We had a wonderful time visiting the islands within Budd Reef. The main island is called Yanuca (pronounced “Yanutha”), and is home to a wonderful village close to the anchorage where we parked Tahina. The village is nestled inside a shallow reef on the northeast side of the main island. The son of the village chief is named William, but goes by “Wil”. He is glad to treat visiting yachts to the sights of the islands and his village. We arrived a day after several other boats, and they had already arranged a full-day excursion to the northernmost island in the reef called Cobia (pronounced “Thombia”). Cobia is clearly a volcanic island with a 5/8ths circular crater open on the NE side to the sea which fills up the sea-level interior. Currently, Google Earth shows no details to Budd Reef or any of the islands.
We took two boats over to Cobia – True Companions and Tahina. Crews from several other boats came with us: Boree, Dreamtime, and Geramar. After anchoring us on the west side of Cobia, we took some dinghies over to a beach on the south side of the island. The crater rim is easily reached from the south side, and we were soon treated to a spectacular view of the interior of the crater. The photo below shows this view and you can see all of the hikers as well. Make sure you click the “Play” button and use the mouse or cursor to turn your view around – this is a full surround panoramic photo. Select “Fullscreen” for a much clearer picture.
Later we climbed to the highest part of the rim on the west side. The group shot below was taken at the highest point (click the photo for a bigger view). From left to right are: Jurge/Claudia (s/v Dreamtime), Bert (s/v Boree), Karen/Frank (s/v Tahina), Ingie (s/v Boree), Wil (village of Yanuca), Steve/Vicki (s/v True Companions), Dick/Tricia (s/v Geramar)
After the hike we went snorkeling and spearfishing near the beach. This beach was a beautiful place to cool off after our hot mid-day hike. There’s a nice view of Yanuca in the background, and we could see a nice school of skipjack swimming just outside the reef. After dark, Wil, Bert, and I went along the reef on the west side of the island and caught lobster and speared fish enough to fill two buckets. Wil cleaned the fish and we cooked, as we moved the two boats back to the anchorage, and had a big feast of fresh fish and lobster late in the evening. It was a LONG day!
The next day the village treated us to dancing, kava drinking, music, and a big feast of local foods. It was a really special time. You can see more photos of our visit there (I’ve uploaded several new ones for Budd Reef), as part of the bigger album published the other day. The Yanuca/Cobia shots start at about number 40 in the slideshow: