Emperor Fish and the Fourth of July

We spent the holiday weekend relaxing and exploring South Fakarava. We snorkled a reef system half a mile west of the anchorage and came across the most aggressive fish we’ve seen yet. This emperor fish guarded his bommies closely, scoping us with his yellow-rimmed eyes and snarling at us with his snaggle-tooth jaws. There were two large groupers nearby and three sharks, none of which paid us any mind. But this guy glares in the background of many of our pictures, and chased us from his territory so assertively that Dominic had to threaten him with his dive knife to get him to leave us alone. Wild times!

Despite being in a French nation, we had a very celebratory Fourth of July. There are three other US boats in the anchorage. We had 30 knot winds, so we couldn’t have a bonfire on the beach, but we did have a raging progressive happy hour that lasted through the evening. The winds stirred up a lot of chop, creating some wet dinghy rides between boats, but it was well worth it. Everyone shared the delicacies they had left in their galley, pamplemousse and watermelon, foccacia bread and margaritas, crackers with brie and blueberries. Cruising has been one of the first travel experiences where we've actually sought out the company of other Americans. We’re excited to meet any other English speaking boats, but with Americans the conversation falls into a familiar cadence so easily, we know each other’s towns and schools and companies, we marvel at the same international idiosyncrasies, we all seem to practice yoga.

Though we’ve grown close with some of our neighbor boats, there was a hint of bitter lining all this sweet holiday fun. We missed being with all of our friends in Weaverville, waking to the sound of the anvil firing and eating blueberry pie after the parade. I missed celebrating my sister’s awesomeness with her favorite lady friends at her bachelorette party. If only we could figure out teleportation already!