Our plan to explore the river yesterday was abandoned as a nasty drizzle set in and the anchorage became oppressively humid; yearning for fresher air and clearer water we motored along the channel inside the reef to the southernmost tip of Raiatea to anchor off a tiny, privately-owned island called Naonao.
With Graham keeping a sharp lookout at the bow, Dianne neatly steered us through a very narrow gap into a beautiful turquoise pool for our anchorage. The bottom is flat sand with a big ring of colourful coral, teaming with fish, surrounding us but it's disconcertingly shallow – we have less than a metre below our keel and the clear water makes it look disconcertingly like a shallow swimming pool from the deck! We're anchored at 16 degrees, 55.13 minutes south, 151 degrees 25. 91 minutes west.
The weather didn't really improve, with heavy rain and a 25 knot breeze through the night (so a rather noisy and disturbed sleep), but the anchor is buried deep into the white sand and the main reef is protecting us from the waves so we're very sheltered and secure. What we have noticed is that the strong winds have brought big surf crashing onto the outer reef and this is filling up the lagoon so we now have a permanent current of about a knot flowing past us which makes snorkelling a rather strenuous exercise! We had a brief hint of blue sky this morning but it looks as though it'll be a couple of days before this weather system sorts itself out and the normal sunshine returns; the wind is forecast to reduce and swing to the north, then the west and south before returning to the normal south-east on Tuesday.
It's a wonderful spot and a truly away-from-it-all place to celebrate our wedding anniversary (our 11th, which is probably something unprepossessing like Linoleum in the list of anniversaries). Cheers!
PS and Happy 50th to Steve Gamman – hope you received the email