Thursday, July 7, 2011

Drying out,and swimming with Manta Rays

Friday July 8th

During our shakedown cruise across the Eastern Pacific we found a few leaks - by the time we reached the Marqueses - ALL of our clothing was dirty or moldy. The evil substance mold, which we call Moldemort (Harry Potter), thrives in wet, humid places. Add salt water to the mix (when cotton gets wet from salt water - it will not dry out), you can imagine our mountain of laundry. We are in the tropics here during the rainy season (winter - when there are no hurricanes) very slowly drying and bleaching everything on the boat, the clothing, the spaces which held the clothing, the cushions we sleep on, the entire V-berth - mattress too (which was our garage during passage), the walls, the cupboards and almost all of our beloved books. It rains a bit here - so we moved Madrona from the island of Hiva Oa, near the town of Atuona, a very wet anchorage, to another island Tahu Ata, to a beautiful bay that is known for sun, wind, white sandy beaches, and a school of manta rays. Most days have been sunny with a lot of wind - as good as it gets for drying things out. We are slowly recovering our boat: we re-sealed the chain plates (hopefully our biggest source of leaks), chain plates bolt the shrouds (which secure the mast) to the boat - in this boat they go through the deck - which means if the seals fail - a lot of water can seep in through these holes. We buried the rail a lot in the SE trades - and a lot of water seeped in. We will be battling Moldemort for some time, so to enjoy ourselves we have been swimming with a local school of manta rays, (Owen took a ride on one), body surfing, snorkeling around lots of colorful reef fish and coral, enjoying local foods (papelmous - like a sweet grapefruit, limes, bananas, french bread, sardines, and corned beef).

There will be more to come regarding our passage - Carrie has written a short book - once we have wi fi (not here) we will send more details and pics.

The Manta rays have been spectacular - some up to 4 meters wingspan. They pass within feet of us; not a sight you forget with that big open mouth coming right at you. The kids have loved the rays too. Griffyn is still not entirely comfortable snorkeling, but Tamsyn is half fish already. The first thing you see in the luminous azure blue water that surrounds you, is the white mouth of the approaching ray. Then the full form emerges from the blue, and like slow motion aerial monster, and the gentle wings flap, and it glides on by, eating a blizard of plankton. Pretty cool.

The kids have also been in love with the beach; from collecting shells, to hours playing in the surf, and body surfing. This has been a good place for R & R.

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Daddy Caddy said...

Wow. The mantas sound like world class lifetime experience. I have been imaging you doing just what you're doing, so am feeling gratified and sharing your hard working joy in life. Thank you.

steve said...

Do the Mantas have venomous tail barbs?

Sounds like a great time.