All the Colors of the Rainbow

16 Sep

There is not much I resent more than a sunburn.  It is a self-inflicted injury of the stupidest sort.  We all had a decent tan going for our first two years aboard, but, when we sailed to New Zealand, our skin returned to its regular pasty hue.  So we had to start all over again when we came north again.

Which was fine, but a couple of days ago, as we were finishing breakfast, our neighbors came by and invited us for a morning coffee.  We all hopped in the dinghy and went.  But it meant we didn’t finish our morning routine, ie. applying sunscreen.  And I ended up stuck in the sun in their cockpit for three hours.  And I burnt.

So when we went to the beach on Ilot Canard yesterday, I was rocking a stylish combination of a bikini plus a t-shirt wound around my neck from my collarbone to my chin.  (Thankfully, the girls are still young enough not to care that their mother looks ridiculous.  Or maybe they are just so used to that they don’t bother to fight the battle.)  If I can just keep this burn covered for a couple more days, it will fade enough for safety.  If not, it will worsen catastrophically and I’ll look like someone attacked me with red lipstick.

The little island was wall-to-wall people.  Ilot Canard is a short water taxi ride from Noumea, and so it is a popular spot for a Sunday afternoon.  As we approached, we saw a series of numbered buoys around the island; a sign ashore announced it was a snorkelling tour of the reef.  I made a face to myself.  With that much human traffic on and around the island, there was no way this reef was going to have anything but some sad lobate coral and a handful of hardy fish.  But I went out anyway.  And I was pleasantly surprised.

I won’t claim it was the healthiest reef I’ve ever seen, but it is a long way from the destruction we saw in the Caribbean.  Indy and I had a leisurely swim between the buoys, stopping here and there to float, and watch, and enjoy.

When we got back to shore, I peeled off my wetsuit (I’m always cold).  “Oh, Mom,” said Stylish, “you got burnt.”

I twisted around and looked at the back of my shoulders.  Sure enough, a new burn.

Does anyone have a turtleneck t-shirt I can borrow?

Covered up (for now.)


  1. Behan

    That looks like a free swimming crinoid two photos up – very cool! When we were in New Cal, I had low expectations, and was surprised at how pretty the reef was- despite the traffic as you say. We found the preserve that’s near Ilot Maitre to be really nice- especially once you get a little farther out. There’s a spot near the buoy that marks the end of the marine preserve at the south end that was like a cloverleaf on the turtle highway- I’ve never seen so many turtles, or such big ones. Thanks for sharing!

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