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Big Picture is Easy to See in Captain Fatty's Atolls

Over the course of the summer, we're sailing with Captain Fatty Goodlander, editor-at-large of Cruising World magazine. He's sailing the Pacific Ocean now and sends a communique from aboard his sailboat, the Wild Card.

The captain says when he's asked about his favorite destinations, he always mentions two atolls in the Pacific that are "completely devoid of humanity" — and land. They used to be islands, but the tops grdaually eroded away and they began to retreat below the surface of the sea.

"Luckily, their fringing, frothing coral reefs grew up faster than their islands sank down. Thus there is a beautiful pristine anchorage with 360 degrees of protection from ocean waves but no land anywhere, except of course straight down 50 or 100 feet or so."

He describes the usually deserted atolls as "utter magic — tranquil, tiny green lakes in the middle of a deep blue sea, completely devoid of people yet teeming with life above and below the surface."

Whales and sharks share the water with he and his wife as they spend a month or so in the atolls, where time seems to stand still and "the big picture is easy to see."

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United States & World Weekend Edition Sunday