Carelbi in Suworrow

Sat 9 Sep 2006 22:57


                                    CARELBI IN SUWARROW





A limited amount of spear fishing is allowed for food purposes and Chris and Anders are returning here with a catch of three beautiful parrot fishes. They are are lovely eating with a tasty firm flesh and really do not need more than a little butter in the cooking pan. There are large numbers of sharks in Suworrow who are unusually aggressive, so spear fishing is very much a team effort, with one person following the fisher with the dinghy to haul them out as soon as a fish is caught; the blood in the water sends the sharks into a frenzy and they arrive faster than you can imagine.




The motu was really beautiful and we wandered around for an hour or more...


On the way from the bird motu to another deserted little island we crossed paths with a small pod of turtles and managed to slip into the water with them for a few minutes before they vanished - they are such graceful animals in the water. (Apologies for the quality of the photo).



Sometimes a small bird is left homeless and one can be seen here waiting anxiously for its lunch of raw fish to be prepared...


Carelbi is the yacht on the left, seen from the anchorage beach, idyllic isn't it!

Suwarrow is quite a large atoll in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and is attached to the Cook Islands and guarded for about six months of each year. For the past few years thecustodian has been a Cook Islander called John, with his wife and family of four boys. The atoll with its huge colonies of boobies and pods of turtles is a protected Nature Reserve and John is there specifically to help the cruising yachts who come through the Pacific each year visit the birds and find the best diving and snorkelling areas without damaging the environment.




On our third day John took us and a couple of other yachts to see the main bird motu. Most of the Pacific islands we have visited have had startlingly little in the way of bird life and it was wonderful to see all these parent birds flying to and from their nestlings, who are waiting for food....


Even babies as large as this one in the tree...


It was incredibly hot and I borrowed a practice from the women of Africa and used a large umbrella as protection from the sun...


A New Zealander called Tom Neale made Suwarrow his home from 1952, living as a hermit until his death in 1978. He was much loved by all the cruisers who visited the atoll at the time and this stone was carved as a memorial to him, although John cannot tell us who was the sculptor.


This is John's family house, and scene of many good feasts. Several times a week John and whoever wants to help will go fishing; the ensuing catch is cooked up in many differing and delicious ways, supplemented by whatever the cruisers can make from their dwindling stores.


Farewell from a couple of John's sons as we left this lovely little atoll to head off to Western Samoa and its capital, Apia.