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.