Sunday, July 10, 2011

A new sport - Atoll Spotting

Toby keeping an eye out. 

With about one day to go until we get to Tahiti, we decided to explore an atoll or two before arriving. 

An atoll was once an island. A volcanic island. As it sinks, the only remnant of the island is the ring of coral reef that used to surround the it pre-sinking. After the land sinks, the corals keep growing until you are left with a ring of living coral that has formed on the bones of ancient corals.
A typical atoll has a lagoon in the ring of coral where the land used to be. 

Whenever the Sea Dragon sails within close proximity to shore, we have to be very careful that we look with our eyes at what's around as well as check the depth monitor for meters until the bottom. The instruments could fail. There could be something in the water in front of us, etc. 

Dale climbs the mast like the pro he is. 

Through the trees to the right of this photograph live the "others". I'm convinced of it. For all of you LOST fans, you don't have to be dead to find yourself close to the "island".
But seriously, there were small houses with open doors, boats pulled up out front, evidence of people having just been there, and not a person in sight. However, I can guarantee you that they saw us. 
All we got from them was radio silence, literally. 

Clive keeping a look out. 

OK, see this? That dock-like structure in the middle of this photo? Yup. Further evidence of...human activity. I think that this atoll was a French Special Forces training camp. Anyway, we guessed that larger supply ships could tie up to this structure so that smaller skiffs from the islands inside the lagoon could come out to get the goods. We looked for a long time for a way into the sea green lagoon where we all desperately wanted to swim, but found none. This was probably a good thing.

Jess turning the lens on me. Colleen and Jason in the background enjoying the view. 

With storms all around us, and no way into the lagoon, we decided cast off.

These small, gusty systems piled up on the horizon in the exact direction that we needed to go. I was less than pleased. I thought, really? WE ARE ALMOST F&*(^G THERE! DO I HAVE TO GET WET AND SICK ONE LAST TIME! 

Apparently so. A rite of passage before we got to our final destination. 
We'd had pretty good weather, it's true. And I guess some of us had a bloody good time in the rain. 

I however, burst into tears while trying to help Jeff make dinner. I just couldn't take it. 
I was out of juice. Maybe it is because I was so close to being done. 

That old adage about falling apart during the last mile of the race proved true for me. 

Looking back at this picture today, I could feel poorly about not partaking in the fun. And I loved the people I met, but honestly, I still feel like I am glad I'm done without a shred of regret for not having "lived it up" more. 

We all dealt with life on the boat differently. Clive was made for it. Some of us liked the constant movement from place to place. I now know thought that while I am proud that I went, I would never sign up for part 2. 

While my friends are smiling for this shot, I'm thinking, "Could we just f**&g get there already!"