Tuesday, May 12, 2009

May 11, 2009 - Chagos Arrival

Our love of landfalls is at least as strong as our dislike of passages. So it was with a lot of pleasure that we put the hook down in Chagos this morning. We then bustled around converting Mata'irea from passagemaking mode to living at anchor mode. We rolled up the jacklines, put the sail cover on the main and bagged the staysail, inflated and reassembled the dinghy, cleaned the rime and grime out of the cockpit and off of the dodger windows, put away our foul weather gear and harnesses, sorted through all the fresh fruit and veggies to pluck out the rotters, changed the sheets, and swept the cabin sole, smiling all the while.

We took a break from all this activity to have lunch. Sten grilled up a few steaks from the giant wahoo that he caught this morning as we passed Blenheim Reef just after dawn. Served with lemony iced tea and the Andaman tomatoes that I pickled with coriander and ginger in Sri Lanka, no gourmet meal could have tasted better to us.

Because we are going to be here for so long, without access to fresh produce, I started some container plants this afternoon in Ikea herb pots. I have high hopes for my 'Kea Pets, particularly the lettuce and basil. Of the 26 boats anchored in this 4 mile wide atoll, many of which have been here for two or three months, 16 are leaving in the next few days. Maybe, if we're lucky, we'll inherit some plants from their aftdeck gardens.

We spent the evening visiting with Renaissance 2000, the charming Canadian couple who saved Mata'irea's topsides from getting scratched up in Kupang one afternoon when we were off the boat. Ken and Jean deployed our fenders when they noticed a boat dragging down on Mata'irea. We were glad to finally have an opportunity to properly thank them; in Chagos that means a gift of two ripe tomatoes and several pounds of wahoo and yellowfin.

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