Every stopover here in New Cal has something to offer, above and below the water.
We only had an overnighter at Ilot Brosse, an island not far from Kuto and we didn’t snorkel, but we had a lovely beach for a walk and enjoyed one of the best sunsets so far from the beach. We found out where our “sallys” go too when they are out of the water … to the rocks of Ilot Brosse! Several tricot rayes were curled up in the small rock crevices at the end of our beach and they were very well camouflaged. They certainly weren’t noticed at first glance.
We had a great sail to Ilot Kouare in the southern lagoon, catching a Spanish Mackerel along the way. A long spinnaker run, followed by a great reaching sail with our screecher enjoying the 15 knots (we too). No motors the whole way! Sans Souci and Easy Tiger didn’t have the option of flying a kite and this passage needed one with the wind square behind us. I think ours still owes us but when it’s needed it certainly earns its keep.
After a few nights at Ilot Kouare we moved 13 nautical miles north, to the ‘twin islands’ of Ilot Ua and Ilot Uatio. These islands are very close together and have great reef protection. We anchored in quite deep water at Ilot Ua compared to what we have been used to. It has been common to find 5 metre depths in our anchorages here, and usually in sand. This one was 10 metres deep and amongst quite a few coral heads. It just means more chain but more importantly, avoiding damaging the coral. The great thing here is we can jump in and see how well our anchor is set. The water is so clear.
On our walk ashore, we discovered a very big sea eagle nest right on the water’s edge. We wondered why the kites above were screeching. Then we saw it. How lucky were we, getting so close and actually peering in to the nest where we saw one newly born chick and one egg.
Little did we realise, we were surrounded by the most amazing coral gardens at Ilot Ua. The reef surrounding the island had some of the most colourful coral we have seen.
Here’s a taste … with more photos in my next post …