Chesterfield Reef

It took a day to get ourselves back into passage rhythm. Then we can go the distance comfortably. Wind is generous and we make Chesterfield 4 1/2 days later just after dawn. We find the anchorage about noon. Within an hour a humpback whale and her calf come swimming by. Then a dolphin says hello. Seems a friendly place!

We have neighbors. 3 New Caledonia boats. They speak a little English. But maybe our French is better. So we are required to use it. Good exercise! Cyril and Magalie invited us over for pizza night on their catamaran Black Lion.

Here there is some earth above the tide line. But not much. This place is mostly reef. No one lives here of course.  Sunsets are awesome.  Great place to look for the “green flash.”  And to relax.11 asunset.jpg

Spill the Wine looks relaxed.

So does the boy below.11 sunfeet.jpg

11 boobie.jpg

We had a bird visit us.  Odd blue beak.  I’ve heard of Blue Footed Boobies but the feet are not blue….  Hmmm.

The snorkeling here is top shelf. We see the biggest Moray Eel ever. About as big as a good sized dachshund. But of course we viewed from a distance…

Beach day. There are a thousand birds nesting on this island. Eggs. Chicks. Parents annoyed at us for getting too close to the island. We find a sandspit that offends them only a little. The adults keep swooping on us. None of them got caught in our hair.20180827_164306293

Hard to appreciate via the above photo but the closest bird is about 4ft away.  They are after us. They were quite offended about sharing the beach with us. And here is why.  They nest here.  Spot the egg to the right of the bird.  Half sitting on it.  All about temperature control apparently.

Bird egg

We have tasked ourselves with making letters out of our bodies to send a message home. This reminds me of yoga. But we get our photos. Just had to be careful of the air traffic.  Kat did the creative work.  I just bent myself into a few pretzels.received_1347233065407002.jpeg

The next day we took Spill The Wine across the lagoon to tour some other islands. Lots of coral bommies in the anchorage. So that was tricky.

The wind has been steady at 15 kts since we arrived. And it’s not so warm either. Warm enough if you are in the sun anyway. Just the same, we are ready for a windless day.

More sandspit islands. Not so many angry birds here. But the turtles have been nesting here. Lots of pits in the sand where they laid their eggs.  The pits don’t show very well in this photo but what you can see is the extent of the reef.  On the right is the sea.  On the left is the lagoon.  Very narrow bits of land here.11 a in out.jpg

We came upon a turtle that had laid her last egg. Maybe last year.  This shell is about 4 feet long.  Just think how many pairs of tortoise shell glasses you could make with this!!11 ashell.jpg

There was a free kayak on the island. You just have to haul it off.11 akayak

We shortly discovered it’s being utilized by the hermit crabs for shade. We discover this when we moved it.11 crabs

About a hundred crabby hermit crabs. But then that’s situation normal for crabs…

Back on Spill The Wine we decide to catch up on maintenance.   Kat bought a slick waterproof dive flashlight.  There is a magnet on a toggle that moves about 5mm back and forth.  This actuates the switch is triggered magnetically and is inside the housing.  Which leaks.  Sweet as.  We chase the water out of it and in the process the said magnetic switch is bumped off the printed circuit board (pcb).  There are little holes in the pcb to match the electrodes of the switch.  You’d think one could just reinsert them but no.  They are full of solder.  If only I had a tool for removing solder from a hole….  Oh.  I do.  It is called a solder sucker.  If anyone out there knows a fancier name lemme know.Soldersucker.jpg

Good tool.  You press down the plunger and it clicks into a cocked position.  Then you melt the solder to be removed with a soldering iron.  Place the white tip by the melty solder and push the black button to release the plunger.  This sucks air (and melty solder) into the device and off the pcb.  PCB

Next we resolder the magnetic switch into place.  Better than new.pcb work

Here is the big picture.  Notice nothing on the horizon.  Chesterfield reef is that kind of place.  Anyway when we were done it worked but still leaked.  Sometimes that’s just the way it goes.  Kat may well leave this flashlight on the boat when she departs just to drive me insane!

Our anchorage was a bit rolly. And windy. The wind shifted and there was some discussion in the middle of the night as to whether adjustments were required. Then the wind died so we shortened the anchor chain a bit and went back to sleep.

The next day shows very little wind. We recrossed the lagoon. When the wind drops the water lays flat and spotting whales and turtles is much easier.

After we anchored we dinghy’d out to find whales. In the middle of the lagoon we turned off the dinghy motor and just waited. You could hear the whales singing while we were sitting in the dinghy. Really spooky. Even louder after we got in the water of course.

We had good whale luck. Mom and calf were near. And we got to watch three males go swimming right by us. The water was 40ft deep and quite clear. The whales gave us the Eye. I’m just glad they saw us. Beware that tail! Just ask Nancy.

Meanwhile back at the anchorage, it’s time for celebrating Magalie’s birthday on Black Lion. Our neighbors once again host us with marlin kebabs this time.

Happy birthday Margarite! She likes to dance.11 adance

Nights like that make slow going the next day. But we get it together and depart for Australia. This is another place we’d rather not leave. Chesterfield is beyond the edge of the world I swear. I wonder if those New Caledonians were real.  Probably were.  I lost a bet with Cyril and owe him some champagne….

On our way out of the lagoon mom and calf gave us a goodbye show. Whale magic.

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2 thoughts on “Chesterfield Reef

  1. I’ve had a solder sucker since the 70’s. Hasn’t seen much use in the last 10 years, but maybe soon. My first one was a rubber bulb (similar to an ear syringe), and the second one spring loaded much like yours. Worked much better :-).

    Liked by 1 person

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