Yesterday, after four and a half days underway, we arrived at Chesterfield Reef. Chesterfield, a string of motus hovering just over half way between Vanuatu and Australia, is a marine reserve controlled by New Caledonia.
Our passage was an easy one, 50 hours of downwind sailing in calm seas followed by 50 hours of motoring, but we are ecstatic to have the opportunity to get a few full nights of sleep at anchor as we wait for the winds to fill in and make the last push into Australia. So, by 1230 on Saturday, the anchor was dropped, the champagne popped (always need to celebrate a safe passage!), and it we were moments away from swimming in the glassy turquoise water surrounding the boat.
We hopped in as quickly as we could as the heat was blistering, literally—bubbles forming in the varnish on the toe rails, the deck burning bare feet. I floated, bobbed, and somersaulted in the water; Dominic wore his snorkel and mask and kept a constant shark watch. We’ve heard a few stories about tiger sharks cruising through the anchorage and saw a four foot grey shark circle a few feet from our stern.
We went ashore as the sun started to set to enjoy beverages with our neighboring boats, two Aussie catamarans and a 65 foot monohull, and marvel at the wildlife. Chesterfield is a mecca of breeding birds. We had a leisurely breakfast this morning, relaxing, doing yoga and a few light weight boat chores. This afternoon we’ll do some very cautious snorkeling and exploring on the islets before watching the full moon rise.