Sunday, June 12, 2016

Yangelo - Bird Heaven

Yangelo (also called Yangefo in some places) was our next stop after Minyafuni. We were originally going to skip it, because of anchoring depth issues, but our friends Jules and Mike from Sirius said it was a "must do", and we would find plenty of room for 3 boats.

When we got here, we found 80-90 ft depths (as expected) and plenty of room to put 3 boats, in the light air conditions we have this time of year. Evia Blue anchored a little bit outside the normal cove, and tied stern-to a mangrove tree. John on Sapphire is in the middle, and after looking all over, we ended way far in on the west end. We found a 75 ft "hump" very close to the ringing coral reef and mangroves, dropped our 100-lb anchor, and backed like hell to make sure it was set. Dave put out 3:1 scope, but Sapphire and Evia Blue said they were on more like 1.5-2:1 scope. With max winds of about 10 knots, this seems to be sufficient.

The north entry channel into Yangelo is a world-class dive and snorkel spot called Citrus Ridge. So as soon as we got the boats settled on their anchors, we jumped in the dinghies and went out to explore Citrus Ridge. More superlatives... fish of all shapes and sizes, hard coral, soft coral, sea fans, etc etc, and a ripping current. So we put in up-current, where the current is still mild and manageable, and with dinghy painter in hand, drifted in around the corner. Where the current is strongest, it's difficult to enjoy snorkeling, because you are flying past all the sea life. But we found a giant eddy towards the mouth of the cut, that let you enjoy snorkeling, and even move back up-current to do the fast part again. We snorkeled both sides of the cut before we got tired and headed for Happy Hour.

The next day, Jan, Dave and I went out to dive the same area. This time, we put a dinghy at each end, so we wouldn't be having to manage a dinghy on a line while diving in the current. It was another great dive with lots to see. My "reef hook" from Palau came in handy. A reef hook allows you to hook in to a spot of dead coral and hold on in current, without doing as much damage to the reef as you would if trying to hold on with hands. And my reef hook has a snap shackle on the end, so I can snap it in to my BC, and be able to "fly" in the current, hands-free. It's a pretty awesome way to relax and enjoy the scenery in a high-current dive.

The part that no one told us about Yangelo is the bird life in the trees--especially at sunrise and sunset. We have enjoyed sitting out on deck with the binoculars trying to spot the birds making noises (and sometimes beautiful song) in the trees. We saw a hornbill yesterday evening, and there are several species of parrots flying around. We're not birders so can't identify most of the birds, but we enjoy watching and listening to them.

We hear one sound in the trees that sounds awfully much like howler monkeys, but really don't think there are monkeys here. It must be a bird, but we have no idea what would make that hoarse growling sound...

Last night, we were trying to decide whether to stay another day, go north around Gam to The Passage, or go south around Gam to the Manta Ray spot (and ultimately end up at Freiwin). Our friends on Sirius called us on the VHF and said "you should come here, to Penemu, and do the Garden dives while you are in the area." Again, our first question around here is always "Is there a spot to anchor?" Sirius assured us there was space for 2-3 boats. So that's our plan for tomorrow. Sirius suggested we should do it as a day trip
At 6/10/2016 12:31 AM (utc) our position was 00°30.72'S 130°27.23'E

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