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Friday, June 6, 2014

Toau, Tuamotus, French Polynesia Day 38 – 41

This is not a hip-hopping joint... this is a relaxing, tranquil paradise. Except for boat chores, of which we have many.

I have had to do some sewing since arriving – our French courtesy flag was ripped to snot. I fixed that. And some of the zippers that connect the panels to form a cockpit enclosure were ruined or failing – so I repaired all of those and greased them up with Vaseline so they won't dry out too bad and get chalky and break teeth. Now when it rains (which is almost every day) we will be protected completely.

Carolyne and Jim swam around the boat this afternoon and saw sharks. Carolyne got a little nervous when one swam up fast from the bottom to see what she was... it was fairly large, but a black tipped reef shark and they are not usually aggressive. I asked her what she was doing and she told me she was feeding leftover rice to the fish. I asked her to please not feed the fish WHILE swimming – although it is so cool! Jim's shark experience was while he was diving the mooring ball we are attached to – he got down to the bottom and when he realized there were several 6'+ sharks lurking nearby he decided he was done swimming.

The Remora's are our favorites to feed. They are "hitch hikers" or "shark suckers"... they have a bizarre disc on the tops of the head that allow them to clamp onto a host (in our case they are on the boat hull.) When a fish, a shark for example, bites into a fish, the Remora zips down at great speed and eats up the little bits and pieces. Then, she zooms back and clamps onto the predator fish where she is safe and undetected.

We took the dinghy out to the coral reef and snorkeled one sunny, bright morning. Wow! The fish are amazing – varieties I have never seen before. Very colorful.
Longnose Butterfly
Moorish Idol
Azure and Bluechin Parrotfish

The clams are amazing – thick lipped blue, brown and purple. Carolyne and I spotted a blistering red octopus. The colors are brilliant and coral is dazzling – purple, blue and pink hued. I am kicking myself for not getting a better identification reference for all the plant and animal life we are experiencing.

A new boat came in and tied up in front of us. They landed a large Dorado just outside the entrance and were fileting the fish on their transom – the blood was dripping into the water. They began laughing and pointing and then we saw the fins cutting through the waterline. The young guy held onto a side of Dorado skin and the shark stuck his head out of the water, and like a dog, wrestled the skin into his mouth and shook vigorously. Although it was very cool to watch, I wish they wouldn't feed them so close to our boat.

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