Monday, November 30, 2015

The Most Beautiful and Healthy Coral Yet!

After a few days of absolute comfort in Baie du Carenage, which is one of the most northern bays in Baie de Prony, we moved over to the eastern shore and a little south. We wanted to get a little closer to the Havannah Passage so our sail down to Ile des Pins would be shorter. We knew there was some good snorkeling at Anse Majic just on through Bonne Anse (Baie Est).

A sure sign of healthy coral is notice of no anchoring and the presence of mooring balls that must be used as they are in a nature reserve area. That means we cannot take anything from the area and must protect it in all ways while we are there. We make a habit of not discarding anything other than organic food scraps into the ocean. Too many people toss aluminum cans, tin cans and a lot of paper products into the sea. None of them are good for the ocean even if they are 1000 feet or more below the surface. Of course, plastic NEVER goes overboard!

Before snorkeling, we hiked up to the top of the Pointe Mere about 85 meters to the lookout point at the lighthouse. What a view! This is the place where whales are often sighted as you can see for miles. Even though it was a perfect clear and sunny day, no whales were spotted, but the view was worth the trek. We had packed a lunch and trekked with Brian and Sue on S/Y Darrramy.

Upon return to the boat, we went off to see the coral. It was warm in the sun, but the wind was chilly so it would be a short snorkel.

Unfortunately, my mask and goggles managed to stay behind in the saloon so I did not go in the water. And I was not responsible for their missing in action moment! My view of the coral from the surface was great.

Dennis snorkeled all around the area and took photos. He had been disappointed in the coral we have seen so far, but this was the most beautiful healthy coral he has seen anywhere. And there were numerous types and colors. It is wonderful that mooring balls have been put in place to preserve it. Unfortunately, one boat – French, of course – anchored, then their anchor was fouled on the coral. Obviously, they did some damage as they freed it. With 10-12 mooring balls and no one in the anchorage but them when we arrived, we don’t understand why they anchored. The mooring balls are free to use! Duh!!!

This was a peaceful anchorage so we had a couple of good nights of sleep there before heading south to Ile des Pins. The sail is about 40 nm, but the wind will be on the nose so we will have to motor-sail part of the way. We did not get down there last year so we are looking forward to exploring. It is supposed to be beautiful, but it will be hard to top Atol d’ Ouvea! And there are a number of place that are perfect for catamarans, but not deep drafted monohulls. We will find some lovely places for sure. And maybe some baguettes!
Which way is up?
The vista was amazing!
A look back at where we had spent the past week.
Only the French ...
It is amazing how some things of beauty can survive.

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