Beveridge Reef was an interesting place for us to visit, and one that we’d been excited about for a while, but as with every place you have to take the good and the bad.
Thursday the two boats that were here left, so we had all of Beveridge Reef to ourselves. Unfortunately the wind and swell picked up. The hazard of a place like this is that with no land, comes no protection from the swell and winds. This is not a calm anchorage. We are glad to be in a cat!
We spent the day doing some chores and cleaning. I baked bread and banana muffins while running several loads of laundry.
Friday morning we discovered our escape hatch is leaking. I only found this out when I noticed that the clothes in the laundry pile (under the machine) were soaking wet and some were even moldy. So that means I spent the morning doing more laundry!
We also had a new boat come in, a monohull named Viking. We hailed them, a bit worried about their path into the atoll, and they were worried about us, since on the chart it looks like we are on shore. Again – horribly inaccurate charts. Once both parties were sure the other was fine, we gave them some tips for the pass and they anchored near us.
That afternoon David and I wanted to go for a snorkel. We’d heard about a wreck located near us, identifiable by being one of the only things sticking out of the water. We hopped in LD, rocking and rolling in the waves, and made our way over. We anchored and hopped in, finding some large reef fish and very unusual rock formations – we honestly aren’t sure if it was a wreck or just rocks.
However, about two minutes into our swim David yells and starts flailing in the water. I’m concerned and going to try to calm him down when I notice a flash of bright blue in the water – jelly fish. And then I get stung. More flailing and then rushing back to the dinghy, and back to SH.
David did get stung, a small bump behind his ear. It’s amazing that he didn’t get stung on his face. I, however, was not so lucky and got about two dozen stings all over my right arm and back.
The biggest concern was that we didn’t see exactly what stung us, and the tropical pacific is the home of box jellies, which can be deadly. The thing is, if you get stung by one there’s not really much you can do about it in a remote situation like this. But, being stung by one doesn’t mean you are doomed – we know several people who have gotten stung and survived.
Back on SH the first thing we did was pour some white vinegar on the stings. White vinegar doesn’t help in all jellyfish stings, but it won’t hurt. Next I did a hot shower off the back of the boat, and that’s what helped the most. I also popped some accetametaphin.
The stings first were white raised bumps that stung, and then turned into a large red rash that burned, and then that faded to small white bumps that look like bug bites. All this occurred in about an hour’s time. We suspect that we were stung by a Portuguese man-o-war.
Between the sharks, the jellies, and the motion of the ocean, this may not be my favorite place ever.
However, leave it to other cruisers to turn the day around. Vaughn, Scott, and Christina from Viking came over to say hello. After a bit of socializing, they left to go swim outside the reef. Afterwards, they came back again, bringing a gift of a coral trout (their name for it, I think it was a grouper) and pictures of the humpback whale they snorkeled with! Amazing. The fish was pretty big, and Scott filleted it for me. We gave them a few beers and chatted for a bit more about our boat and underwater photography.
Fresh caught fish for dinner – not too rough! I made beer battered fish with half of the fish and froze the other half. And DAMN it was really good fish.
The next day I had some muscle soreness in my back and glutes – from the stings or the flailing, I’m not sure. Viking left, giving us two nights alone in Beveridge Ree. We didn’t want to arrive in Niue on the weekend and we wanted to be able to sail the whole way as we are running low on diesel. That meant we kept delaying our departure, but we finally sucked it up and left this morning at 11 am. The pass was easy, just followed our trail out and only encountered 1 knot of current pushing us out. We saw NO WHALES!
We should arrive in Niue by sundown on Tuesday (tomorrow). We are on high whale alert.