With your equipment ready and the vessel's capabilities considered, let's review those visibility factors which aren't under our control.
Foremost is water clarity. In certain lagoons you can see a shackle on the anchor in 60-feet (18-meters) of water, while in others you can't see the bottom in 10-feet (3-meters).
If you're working in coral associated with a high island after a heavy rainfall, beware the runoff from the rain will muddy the water. On occasion it can take several days or more for visibility to improve. Another factor to clarity is man-made activity. Blasting, dredging, or dumping can all have substantial and lasting effects. We learned about this in Maeva Bay just south of Papeete.
20 years later and the water in Maeva Beach is still murky. The chart below gives an outline of the indentation on the right side, with the channel through the coral clearly shown, as is the barrier reef all the way on the left. Depths are in meters. There is actually quite a large area in which you can anchor, free of coral. But you have to eyeball your way in and out.
□ How early can you leave and still be able to see ahead?
□ At what point will the sun go ahead to where you can no longer see forward?
□ Do you expect some wind to texture the water?
□ Are cloud shadows going to be a problem?
□ Is there an intermediate anchorage to fall back on in case the primary anchorage cannot be reached?
We had come down inside the lagoon from Papeete, looking for a quiet anchorage, and the indentation in front of the Maeva Beach Hotel looked like just the spot. However, the construction of a small marina had disturbed the water.
Linda was keeping a lookout from the bow pulpit, and didn't realize that the water was shoaling since its color stayed dark. Then there was a thud; our stern rose abruptly out of the water; and, as you can imagine, there were a few inquiries from the cockpit as to what was going on forward. Subsequently we stayed completely out of anything but clear water if coral was about.
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Lets start by identifying what exactly certain boats are. Sometimes the terminology can get lost on beginners, so well look at some of the most common boats and what theyre called. These boats are exactly what the name implies. They are meant to be used for fishing. Most fishing boats are powered by outboard motors, and many also have a trolling motor mounted on the bow. Bass boats can be made of aluminium or fibreglass.