Our night anchored behind Emae Island, the night of July 5/6, started off with a clear sky full of stars and very mild conditions, but changed into squalls after midnight. We heard the anchor chain groaning in the gusts of wind and expected the squalls to pass by morning. They did not. We were glad that we had not spent another night at Cook Reef, where squalls would be unsettling and the morning rain would have made extricating ourselves from the reef much more difficult.
Not knowing how long the squalls and rain would last, after some discussion, we decided to leave for Epi Island as planned. Aside from the occasional rain and the larger seas, it was not too bad a sail. The winds were stronger and were more from the south, so we had a fast downwind sail. With the large swells, we decided that Revelieu Bay would be a better choice than Lamen Bay as the latter has a reputation as being rolly even in calm conditions. We were in Revelieu Bay last year and it was quite pleasant. It was not so yesterday. The swell had no problem breaking over the reef and into the anchorage. It was not comfortable.
Just after leaving Emae Island, I put the first of my two fishing lines into the water. Before I could get the second line in the water, the first line was hit hard by a fish. The shock absorber on the line stretched way out and then snapped back and line started to come off the spool. We saw a fish leap and struggle in the distance behind the boat, but in the dreary conditions and large swells, we could not see what it was. I was able to cleat the hand-line spool (yo-yo) to the stern cleat before the spool would have been lost, and then let the fish tire itself out for a good 15 minutes before pulling it in. (Hey, I am not a sports fisherman. I fish for food.) It was a nice gold and green mahi-mahi (dorado), about 3 feet (1 meter) long — not that large for a mahi. It was a chore to cut fillets from the flanks of the fish in the pitching seas. I am not that nifty with a fish knife, and tried to be very careful. Laura also had a chore cooking the fish up in the rolly anchorage at Revelieu, but the fish was delicious. It was delicious again today, and will likely be as good tomorrow.
This morning the weather had settled down considerably so we made the 9 mile sail to Lamen Bay. We are the only boat here. We saw the dugong, but not from up close, and plenty of turtles. We kayaked around the bay and had a long swim. Tomorrow we will try to swim with the dugong, plus take the dinghy over to nearby Lamen Island. Epi Island is famous for its peanut, so will will try to buy some peanut stalks.
Well it is almost 7 pm. Time to check and weather and think about going to bed.