(Atoll East Side, Raroia, Tuamotus, French Polynesia)
Last night during an amazing pizza dinner on board Wairua, Gregory and Andy hatched a scheme to go Coconut Crab hunting at first light this morning. So as the sun peaked over the horizon the guys geared up in their best versions of “Patch” clothing and disappeared to some far off motus.
Upon their return, their ear-to-ear smiles could only mean one thing. The dream was finally realized. They had came, they had saw, they had conquered! Coconut Crabs were in possession! The nine creepy, crawly, and shockingly blue crabs they had captured didn’t come without effort though. To apprehend a Coconut Crab first they had to scope out a mound of discarded palm leaves and brush. It was under these jumbled heaps that the crab made its home. After scoping out a promising pile they dug in with their gloved and sleeved arms to completely upturn the abode. Then as the pissed-off homeowners scattered to safety the boys went in for the trepidatious grab.
With the Coconut Crabs all segregated and stored on board Oceanna – they’re a rowdy bunch, not so nice to their close neighbours – we loaded up all the dinghies and made for Kon-Tiki island. We found the monument erected in commemoration of Thor Heyerdahl’s epic voyage across the South Pacific Ocean. It was near this motu, on the outer reef of Raroia, where his raft grounded ending his historic adventure.
In recognition of this notable place we had popcorn Joana-styles and took the long way home stopping to bird on some uninhabited motus. Yes I said bird, as in birding, as in looking at and admiring birds. Not something I, a known bird-phobic ever had on my list of things to do, though Shawnecee’s passion for the soaring species was hard not to catch. We saw countless fairy terns nesting, a very rare sight says my birding master.
Once back at the anchorage we wasted no time gathering the big fire-pot and a couple of cans of beans to go along with our cooler of Coconut Crabs. We spent the rest of the evening swapping bonfire stories and dissecting the tasty crab legs. An impressive day and night severely scarred by a heart-stopping event involving our girl Marie.
Anyone must know that our dinghy Marie is an immensely important factor to our day to day lives here on board Oceanna. She’s our family car, our ceaseless workhorse, our chariot to adventure, and all around token of wild freedom. So when in the blackness of night Gregory realized Marie wasn’t tied up on shore where he left her our world stopped. We quickly commandeered Justin’s porta-boat and buzzed over to Chris and Jess’s boat to see if we could borrow their dinghy for the search. With 2 hp of engine the trip over seemed like a lifetime. It was unthinkable to imagine what we were going to do if we couldn’t find her, and the moonless night made our hopes that much more grave as we looked out into nothing. Once at Silent Sun Gregory and Chris took off in his dinghy and Jess and I watched as their tiny headlight beams frantically scanned the water.
I was just beginning to hatch some if-they-don’t-return-by-this-time plans when the unmistakable roar of the Yamaha cried through the night. It was utterly unbelievable, but they had found her almost immediately. We had Marie back and we had great friends to thank. Not to mention I think we’d used up our annual allotment of luck in one 30 minute crisis.