Monday, October 22, 2012

We Almost Get to Cocos Island

Our anchorage off Felicité Island is beautiful.
However, back behind us lies lovely little Cocos Island and marine park, where we were originally planning to anchor and spend the afternoon snorkeling.
As we sailed past the island on our way here, we could see people out on the beach. It looked ideal.
I want to be there.

It’s not that far, so several of us decide to take the dinghy over and explore. Pretty soon the whole group decides to go and we are zipping across the crystal clear water, the rocky outcroppings getting closer every moment.
(Cocos is right behind those boulders!)

Not that we are exactly sure how to best reach (let alone land) at the beach we saw earlier.

We zig-zag between rocky outcrops, debating the best approach. 

It is so beautiful here. I wish we could kick back and enjoy it, but one member of our group is starting to panic: “We need to go back. This is dangerous. What if the engine dies ? We don’t have a phone. We don’t have a tide table. . . . We have to turn back.”

I’m not sure at first if she is really scared or if she is just frustrated because she wanted to go snorkeling and couldn’t get anyone else to go. While it is true that we don’t have a phone or a tide table; the water is warm, clear, and shallow.  We can clearly see the bottom. I suspect any of us could swim back to the flotilla if need be.  Certainly any of us could climb up on the rocks and wave until someone saw us. There is simply no reason to be nervous, let alone panic-stricken.

But she does seem terrified, so now we have the duel challenge of finding a path in through the coral while dealing with her panic. With the direction of the current and wind, it would be easiest to come farther around the island, past the beach, and then use the wind and current to guide us in. However, the best way to deal with the panic seems to be to get ashore as quickly as possible.

The island is so tantalizing close, but the tide is high, making the tiny beach even smaller and, from this angle, we are working against the current. It would be possible to land here. . . but not quickly and not easily in a small dinghy with someone who is becoming more upset by the moment.

So I will not be exploring this perfect little island.



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