Saturday morning in Hirifa, winds are light

Yesterday was a good, relaxing day – no squalls, nice sunshine, I went for a walk around the Motu point on foot, and then took the dinghy around and explored the reef. If you’re careful you can thread your way well across the sand bars and get right up to the hard coral reef where the ocean waves are breaking on the other side. There are occasional large mounds of broken coral rubble piled up, those must have been large waves to move that much material around. Came across another dark black ray, he was swimming along slowly in a couple of feet of water – and he didn’t like the outboard motor at all and zipped off.

On shore at Liza’s place is a pig stye with two really huge pigs each with their own place. I didn’t see them at first as outside the stye was a third really huge male pig surrounded by 8 little piglets, and the little pigs were trotting around like puppy dogs exploring everything. The big male wasn’t too sure about my presence, the little piglets had no problem with me provided I didn’t move – they were far too interested in what was in and under every piece of vegetation and were having fun running around palm branches and looking under bushes.

Along the sandy bank very close to the water’s edge were a number of small solitary black tip reef sharks, they were all moving slowly and looking just like miniature sharks.

At the abandoned house I doublechecked the year over the door which states ‘1879’, so not quite as old as I thought it was. Still, that’s a 138 years to be standing there – I wonder how often the atoll sees huge waves that really crash into the place? Probably not very often, given the great height of the palm trees on the motu. And there must not be termites here as the wood over the doors and windows is still well-preserved.

This morning the wind has dropped way off, the High is ridging out towards the Tuamotus and that shuts the wind down. I feel a little sorry for S/V Emerald Sea – they’ve been sailing towards Hawaii from Tahiti and should be arriving tonight; just in time for TS Eugene to appear and the forecast has it turning into Hurricane Eugene headed out across the Pacific north of the equator. No idea if it will make it as far as Hawaii, but it’s no fun to be chased by a hurricane. There’s a reason the boats are down south and not up north this time of year – June to November is hurricane season up north.

With the lighter breeze here in SE Fakarava the wind chop has gone way down, making this the kind of day that it’s fun to zoom around in the dinghy. I’m going to go explore the motu with palm trees and plants and things that is mid-way between Hirifa and the South pass. It’s about 2-1/2 miles away, and I suspect nobody lives there, at least there are no structures apparent on the satellite image. I’m also going to take my saw and see about cutting some coconuts in half and leaving them about at Liza’s place this afternon – maybe I will get to see a coconut crab. I had a discussion with Pitufa over the radi about how best to find a coconut crab (to photograph) and she pointed out these critters are nocturnal and it works best to set out some fresh coconuts split in half and then return in the evening with a headlamp to see if the crabs are enjoying the coconut meat. Then you can get pictures of them. She said to not eat them, as too many are being eaten and they have become scarce out here.

Time to go launch the dinghy and get moving with the morning!

– rob


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