The wind was really "hooting" and so we left the "village" side of the lagoon and made our way, very carefully, to the other side. We had to wait until the sun was high enough to see the various coral patches and shallow spots as we made our way across the lagoon (about 7 miles wide) to the other side where we would have better protection from the swells. The islands are low sand/coral islets – not much height for wind protection, but wind we can handle – it's the swells we wanted to escape.
As we got underway, we had to avoid pearl farms and the coral heads. So Barbara positioned herself on the bow railing to get a higher perspective. Michael made some "rat lines" on the side of the boat – these are lines attached to the stays so you can climb them and get a higher view. Barbara will use these for the next watch. Luckily the sun was out and though it was choppy, we did motor our way safely across and found our own little islet to anchor behind. It is what you see in the postcards about the South Pacific. The palm studded, white sandy beached island all to yourselves. Lovely.
Yesterday we did lots of boat projects and then took the afternoon to circum-ambulate our "motu." The walk around was really interesting. The island is covered in coral rock (dead coral chunks) and is not that easy to walk on so we stayed in the shallow water surrounding the island. There were thousands of crabs of various types running around the island. Bright red hermit crabs, some red-eyed crabs, and some "leaping" crabs. They would always manage to startle you. In the water, Michael was doing his typical exploring. That means turning over rocks and sticking his hand in holes. Crazy! An eel sent him jumping at one point. There were lots of various sized eels throughout the rocks – mostly the snowflake or zebra morays, we think. Fun to watch. A few tropicals were close to shore as well. But they would move very quickly out of the way. We collected some very pretty shells – making sure there was nothing living inside (or so we thought.) After we got back to the boat and put the shells out – it seemed almost all of them did indeed have a little crab inside. So unfortunately, back they went. One shell that we were certain was empty (and so got washed in fresh water and set out to dry on the counter – decided to move after about an hour and crawl across the counter. Amazing he survived his soapy bath! But he did and so back he went as well. The shell collection started at 12 shells and ended with five.
We enjoyed the company that night of the folks from "S/V Buena Vista" who dinghied quite a way for sundowners. They have their own little motu nearby – but far enough that we all have our privacy.
This is really a lovely place. Today, we'll get in the water for some hull cleaning and Michael will replace the zinc on the prop. Tomorrow, the wind should be down enough that we'll try to dinghy our way to the Kon-Tiki landing sight and memorial (it's a few miles away). We'll probably take another walk and tide pool again today as well.