Open up Google Maps ya’ll, you are going to want to see this.
At about 1615 SH time (we haven’t changed time zones to the Niue time yet, even though we are in Niue territory technically) we anchored in Beveridge Reef.
We are about 140 miles from Niue (an overnight sail for us). Beveridge Reef is a small atoll 6 nm long by 2 nm wide that doesn’t even break the surface most of the time. If you didn’t know it was there, it would be hard to find during the day, and impossible to spot at night. Fortunately for us, one boat was on AIS as we approached – Prince Diamond, who we haven’t met but have shared anchorages with before. We gave them a hail looking for advice, and they happily reported about the entrance to us.
The ocean swell was fairly big but with a large period between the waves, and the winds were less than 5 knots. Since we approached from the east, we went up and over the north of the atoll. Our Raymarine chart is totally worthless here, I’ll post a photo sometime when we have internet so you can see how comically bad it is. Our cruising guides (including the Soggy Paws Compendium) don’t include a chart, they just have one coordinate and say that the entrance is on the west side.
Price Diamond told us to come down to 20 degrees south and turn due east to find the pass. We stayed well off from the blob on our Raymarine chart, until we were ready to line up. The water in the pass was choppy with the breakers on either side of us. The current was fairly strong – 3 to 4 knots. The Niue tide station says low tide was at noon, high tide is at 6 pm, so we were probably pretty close to the middle.
Even approaching the atoll in thousands of feet of water, you can tell the water is unusually clear as you can watch the sunbeams shine into the deep. When it got to about 50 feet David was on the deck helping me navigate through visually. We did a few zigs and zags, but nothing major.
Once the depth leveled our around 30 feet we turned north. There are only three boats here; us, Prince Diamond, and an FP Orana named Anahoa. Anahoa is anchored just north of the pass, so we came past them and anchored about a quarter mile away from them in 20 feet of water. As the tide rises we get less protection from the swell, so it is a little rocky out here.
20 degrees 00.725 S 167 degrees 46.604 W
The water is really crazy clear. I immediately got in to snorkel and check the height of the bommies around us. I didn’t even really need to snorkel….the visibility is at least 200 feet. Mac Daddy set perfectly and the bommies are mostly just rise a few feet above the bottom.
I swam around a bit enjoying the exercise and cool water until I got approached by a shark. He was VERY curious and made me uncomfortable, especially because I didn’t know what kind he was – not a black tipped reef shark like we usually swim with. I tried to discourage him from getting closer, and eventually he did leave me alone. Based on the notch in his tail and his colorings, I’d say he was a gray reef shark – the guide book says they are only occasionally aggressive…gee thanks. Fortunately he was small.
The whole passage we kept a close eye out for whales because it is peak season. We didn’t see anything while out there, but just a few minutes ago as David was washing dishes he spotted a spout just outside the pass. They are sporadic but they are there!
Our plan is to hang out here until we get a forecast for enough wind to sail the whole way to Niue.