September 15, 2103
Sadly, this would be our last day in Fulaga, but we needed to wait for slack tide in order to exit through the pass. This wasn’t due to happen until after 2pm, giving us more time to enjoy our anchorage. The blues here are ever changing, and today’s richer, darker blues were some of my favorite. Below, a photo gallery featuring this pretty shade of blue.
Unfortunately, this day was marred by that last-day-of-vacation feeling and the nerves that come with it. In this case, we were nervous about getting out through the pass and after that, an overnight passage to the Northern Lau group of islands. We were also sad to be leaving, to see this magical time ending, and having to say good-bye to our friends who were heading in a different direction.
We’d already gotten attached to the new remoras at this anchorage, and I gave them the last meal we’d be feeding them. These remoras were much more shy than the ones at our last anchorage, but we became fast friends when I fed them pork scraps.
It was getting close to 2pm when we picked up our anchor and headed off. Today the visibility in the water was the best I’d seen. Normally this would be a good thing, but being able to clearly see each and every dark spot and coral patch on the bottom was giving me anxiety attacks. I tried to direct us around the dark areas I saw, but there were too many. I just had to remind myself that we’d originally come through this way at low tide and been fine. The visibility wasn’t nearly as good then and I was so much calmer.
Now, we approached the pass. A boat was waiting outside to come in, and over the radio we all decided he’d enter as soon as we and Bright Angel made our exits. It was time to go, and we headed out first, following our track from when we came in. Thank God for that track–today’s clear visibility made all the coral reefs and rock formations look so close to the surface that I’m not sure I could have done this without suffering a heart attack. I continued to remind myself we’ve been over this before, and to appreciate how much nicer it was when I could hardly see into the water. Damn you, visibility!
After we made it over the shallowest parts of the pass, we still had some turbulent water to go through, including some 3-foot swells that threatened to become waves. Finally we were clear, and I returned to the cockpit from my bow watch a nervous wreck. Where’s the Valium?!
Bright Angel exited after we did seeming much calmer about the whole thing. After they made it, we all hovered and watched the other boat go in and made sure they were OK. They’d arrived earlier with no idea how to get into Fulaga and had put a call out on the radio asking for help and advice. We and Bright Angel told them to wait for slack tide and gave them waypoints and information about getting to the village. After all this, we now felt a little responsible for them.
Below are a few pictures of Bright Angel exiting the pass while the other boat enters, taken from our vantage point safely away from the island.
After we were satisfied they were on track, we headed off to our next destination. I was barely below when Rich called out, “Fish!” He’d put two lines out and both were zinging! We ended up pulling in two mahi mahi, a final gift from Fulaga. –Cyndi