Global Voyage

A Story About Sailing Around the World

Ray & Jenny aboard the ketch Suka

3 years, 35,000 miles, Nov 1982 - Jan 1986

Ray & Jenny Jardine

Chapter 2: Marquesas Magnifique page 31 of 109

A Skin Diving Excursion

The next morning our neighbor George invited us on a skin diving excursion. But when he arrived to collect us, we shuddered at the sight of his fragile dinghy. Originally, thin aluminum skin had been riveted to the internal stiffeners. But now this metal was largely disjointed and worn through in many places, repaired only with strips of adhesive tape. As a measure of expediency, bits of wadded paper replaced some of the missing rivets. Clearly, to step in the wrong place would have been to plunge into the sea. The tender was hardly anyone's definition of seaworthiness, but I reasoned that, after all, this was a skin diving excursion and we were prepared to get wet. And rightly so, for the dinghy did have one thing in its favor, in the form of a hefty outboard motor. So off we went at an alarming rate, bailing constantly.

White caps garnished the outer bay, and a heavy surf fell upon the shore. There would be no diving there. Hair streaming in the wind, George steered for the lee of a small off-lying islet. Once there, we flopped overboard and swam about for awhile. Not finding much of interest, George suggested we visit the site of his previous outing, which happened to be at a time when the seas had been much calmer. So we motored to within 30 feet of what was now a surf-trounced lee shore. Not to worry. George dove to the bottom and tied the dinghy's long painter to a jagged ear of coral. Jenny remained aboard, and with a splash I went by the board.

“Surf cascaded over the gunwales and swamped the dinghy, and down it all went: dinghy, motor, and every piece of our diving gear.”

George was right: the underwater scene was far more interesting. After exploring the submerged reefs for perhaps half-an-hour, I climbed back aboard and George soon joined us. And this is when things started going amok. While removing snorkeling gear, I realized that we were adrift and slowly making way for the backside of the surf. George had untied the painter! I grabbed the oars and started to row us away from danger. George started bailing frantically. Unfortunately, we were in each other's way. Surf cascaded over the gunwales and swamped the dinghy, and down it all went - dinghy, motor, and every piece of our diving gear.

Feeling like simpletons, we swam around recovering the few items of flotsam. Then we confronted the dangerous shore: not a sand beach but a treacherously piercing coral reef bashed with surf and writhing in foam. I swam with Jenny to the most likely landing, and coached her in. After several attempts at judging the correct timing, she finally stroked vigorously on a swelling surge and drug herself out to safety. George and I heaved the few floating items to her, then swam back for an attempt at recovering some of the sunken wreckage. The lack of face masks rendered us practically blind under water, but we did find the boat. And with a great deal of effort we managed to wrestle it toward shore. An hour later we had extracted it from the sea. The dinghy had suffered no noticeable damage, but of course the engine was now a victim of drowning. George volunteered to row back to Nibuk for the item we needed most: a face mask, so we gingerly re-launched his boat.

Two hours later he returned with the mask. But by then the tide had ebbed and our little disaster area was heavily embroiled in surf. Nevertheless, donning the mask I went into the sea, and luckily the first thing I found was my prescription-lens face mask. Subsequent diving exhumed the remainder of our gear, save for Jenny's mask. George rowed back to the anchorage while Jenny and I walked. And once at the anchorage's beach we swam out to Suka.

The story has 109 pages. This is page 31.
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Page Links
GV 001: Title Page
GV 002: TOC
GV 003: Dedication
GV 004: Preface
GV 005: Prologue
GV 006: Beginnings
GV 007: Work Done
GV 008: Making Ready
GV 009: Departure
GV 010: Sailing Credentials
GV 011: First Lesson
GV 012: Sextant Navigation
GV 013: Safety Harness
GV 014: Murphy's law
GV 015: Spirit of Adventure
GV 016: Holding On
GV 017: First Big Storm
GV 018: Storm Intensified
GV 019: Rolling Violently
GV 020: Mizzen Sleeping Bag'sl
GV 021: Freeing the Propeller
GV 022: Visits by Birds
GV 023: Crossing the Doldrums
GV 024: Nearing First Landfall
GV 025: Land Ho
GV 026: Fatu Hiva
GV 027: Trek Inland
GV 028: Anchor Watch
GV 029: Passage
GV 030: Hiva Oa
> GV 031: Skin Diving Circus
GV 032: Almost Like a Jungle
GV 033: Polaris Missile
GV 034: Taiohaie Bay
GV 035: Cascade Hakaui
GV 036: Taipi Bay
GV 037: Cyclone Lisa
GV 038: Cyclone Nano
GV 039: Passage of Patience
GV 040: Tuamotu Archipelago
GV 041: Tahiti
GV 042: Cyclone Reva
GV 043: Secret Sharer
GV 044: Moorea
GV 045: Cyclone Veena
GV 046: Aftermath
GV 047: Good Weather in Papeete
GV 048: Huahine
GV 049: Raiatea
GV 050: BoraBora
GV 051: Rarotonga
GV 052: Tonga
GV 053: Fresh Air
GV 054: Tongan Feast
GV 055: Excursion to Maninita
GV 056: Mariner's Cave
GV 057: Fiji
GV 058: Ndravuni Island
GV 059: Mara Island
GV 060: Aneityum
GV 061: Noumea
GV 062: St Elmo's fire
GV 063: Breakwater Reef
GV 064: Bundaberg
GV 065: Life on the Burnett River
GV 066: Engine Sabotage
GV 067: Flying
GV 068: Aground in Round Hill Creek
GV 069: Gladstone Confinement
GV 070: Tropical Queensland
GV 071: Trip into Townsville
GV 072: Cairns Sojourn
GV 073: Cramped Cooktown
GV 074: Lizard Island
GV 075: The San Michelle
GV 076: Lost Mummy Cave
GV 077: Land's End
GV 078: Darwin
GV 079: Christmas Is
GV 080: Passage
GV 081: Cocos Keeling
GV 082: Crossing the Indian Ocean
GV 083: Rodriguez
GV 084: Mauritius
GV 085: Reunion Cirque de Mafate
GV 086: Reunion Cirque de Salazie
GV 087: Passage to Africa
GV 088: Kruger National Park
GV 089: Richards Bay
GV 090: Durban
GV 091: Port Elizabeth
GV 092: Cape Town
GV 093: Storm Passage
GV 094: St Helena
GV 095: Passage to Brazil
GV 096: Fortaleza
GV 097: Passage to Caribbean
GV 098: Bonaire
GV 099: Passage to Panama
GV 100: Panama
GV 101: Panama Canal
GV 102: Medidor
GV 103: Costa Rica
GV 104: Passage to Acapulco
GV 105: Acapulco to Cabo
GV 106: Baja
GV 107: Home Port
GV 108: In Retrospect
GV 109: Next Time
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