Beveridge Reef, by Brian

On our third day in Beveridge reef the weather keeping us pinned inside finally broke, dropping from a blustery 30 knots to a tranquil 15.  With a good outlook for the next few days we decided to launch the dinghy and do some exploring.

Ramone, our trusty 15HP outboard, had other plans and decided to take the day off.  He spattered to life for a few seconds before dying.  After a few hours of troubleshooting we gave up and dusted off Pepe, our 2HP backup.  Pepe hadn’t been used since Mexico but cranked right up on the first pull.  Unfortunately 2HP with a heavy dinghy and 3 passengers barely cuts it, being just slightly better than rowing.  Forget about getting anywhere loaded with dive gear. With even a moderate current or wind you’d go backwards.  We settled for a short excursion in the reef taking the dinghy as close as possible to the coral edge, setting our hook in a sandy patch.  We enjoyed a cold beer while watching in awe as the waves kicked up by the last few days of wind relentlessly pounded the reef.  The photo doesn’t do it justice but that is a 12 foot wave breaking in a perfect barrel.  Too bad it breaks in 6 inches of water!

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Our broken outboard turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  Instead of feeling compelled to dive and explore everything in sight we were forced to relax on the boat, making the most of our time by reading, sleeping, and concocting creative meals with what provisions we had left from Bora Bora.  I personally worked my way through two Twilight novels, alternating between reading and staring at the waves from the comfort of our sun-shaded cockpit.  It seems all three of us were ready for a week of idle relaxation.  Without land to explore we didn’t feel guilty about what we may be missing.  Delos is a large enough boat so the three of us can spread out and have some personal space.  We spent an entire day lounging in hammocks hung from our downwind poles over the beautiful blue water while sipping Erin’s famous margaritas.

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We did bum a ride with Imagine and Jackstay for some snorkeling and to explore the wreck of a steel fishing boat that had been tossed like a toy completely over the reef into the lagoon.  That must have been one heck of a storm.

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The snorkeling was good but not incredible, or maybe we’re just spoiled by all that we’ve seen so far.  The visibility was amazing though, easily in the 100+ foot range, and there were some huge reef and pelagic fish just outside of the pass.  There was a constant 2-3 knot outflow of water threatening to push you into the ocean if you didn’t hold your position by swiftly kicking.  Unlike other atolls we’ve visited there is no ebb and flood here, it’s always ebbing (flowing out) as the waves crashing into the reef constantly fill it up looking for a way to escape through the only pass.

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The wreck was very cool to explore since it was the first above water wreck we’ve seen.  We felt like proper pillagers by stripping some copper wire and heavy monofilament for use on our boats.

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We were the last boat of our group to leave Beveridge, sticking it out another day before making the 200NM passage to Niue.  It was a strange feeling to be all alone with nothing in sight but the blue water, something you wouldn’t give a second thought under sail.  Being anchored is a bit different.  The experience and peace we enjoyed in Beverage was well worth what we weathered to get there.