Myanmar Day 9: Snorkel

Today we woke up in a nice calm anchorage to the sounds of breakfast. I’m up a bit early, but I let Jenn sleep. On deck the sun is just below the mountains and the light is starting to fill the predawn sky. On shore I spot something moving and can’t tell what it is. Suchet who goes to bed early is on deck and pulls out some binoculars. I pull out my long lens out of curiosity wondering if I’ll get to see something cool. But no, it’s a white dog. And then we see a brown dog, and eventually a black one too. They must have walked themselves around from the village, now feral. A bit later we hear a commotion on shore, the pack of dogs and a troop of monkeys are having an argument over something.

After breakfast it’s back to the same snorkeling location as yesterday, hopefully with better visibility. Jenn is feeling a fair bit better and doesn’t want to miss out so she’s coming this time. If she doesn’t feel good she can just raise a hand and get picked up by AK.

The visibility is better than the day before, and there are fewer jellyfish. We run across a lionfish, and a few other small fish I haven’t seen before. One particular breed I found was mostly blue and black with a little peacock eye design on its tail. Another interesting one was a particularly tiny angel fish with a spikey dorsal that couldn’t be larger than a centimeter in length. I had no way to take a photo, my camera just can’t focus that close, and I’m sure it would move anyway. I tried to make it easier on Jenn by holding her arm and doing most of the kicking, sweeping her along. We actually went further today than we did yesterday, and right near the end we came across the large jellyfish they saw yesterday coasting along. This time I got some really good detail photos of it. This spot really is the best one we’ve seen this trip. Not the absolute best I’ve ever seen, but its pretty great. Jenn had a blast and is glad she came.

The weather isn’t good for sailing, there isn’t much wind and what there is, is right from the direction we’re going. We motor an hour or so from here to a day anchorage and the Brits still take to haranguing the crew over the dingy. In the bay is floating a small fishing hut with a line of markers around it. I’m not sure what they’re fishing for, but this anchorage isn’t horribly protected. The skies are pretty dreary and we get some sprinkles off and on. Jonathan and James take to diving off of the cabin. James has just discovered diving, and he and his father are having a competition of sorts with Sara keeping an eye out for Jellyfish.

This is where we have our lunch stop, and Na cooks away while we are relaxed. I’ve already killed one of my novellas and I’m partway through the next. Jenn has some toast for lunch, just a couple pieces with her stomach still killing her.

There isn’t much of a reef here, and many jellyfish so no snorkeling. We do get to check out some caves by dinghy though. These caves are pretty shallow, but they also are a nesting spot for the type of swallow that builds nests used in birds nest soup. I’ve read it described as not particularly flavorful or anything, it’s more of a status symbol like shark fin soup. We can see the swallows skimming around, but I can’t pick out any of their nests. We can see a rudimentary ladder made out of bamboo left behind by the person collecting portions of the bird’s nests. The caves are pretty subject to the swell filling and crashing and draining so we can’t get all that close. The water was quite clear here and you could see the rocks below quite clearly, devoid of growth on them.

We continued to be sprinkled on.

From here we raise anchor and sail with the wind now up and shifted. I noticed the mainsail only has the lower most batten left which isn’t helping with the boat’s sailing performance. The genoa’s luff is also very stretched from use, and flutters horribly when trimmed in going upwind, bleeding off speed. We’re going around 6 knots mostly on a broad reach. As we get close to our destination though we run into a squall and the wind shifts forward. The crew furls the genoa until it’s about the size of a storm jib. The boat actually has a storm jib dropped on deck but it doesn’t have any control lines or halyard attached. 15 minutes later the wind continues to shift forward past where the boat can sail, so the genoa is furled the rest of the way in and the motor turned on. It was a good run though. Even if the boat isn’t set up especially well for sailing, it does sail most of the time, and that was a big reason we’re here.

Our anchorage for the night isn’t particularly good. Definitely no hurricane hole. We’re not quite tucked around a pair of points with the wind and swell coming just past them right to us. I think the expectation is that the wind is going to shift to the south overnight and we’ll be protected. Because we’re on a tight schedule we’re not able to always get to the best anchorages. But that doesn’t mean I’m not unhappy with it. This is one of the most rolly nights I think I’ve had on a boat, and I’m not quite sea sick, but I’m feeling the motion.

Again I avoid the awkward dinner conversation by just getting out of it as soon as I can, and Jenn and I retire early again since Jenn is feeling really shitty… Poor girl.

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