Thursday, 14 November 2013

on the edge of the ocean

Some boats never leave Minerva Reef...
Photo courtesy of Bella Star

Nearing Minerva
It really is the middle of nowhere. Okay, more specifically, it is one tiny spot in the Southern Pacific. You can’t see it until you’re almost on top of it. We noticed the bobbing sailboats at anchor before we saw it. It, is Minerva, a submerged coral atoll 790 nautical miles from New Zealand. 

At high tide, you can’t see the reef. At low tide, you can walk on parts of it.  There are a couple visible wrecks and one navigation light. Apparently the Tongans built it, the Fijians blew it up, and the Tongans rebuilt it, but that’s the past. They seem to have come to some kind of peaceful agreement, and it’s now flashing its trusty light. When you’re anchored inside the fringing reef (in depths ranging from 14 to 20 m), you feel like you are at the edge of the world. At least, that’s how I imagine it would look like, if there were an edge…

Looking out of Minerva
Photo courtesy of Bella Star

I was hemming and hawing about stopping at Minerva Reef. I really just wanted to get to New Zealand, but Rick thought it would be cool to check it out. In light of the weather forecast, it seemed like a good idea to stop after all. It’s easier to plan for a weather window to New Zealand, the closer you are. This was the last stop before New Zealand.

It turns out that we loved it there. I didn’t realize that with the intensity of the past few months, being somewhere where there was nothing, but a bit of coral and a few boats was exactly what we needed. We felt ourselves decompress; we took in the sky, the water and breathed a sigh of relief. We were fortunate to have our buddies on Bella Star and Dream Time there too. We were in good company.

The Dream Team
Photo courtesy of Dream Time
We snorkelled a wreck and some of the coral, Nicole and I saw the biggest lobsters I have ever seen. Unfortunately (or fortunately for the lobsters) when Neville and Rick showed up ready to hunt, the lobsters made themselves scarce. They saw one giant who found a crevasse to hide in. I walked on the fringing reef with Aaron and Nicole, we were blown away by the colourful canvas. This sunscreen vigilante forgot to layer sunscreen on and ended up a glowing shade of red that night. In spite of that, much fun was had with the gang. We got to just “be” for a few days. While we did tackle some boat chores, everything (including us) moved in slow motion.

Girl Time with Nicole
Photo courtesy of Bella Star
Wonder what its story is...
Photos courtesy of Bella Star

This pit-stop turned out to be a gift. Sometimes, the middle of nowhere is perfect.

1 comment:

  1. Many of the places you will never see again, but you will remember them always.

    Don

    ReplyDelete

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