November 7, 2010 - Minerva Reef

Spent all morning housecleaning, then I had just begun to write in my palm pilot when BB called me to the bow to help put some fenders away. It was a gorgeous day, the water in front of the reef was very blue, and there was a lot of wind, but it was very calm inside the reef. I began to go back down below when he said, "hey, is that a boat coming in?" I got the binocs to look, but didn't see any boat. I looked around at the other boats in the anchorage thru the binocs, just to see who's here, when BB said, "hey, what's that in the water?" There was something floating behind the boat. I looked at it thru the binocs, & it was a bottle -- it looked like a bottle with a message in it! I first said that it might be one of ours that has followed us here, then I thought maybe another boat had thrown it in, but we're upwind of everyone.... Hm. I thought no further about it as BB retrieved it in Plover, then we brought it inside & tried to figure out how to get the message out without ripping the paper. The paper had been burned to make it look old - I was impressed with this idea & said so.... I worked the paper out with a sharp tool, & when I unrolled it, before I even digested what it said, I noticed that it had been written in sparkly colored pens, which meant BB had probably written it – now that’s curious, I thought… then, almost simultaneously I noticed what it said: WYMM?

I hugged him tightly & told him "yes." I'm so happy he asked me, & did it in such a clever way. Part of what makes me love him is just that sort of inventiveness.

For his part, he's been planning this for a while; hiding the bottle so I wouldn't recognize it, making the message while I’m sleeping during the passage, which is the only time I wouldn't see him doing it, then finding a time to throw it overboard & make me notice it – which was the hardest task of all! And it's so cool that he did it here at Minerva Reef, which is so much of the middle of nowhere!

I'm very happy to be engaged. It's a surprising feeling of comfort & acceptance to be so cherished by another human being that he is willing to take a vow to stay with me despite my quirks & foibles.

We decided to have an engagement party tomorrow & went right over to Qayaq to invite them, hoping to keep the reason for the party under wraps, but we couldn't stand it - we told them the news. They were as excited as we were, & told us that if we wanted to get married right here, that Guy & Karen on Szel could do it - they're licensed captains & just married a couple from Corinthia in Suwarrow. Hmmm. Something to think about....

We made plans to dinghy over to the reef with Betsy & Richard in Plover at 2pm when the tide would be low - we were anxious to walk on the reef as we'd seen people doing yesterday. I don't feel bad about walking on this reef since this one will clearly never produce any coral. It's too exposed.

It was really cool approaching the edge of the reef with the waterfall of ocean coming into the lagoon. In all the atolls we’ve visited, we've never seen that before. Walking across the reef to the breakers, we noticed little shells & worms along the way - this unusual reef has its own unique ecosystem. We all posed for photos, & I even did a couple cartwheels in several inches of water.

The snorkeling at the inside edge where the waterfall carves out a channel was really cool. Lion fish in the caves that undercut the reef, lots of bright little fishes, a big school of snappers, & a black & white nudibranch we haven't seen.

Qayaq invited us to dinner to celebrate. All day I experienced a very comforting feeling of being loved & adored by BB (& also by Betsy & Richard, who are almost as excited as we are & so happy to be able to share this event with us).

By the end of the day, we knew we'd probably be getting married in the next couple of days. I was a bit sad at the thought of such a short engagement since I’m truly enjoying this exhilarating feeling of happiness, but what the heck, why not just do it? This would be such an awesome place to get married!

says ADR

During the engagement party, BB (reflected in my sunglasses) tells the story of how we met.