I couldn’t stop smiling all day yesterday. I had the best day since last season when we were anchored in Toau in the Tuamotus. I’m in my element and am once again living the dream as I imagined it. Life is beautiful today.
We are anchored in the lee of a picturesque, palm-tree covered, uninhabited motu. An expanse of shallow fine white sand stretches for a half mile off the starboard bow and reflects dozens of shades of turquoise and blue and it recedes into the depths of the lagoon. Our anchor is set in only 6 feet of water and is set hard below the sand. Our rudder is floating peacefully 4 feet over a coral head with dozens of brilliantly colored tropical fish in residence. We also have a stern hook out to prevent swinging into the very shallow water forward of our bow anchor. The light turquoise water around Ellie is so beautiful it’s impossible to suppress a smile just looking out the ports.
After enjoying a delicious breakfast that our world-renowned Mermaid Chef prepared, I loaded up the camel back and jumped on the paddleboard in pursuit of exploration. The wind was howling so it was a strenuous workout paddling to windward across the short standing waves guarding the false pass through the break in the motus. I reached the other side wet and exhausted but warmed up for the trek ahead. I tied off the paddleboard to a palm tree and made my way across the shallow reef to the windward side where the waves punish the reefs edge relentlessly. After being accosted by hundreds of sea birds, I made the breakers and started walking south along the shoreline. I explored the shore for hours, collecting sea urchin spines, sorting through the plethora of plastic cast on the reef, taking a dip in a natural bath tub and just soaking in the beauty of the sea. I also found another research raft with a GPS transmitter, just like the one we found in Raroia last year. After being sufficiently baked by the tropical sun and heat I returned to the paddleboard and made my way downwind back to Ellie. I shot some underwater video on the way back that came out amazing – it’s like flying through a tropical reef at high speed.
Alyssa had been babysitting the watermaker, doing laundry and baking bread. She also has quite the little garden going. She is growing basil, cilantro, sage, rosemary, green onions, butter lettuce, mescaline mixed greens and daisies (because they’re pretty of course). They are in little greenhouses on the stern seat and are starting to sprout. She is quite the green thumb. We are both excited to enjoy some fresh greens sometime in the next week or two. She has also been growing sprouts and making yogurt. Do I have the most amazing woman in the world or what?!
After showering and drying in the trades on the bow, I made dinner. Much to Alyssa’s surprise, I am actually capable of making a proper meal…fooled me! Dinner was blackened parrot fish that I caught yesterday, briefly seared in hot olive oil; cream of broccoli soup with artichoke hearts; mixed veggies and beets with goat cheese; and a slice of Alyssa’s amazing fresh sourdough bread. She was all smiles and very impressed. I was just glad it was edible and pleasantly surprised how well it turned out. I told her she’s got competition now.
We ended the evening with a movie in the cockpit under the bright stars. We turned in just as the full moon was rising to windward through the palm trees.
As I said, yesterday ranks up there as one of the best days of my life. We love it here and are not looking for weather to leave anytime soon.
In other news: with the help of Doni and Martin on the 100 foot Schooner, SJOSTROM, after three long hours underwater, we finally got the broken Kiwi propeller off and my spare fixed prop on. We now have a fully functioning vessel, including reverse! Moving the transmission into and out of reverse is now super smooth. Being able to set the anchor hard – when surrounded by shallow coral heads – it’s of utmost importance. We can both sleep much easier now knowing the anchor is dug in hard.
There’s a broken palm tree off the bow so we have decided to name this place, “Broken Palm Island.” We are also kegging an Australian Pale Ale today and have decided to name it the “Broken Palm Pale Ale.”
Cheers from Broken Palm Island,
Lewis & Princess Green Thumb
June 5, 2015
Broken Palm Island, Penrhyn, Cook Islands