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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Fakarava 2nd anchorage

At Noon on Friday we carefully motored Nakia over to the west side of the south pass to anchor in the shallow water (10-15') off an area of white sandy beaches where the pensions bring their guests by small boat for day trips.


We brought Mike and Sue of Infini along with us so they could keep a navigation track on their hand held GPS in case they decide to move here later. We towed their dinghy and when our anchor was set we all piled in for a ride to explore the closest motu. The water shallowed up to where we had to anchor the dinghy and walk the rest of the way through ankle deep water to the beach. Evidently there is no market for the small black sea cucumbers which littered the sandy bottom. We didn't find too many unoccupied shells but John followed the tell tale signs in the sand to unearth two pretty white and orange miters which our shell book says are Episcopal miters. He carefully reburied them and I'll have to remember to bring my camera next time.

This morning we were off the boat before 10 AM to try a reef walk on an incoming tide. The theory was that we'd be able to bring the dinghy in closer to shore and have a shorter walk out to the reef but the result was that we were wading in ankle deep water on the reef. This made it next to impossible to see the shells deposited in the nooks and crannies of the reef and we came up empty handed. We had thought to bring our snorkel gear with us so, after a walk around another small motu, we got in the water to do a shallow drift snorkel back towards Nakia. This was very nice for shelling, though I had to put several pretty ones back when hermit crabs tickled my hand holding the shells. We finally made a positive ID on the money cowrie when we found a few with the distinctive yellow ring. And John pointed out a live one tucked in a hole with some of the animal's mantle peeking out over four corners of the shell, which was very exciting to see. He was also the first to spot a two foot lemon shark lying motionless in a hole under a small rock. It's tail stuck out one end and we had to go around to the other side to make out its head. It never budged the whole time we explored the area.

We were in the water so long that I was getting a headache from wearing my mask, and John said my lips were blue. But John noticed some black clouds potentially headed our way and we decided to wrap it up and get back to the boat. By this time it was almost 2 PM! We ate lunch, and John's taking a nap as I write this. We will most likely spend one more day here before moving on somewhere else.