy rope is the same as the next boater. An honest mistake but, nonetheless, a lesson learned the hard way.
Dosia did her best to cheer us up in absolutely kicking butt on the overnight sail from the reef to Niue. At anywhere from 6 1/2 to 8 knots, we completed the 130 miles in about 20 hours. Now I am not the kind of boater who has that intoxicating need for speed like most. If anything, when we start flying over waves at too great a speed I get a little anxious and uneasy. This trip, however, brought speeds we hadn’t seen in a while and of course they came at a time when we didn’t need them as we’d arrive in Niue before daylight. Drew and I quickly decided that we’d hook a mooring by early morning moonlight if we had to because there was no way we were giving up the chance to really, really feel the wind. So we rode it out, enjoyed every second of it, and were on a mooring ball in Niue by sunrise, enjoying our morning coffee.
Niue has been an incredible breath of fresh air thus far. The water is still a bit chilly, there is a definite nip in the air, but who thinks about those things when you’ve got 15 to 20 humpbacks swimming, literally, FEET from your boat!? July to October they take over the waters off the coast of this island to breed and we are lucky enough to be here during those months. The waters most certainly belong to them, we are their guests, and respect must be paid. They could sink Dosia in a heartbeat if we pissed them off somehow. Some boats throughout the harbor have been able to hear them talking/communicating at night through the walls of their vessels. Unfortunately (at least in this particular instance) Drew insulated the walls a little too well so we can only hear them when they rise to the surface to breathe. To be in their presence, this close, is one of the most incredible things I have ever seen. Each sighting is another reminder to me how grand and massive this ocean is that Drew and I are living our lives on right now.
If you are looking for sandy beaches and palm trees then don’t head for Niue. Jagged shorelines, caves, and deeper anchorages make up this island-the smallest island nation in the world. We spent most of yesterday with s/v Honeymoon and s/v Follow You, Follow Me in a rented van exploring all the eastern coast had to offer. Five of us donned our best hiking shoes, Drew…his flip flops due to blisters from spear fishing excursions on the reef, to tackle three different chasms, or caves. The land here is brimming with dated, aged coral that is probably hundreds upon hundreds of years old. Although in appearance it is rather sharp and uninviting, we wasted no time in tackling shorelines, climbing in and out of caves, getting chased by bone crushing waves, rope climbing down into a sloping cave to the freshwater pools below, and capping the day off with well earned beers at the local, and only, resort on the island, the Matavai Resort. Drew and I could barely keep or eyes open past 8 p.m. last night. Tonight, dinner aboard Follow You, Follow Me. As I write, Drew is preparing some of our fresh grouper to take as bite size appetizers, as most cruisers haven’t had any luck in catching fresh fish in the the Pacific waters this year. Pictures of the cave excursions and the whales will be up A.S.A.P.!
Happy Birthday to both Drew’s Dad and his Nanny who celebrated her 91st birthday on Monday : ) We love y’all!