05 October 2019 | Raroia Atoll, Tuamotus Archipelago, French Polynesia
Wow! Time has both ceased to exist and flown by. We are still in the very remote NE corner of the Raroria Atoll. There is only one other boat here now and, apart from a French boat that stopped for one night, we have seen no-one else. We have settled into a routine of boat chores, snorkelling, swimming or walking, reading, board games and movies. The snorkeling continues to amaze. We have been going for a couple of hours pretty much every day for about six weeks and we cannot recollect an occasion when we did not see something new and interesting. I am looking forward to being able to post more pictures but these little composites are all I can manage for now.
From top left clockwise:
1. An aptly named Shrimp Goby. These gobies consistently share a hole with a particular type of shrimp. The shrimp does all the excavation while the goby acts as lookout. The shrimp is blind and only comes out of the hole while the goby is there. It keeps one feeler on the back of the goby and if the goby moves, rapidly retreats into the hole. Remarkably, there are many different shrimp gobies, each with their particular type of shrimp. How all this gets set up is a mystery. It is indeed a strange world.
2. Talking about strange worlds, this is a juvenile Rock Mover Wrasse. Like many fish it looks nothing like its mature form. It swims like a drifting piece of weed, twisting and turning as it tries to avoid being eaten while it hunts its own prey.
3. We have not seen many nudibranchs yet but this one is a beauty and we should see more as we head west.
4. I was taking a photo of two Convict Tangs in about eighteen inches of water when this Black Tipped Reef Shark photobombed me. They do not normally get that close but it was a pretty confined area and he clearly had places to go. Sharks are ubiquitous here. We treat them like stray dogs, largely ignoring them but remaining cautious. There are four types of sharks we have seen so far. The Black Tips are everywhere but we see the occasional Grey Nurse shark, White Tip Reef Shark and Grey Reef Shark (given a wider berth).
Anyway, the clock is now ticking on our little escape. Our administrative affairs continue to collapse due to lack of Internet access. This morning's fun was our Paypal account being suspended 'please go online to resolve the issue' - business as usual.... We pay a lot of small bills with Paypal so that one is going to be a big mess. Almost every program on every device is now complaining that it cannot call home. It is really scary what a busy life our communication tools are having, normally behind our backs.
There are other reasons for partially rejoining the world. We are running out of fresh food and we need to be further north by the start of the cyclone season in November so it is time to take more interest in the weather forecast and look for a window to head back up to the Marquesas. At this time of year the winds tend to be from the NE (where we are going) so we will look for the least bad window then pay the price for our time in paradise with a tough four or five day upwind sail. Once we are there we should be able to sort out all this administrative chaos and, hopefully, make it all more robust before we head down to the VERY remote Gambier Islands in January as we will be there for several months. We will also be able to post all the fish pics we are accumulating.
That's it for now. This morning's boat chore is to go up the mast and try and sort out our failed masthead light, not my favorite activity but someone has to do it. All part of the fun.....