Sailing to Palmyra
Waikiki Yacht Club, under the soaring glamorous beach front hotels, was our embarkation point.
Once briefed, we headed south from Hawaii into remote Pacific.
Boobies our only companions at sea for the next 6 days. No other boats in sight.
The immenseness of the Pacific became clear, as guided by the Southern Cross we made our passage to Palmyra Atoll -A National Wildlife Monument.
We tried to interpret the clouds for signs of land underneath, as the Polynesians did, or smell the land as we approached.
And there it was , with waves breaking into the distance, as the Ocean swells met the sand banks and coral reefs offshore of the atoll.
Navigating the only safe channel into the atoll, with significant care, we were dumbstruck at the beauty of the tree lined shores sitting in pristine azure waters.
Clouds of birds circled above their nesting grounds.
Seabirds festooned the trees like Christmas Ornaments.
Inquisitive juveniles skimmed over our heads, allowing wildlife documentary style photos.
Anchored here for a few days allowed us the rare privilege of warden tours of Strawn islands, with the giant robber crabs, seething masses of land crabs, making the ground move and sway as if we we still on the boat.
And the snorkelling, in the thriving and exceptionally healthy reefs!
Coral fortresses of all varieties ;Fan, Brain, Staghorn etc with guardians of so many colourful fish.
And in the valleys between the towers, patrolling black tip reef sharks.
Different sites had their own character.
The channel, was big game territory.
Majestic mantra rays swept below us, often individuals, but we also witnessed congregations of 20-30 individuals thrashing around on the surface.
Shy Green Turtles, and exceptionally a rare close encounter with an ‘interested’!! Tiger Shark.
Thrilling (Is that the correct adjective for coming face to face with one of the most dangerous sharks!) for everyone, including well travelled scuba divers on board.
With only our yacht and the Atoll wardens , we all appreciated the rare opportunities we had been offered by visiting the extraordinary wilderness.