Eight years past, Kim introduced me to sailing, an unforgettable odyssey to the Bay of Islands, Across the azure waters of the Pacific Ocean along the world’s second most mesmerizing coastline as voted by the discerning readers of National Geographic, we found ourselves amidst a majestic pod of orcas, their graceful forms slicing through the waves with unparalleled elegance. It was a moment of sheer elation, my inaugural encounter with these magnificent creatures in their untamed domain, leaving an indelible imprint upon my soul.

Venturing further into the heart of the bay, we traversed a narrow, shallow passage, which led us to an enchanting discovery – a secluded shoreline adorned not with mundane sand or pebbles, but with a profusion of exquisite shells, a testament to the unspoiled beauty of this treasure island. Ascending the verdant hillside, we were greeted by a panorama of the island archipelago, a vista so breath taking it seemed as though we had stumbled upon our own private Eden.

Yet, the passage of time brought unforeseen challenges to our idyllic sanctuary. Once a tranquil haven, our little known island on the outskirts of the archipelago unfrequented by other vessels, we now find ourselves surrounded.  It appears that some of the popular anchorages have been closed off limits due to the invasive algae caulerpa taxifolia, that had found its way to this archipelago.  Unwittingly introduced by careless sailors and spread by the anchors of their vessels. Multiplying rapidly, forming large underwater fields, it competes with other species for space, displaces native vegetation and upset the balance of local ecosystems. All because careless boaties cannot be bothered to remove algae from their raised anchors.  As a consequence, previously popular anchorages are now stand off-limits to prevent the spread. Our beautiful fragile ecosystems is now imperilled by the unchecked proliferation of this invasive species. 

Yet, amidst the encroaching tide of change, one thing remains immutable – the timeless beauty of our island archipelagos and bays, their allure undiminished by the passage of time. Though our sanctuary may have been tarnished by human folly, the memory of my first voyage and the awe-inspiring vistas and experiences will forever endure in my mind of the delicate splendour of the natural world. 

Today, our once-pristine paradise stands as a poignant reminder of the fragility of nature in the face of human negligence. Let our passage through these waters echo with the sentiment: ‘Leave only your wake,’ a mantra embodying our commitment to preserving the untouched majesty of the seascapes we navigate.


On Key

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