Friday, 12 September 2014

Lobsters and Sharks, oh my!


Today was such an interesting day that I had to take a minute to write to you, but it is late, so I will keep this short...

The morning was typical of many mornings on Fluenta: Victoria was reading, Benjamin was exploring, I was in the galley (yogurt, granola, biscuit, laundry day), and Max & Johnathan were trying to catch some of the fish on a hand line that are hanging out under our boat (aside - proud mama loves to listen to her 8-year-old talk knowledgeably to his dad about the various bits of fishing tackle, lines, knots, etc). In the midst of this effort, a local family (Rio) came by after their fishing trip to the reef/pass. Amidst more welcoming comments and an invitation to a young man's 21st birthday (Sam) feast on Friday, they left us with a good-sized tuna from the heap of fish in their boat. We have been wishing for tuna for the last few passages, and now we have one! This was just the first delight of the day.

The second was watching what happened after Max had filleted the tuna. He tied the carcass onto a line and dangled it over the side of the boat. Moments later, half a dozen (black tipped reef) sharks were circling, and then they started lunging for the fish. One took the head, and Max cast the body out from the boat again. This frenzy was repeated several times until finally the last shark bit the tail (and the knot) off our line. Victoria, our resident videographer, captured the whole event, and she caught an extraordinary photo of one of the sharks in the air with the end of the fish in its mouth.

Once everyone had calmed down from this close encounter of the shark kind, we had a quick bite of lunch and headed ashore. We were wildly beckoned towards one family's dock, so we sat with them for a while (we met Rio's wife and the "Reverend" again, as well as a number of friends and family). Benjamin was handed off to Rio's wife as soon as we stepped ashore, and he was happily entertained by her and her daughter for most of our visit. The big kids were soon off to see a turtle tied up at the edge of the pier (effectively on a leash into the water). Victoria, who had sworn she was not going swimming here because of the sharks, changed her mind when a couple of the local girls invited her to join them. Johnathan and Max went for a little hike around the village and the motu.

Although only a few boats come to visit here each year, it seems like each makes its mark on the village (eg the pantry shed we sat beside today was built by a cruiser a few years ago). I am curious to know how we will interact over the next couple of weeks. Max was invited to go fishing for lobster tonight, so shortly after sunset, Rio and a few others picked Max up in their boat, and for the next 2 1/2 hours, he scrambled with them over the reef on the outside of the atoll to collect spiny blue lobsters. I will leave it to him to tell you a bit more about his adventures. He came back just before 10pm, then it was my turn to figure out how to cook these creatures in our spaghetti pot. (One at a time, it turns out). Mom & Dad made it look so much easier in Grammie's kitchen in PEI! These lobsters don't have the same big claws as their NS/PEI counterparts, but they sure weren't enthusiastic about going in the pot. Five minutes later, however, they were bright red, much subdued, and reasonably easy to lift out with tongs. Johnathan tried some of the leg meat as a snack, but the rest is in the fridge, and we will see about eating them at noon tomorrow. The third delight ...

Anyway, I will wish you good night or good morning, and send this on its way :)

Love to you all,
At 9/10/2014 3:07 AM (utc) Fluenta's position was 08°57.50'S 157°55.72'W

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