Saturday, June 16, 2007

Rangiroa - Coconut Crabs

Wrong! This sand crab is not a coconut crab! When we got to Penrhyn we had a real one!
You guessed it! We found 3 coconut crabs walking along the beach that insisted on jumping into a bag. Trinda really wished she had the camera as the first one needed a little help into the bag. His claws and pincers kept getting in his way. We were walking along the beach and noticed all the big holes, maybe 6 to 8 inches across. The first guy was away from his hole. I happened to have the fishing net and slipped it right over him. The second guy was a little faster, he was in the edge of his hole,
so I stuck the crowbar, that I just happened to have in my pocket, ;), in the ground through his hole just ahead of him. It took a few minutes of coaxing, but he also came right out and jumped into the mesh dive bag with his buddy. The third guy really wanted to do something else, but he finally changed his mind. He did refuse the trip in the bag, so I let him ride in the fishing net by himself.

Later, all three were boiling mad as they some how believed that I tricked them. We boiled them whole with a little sea salt to make them feel at home. The coconut butter did NOT float to the top as the water boiled. Maybe these guys had been on a diet. They were very tasty, but not fat-legged as the Dungeness crabs of Seattle are.

Today we motored into the wind, east, toward th opposite end of Rangiroa. There was a church and the ruins of a village abandoned around the turn of the last century. We walked around, took some pictures and Trinda collected more shells. We came across two whole "pencil sea urchins" that had given their all for a drying afternoon. All completely clean and dry, but all the pieces were there. Trinda drilled holes in the spines thinking she may make something of them, a wind chime or something else.

The village area was not a good place to anchor, so we continued on east. about 3:00 we made it to a small island near the end of the atoll. I thought that like the book said, we could anchor in the lee of the island. As we approached, it got shallower and shallower with big patches of coral blooming up. Trinda began reading off the depth as I was readying the anchor. She was quiet for a few minutes the began louder and louder a 13, 10 , 9, 8, 7! 7! 7 I SAID! I was so stunned by the big bumps of
coral almost sticking out of the water I couldn't hardly say what to do. Finally I yelled for full reverse, then very slowly we got out of there. A big circle around and we tried again, a little cooler and a little deeper. We are safely anchored in 35 feet that looks like not much coral.

We plan to snorkel around there tomorrow morning. It should be fun seeing what we came so close to hitting. We were going so slowly that there would not have been anything damaged besides out tempers and pride.

We thought we were alone at this end of the atoll, but two more boats showed up. Each anchored about 3 miles away in opposite directions though.

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