_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Marcy home Walvis Bay Angling Club club AFASyn Ushuaia Marcy and crew

Monday, May 21, 2007

Makemo Atoll, May 21

Writing an update of our time at the lagoon of Makemo Atoll seems like writing an update on watching the grass grow.
It took us over 4 hours to sail the 15 miles to our current anchorage on the NW side of Makemo. We're anchored off a sandy beach, protected by an uncharted reef that extends 1/4 mile into the lagoon. There are no wind waves here and it's been a nice quiet anchorage. We've spent time cleaning up the boat and getting things organized below. Peter got a project done on the cockpit deck adding a no skid surface so we won't slip when it's wet. We've had all kinds of weather here, sunny and calm,
windy, cloudy with several impressive rain squalls. We've explored the ocean side beach including finding plastic purge puddles in all the garbage that washes up on the windward beach. Not many people would recognize a purge puddle but since that's a byproduct of injection molding we recognized them immediately after all those years of Peter working at VIP.
The snorkeling has been good. Peter speared a fine fish that fed us for a couple of dinners and we've seen some new reef fish here too. There are small black tipped reef sharks in the lagoon that are about 3 feet long. We're getting used to seeing them when we're out swimming now. The scariest fish here are the sharksuckers and remoras. They're very aggressive and they swim right at our faces. We haven't heard of a remora trying to attach itself to a person but we don't want to be the first
to find out they do! We're letting them know they're not welcome to swim with us. There are 3 of them attached to the bottom of our boat right now so even jumping in off Marcy we have to be ready to fend them off.
We did try to find some coconut crabs. They're very popular and slow growing to apparently they're not as abundant as they used to be here. I read in my cookbook that marine hermit crabs are also tasty. The drawing in my cookbook looks quite similar to the photo of the coconut crab so we picked up a couple of hermit crabs and brought them home to try them. Maybe if we were desperate and starving it would have worked out. However, we're not starving, so the hermit crabs, which are apparently
land hermit crabs who like to go to the edge of the water to scavenge, were deemed inedible. Actually, I believe the exclamation was "We just cooked spiders with shells!"
We did go on an expedition to find Varo but there was a lot of current and the wind wasn't perfect for seeing through the surface of the water. With all the current the bait and the catching string flowed around our quarry holes and no varo were ever spotted. We'll definitely try again! There are scallop shells on the bottom but we're not sure how one catches scallops.
So, short of spearing fish and maybe eating an oyster or two, we're not having a lot of luck with the foraging for protein here. We're convinced with a little local coaching we could be eating bouillabaisse every night but there are no locals where we're anchored right now.
Peter has another load of laundry drying on the life lines and the bread is cooling on top of the stove so we've had another successful day here at the lagoon.
We're planning to stay another couple of days and then move on to Tahanea Atoll.



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