Friday, September 16, 2011

From the Captain...

I moved away from "town" and I'm currently tucked behind a small (300m) island all by myself.  When I arrived there was a Vega in the anchorage (same couple as in Raitrea) but they hauled up and left before I finished my swim and said hello.  The water here is reasonably clear but not nearly as clear as Nuie.  Saw a couple of whales on the way over from last nights spot.

I spent a couple of hours snorkelling around the boat.  The coral here is really different than elsewhere.  There are these "mushrooms" - a stock perhaps 300 to 400 mm high on which visulaize a dinner plate made by a somewhat drunk or made potter, upside down of coral the plate perhaps a meter or so in diameter and at most 75 mm thick near the stock and generlly about half that.  It is of course distorted in shape, with cracks and colored with bright purple or light blue, some are yellow or orange or white.

Tropical fish swim around and feed on the coral and underneath you find the bigger fish hiding.  Saw some flute fish, about 500  mm long and 30 to 50 mm through the body - they have long snouts - I first took them to be gars- and fine fins and tails along their bodies.  Almost like eels - and they change color.  I saw a bright yellow one over some coral and thought "gee, haven't seen one that color before' - and swam along and saw some light grey ones - over sand.  Then the light grey ones moved over some dark green/brown and they immediatly seemed to be in camo - then one was over the light colored coral and 'pouff" it was bright yellow.  It's really quite amazing.

Saw one of the little sea snakes - apparently these are very venomous but their teeth are set so far back as to be essentially harmless - just don't touch. They're small, perhaps 400 mm long, very thin and stripped - black white - very distinctive.   Other shapes and types of coral - lots of spiney / stag horn types. Some is so dense it looks like miseltoe twigs or birdsnests you see in fir trees.  Other is quite large and open in structure.

The islands are all uplifted coral atolls, so everything is rock and limestone.  Some interesting caves to swim into - I haven't because you need a boat keeper since it's deep water then vertical island - but the most famous are Swallows and Mariners Caves.  Basically limestone karst type formations at the water edge.

Haven't had much contact with the locals.  Third world conditions but they seem friendly if a bit standoffish.  Religion is taken very seriously, and modesty is important.  The locals even swim fully dressed, and there is no swimming, working or playing on Sundays (yachties / tourists may, discreetly and out of sight indulge!)  They don't allow aircraft to fly on Sunday.

Never did hear if the camera case showed up - hope so, just wish I had it here.  Anyway, take care.

Love Dad
At 15/09/2011 3:26 AM (utc) our position was 18°41.20'S 174°01.39'W