Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Back to Bonfire Beach

16* 26.0' South
145* 21.9' West
Fakarava Atoll, Tuamotus, French Polynesia
June 8, 2010

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Southeast corner anchorage in Fakarava Atoll

We returned to the anchorage where we had initially stopped to escape the wind two days ago. It also makes the trip to the other end of the atoll a little shorter. Our charts are pretty good for this atoll with channels marked both on the chart and with actual markers, but the chartered catamaran who came in here last week taking on water proves that it is still a very good idea to have a watch on the foredeck for coral heads!

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During our two nights back here, we have gotten in more beach time and had yet another bonfire to celebrate yet another birthday. The kids have been playing on a rope swing that hangs from a coconut palm and they (along with Brad) devised a "rope swing" off CAPAZ's cabin top using one of the halyards. 

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We also kayaked up the inside of the motu and found a nice little bay that made for a very short easy walk to the ocean side where there was great shelling. In Mexico, we were introduced to a beautiful family of shells called cowries. The are a fairly precious find in Mexico. As we have traveled, our knowledge of the species has broadened. Not only have found many of the different varieties in various sizes, but we have also come to recognize the different stages of their life cycle. In Anaho, back in the Marquesas, we found big live cowries in some tide pools. They have a membrane called a mantle that extends from their soft body out over their shell and this how they "grow" from the outside. At this point, we found a great explanation of the animal's life cycle in one of Totem's shell books and realized that at their immature stage, they look much like another type of mollusk and only in their mature stage do they achieve their distinctive shape. Anyway, it was really cool to be able to find evidence of the immature stage here. It may very well be that we have been looking a these kinds of shells all along, but only now realize just what we are looking at. Such is the voyage of discovery!

Spoils of Shelling

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1 comment:

Mary said...

Hi PJ and Brad,

Mary Murphy here living vicariously. The underwater pictures look fantastic. Visibility about 100 feet or more? Just wondering if you have decided on your crew yet from Hawaii. Still interested in joining you if possible. Things are going well here. Just picked up a small project performing my old consulting. Got to do the Linda Blair thing and turn my head a 360! It is a good sign. Hope you are doing well.

Mary