What’s the Rush?

One reason we went cruising was to escape the ticking clock. And we succeeded: looking back on our 7000 mile Pacific crossing, I can count the number of times we’ve had to hurry on one hand. So what were we rushing off to in Suwarrow, an uninhabited atoll 2,000 miles west of nowhere? Not to a cruiser’s potluck, nor the afternoon highlight, when the two wardens of this Cook Islands National Park toss food scraps to windward and whistle the sharks in like a pack of darting dogs. No, we were rushing out for a reef walk while the tide was still low.

Hopping, skipping, and jumping, we waded along the half mile-long reef extending west from Anchorage Island. Fish darted through miniature gorges where colorful Christmas Tree worms spiraled and plump starfish stretched their arms wide. A line of surf roared at our right, a reminder of the power of the sea. Topping a list of new sensations was the iron grip of a coconut-sized octopus who suctioned our feet, then wobbled away to another part of his kaleidoscopic domain.

A mesmerizing hour passed until we noticed the water swirling more vigorously around our ankles: a sign of the rising tide. Time, alas, to hurry away - twice in one day!

“What’s the Rush” originally appeared as an article in Cruising World Magazine, September 2014.
More information on Suwarrow in Pacific Crossing Notes.