Tuesday, June 10, 2014

In Search of the Sunken Plane

We swam. And swam. And swam. On our Sunday adventure off of Oyster Island, we did see lots of Picasso Triggerfish, Yellow-spotted Box fish and even a large octopus. But we never found the plane. There is a plane off a beach called "Plane Wreck Beach" (clever eh?) but we could never find it. We believe it is an old World War II plane (though that is yet to be confirmed). It was a good excuse for a good swim and snorkel. The visibility wasn't terrific and the corals were a bit algae-covered, but we did see some interesting structure and some colorful fish.

We made a trip into town on Monday – in the back of pick-up trucks with lots of ni-Vans (native Vanuatuans). We had to pick up the back-up repaired raw water pump. While in town we also picked up more delicious citrus (it is the season for tangerines and oranges), some avocados for us and a neighboring Dutch boat, some root vegetable/starch (manioc), and some freshly roasted peanuts. They grow peanuts here and the market is filled with peanuts that are raw, sun-dried or cooked. We also saw a new sight – flying foxes for sale. The dead bats were quite smelly and sold for 300 to 400 Vatu per bat – depending on size. That was a new sight! We chose not to try them! We had a tasty lunch at "mama's" near the veggie market (not bat) for 300 Vatu each (that's just over $3 US).
We caught another pick-up on the way back and met a very nice woman in the back of the truck. She lived and farmed on the island growing plants and flowers and spoke very good English. She made the driver pull off the road, down a street and stopped at another small veggie stand and bought us some fresh corn-on-the cob. She said, "it is tradition when you meet someone new to give them a gift. The corn is my gift to you." Now, we have to figure out something we can easily carry to also "gift" folks!

Michael has solved another of our marine mysteries. Our battery monitor was acting up reading that we were using lots more power than we thought. Ben, on the neighboring Dutch boat, "Gaia" is an electonics' guy and he had a monitor to sell. But Michael first wanted to make sure it wasn't the wiring – so he borrowed a long "twisted pair" from Ben and tested the monitor. Sure enough it is the twisted pair – and not the monitor. So we'll replace the wire for $15 instead of buying the new monitor for $250! Yippee! Ben will be disappointed though.

We are still looking for a confirmed sighting of a dugong. Thanks to Kathryn, we have a better understanding of this animal. "They are related to manatees (both are in the order Sirenia) but are a different family, genus, and species and their mouth is a bit different. Also, they are pretty old, related most closely to aardvarks and elephants of today,not extant marine mammals... And they are essentially seagrass vacuum cleaners." We keep looking – especially in the early morning when we understand they are most active.

We have the location of a few good snorkel spots – so we'll head on and explore more sealife as it is quite calm here over the next few days.

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