With strong winds gusting 30 knots we arrived at Beveridge reef at 13:00 on Saturday 17th June. Invisible until quarter of a mile away, there was suddenly a line of white surf ahead backed by a vivid slash of aquamarine. At night, unwarned, we would have been wrecked in 5 minutes. As it was I had to gybe in a hurry, and sailed along the line of surf about 100feet away, until we rounded the northern tip of the reef and entered more sheltered water. We had been given coordinates for an entrance to the lagoon, but it was so rough that I doubted whether we could safely enter. As we motored round the reef just outside the breakers, the sight was dramatic as the strong wind tore the heads off the rollers.
To my surprise I found that the reef was like a short spiral and we curved round into the lagoon through a wide reasonably sheltered channel. Then we motored into the teeth of the gale to an indicated anchorage position just inside the reef, where the water changed from Bombay Sapphire in 12metres to pale aquamarine in 3metres over white sand.
Our anchorage was secure, if a little choppy and buffeted by the endless roar of surf and wind, and we stayed for the night.
Despite the gale we took the dinghy right up to the reef edge to snorkel, and were very glad we did. The water was so clear that s the vital watermaker has slowed from 90litres an hour to 30litres. So today Mark is running a full cleaning programme with alkali and acid solutions and I hope to see it restored.
Next we set sail for Niue, 120 miles directly downwind in this game, before heading to Tonga. It looks as though this wind will remain unabated for the next week, so it will be a rough ride.
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