Arnavon Islands 2
2015-07-23 The old toes are playing up again this morning so I stay on board while Shan and Lars go off with the rangers to search for Hawksbill Turtle nests.
The trek takes them through the mangroves, across the nearly dry lagoon (The tides is still going out), through the mangroves on the far side and onto the beach. Half of the beach was washed away in the recent, unseasonal Cyclone which occurred the day we arrived in Cairns and destroyed around 50 nests. Fortunately, the good news is they are coming back and there are some 20 nests remaining, both new and old.
They were lucky enough to come across turtle track and find a new nest. The Ranger marks it with a stripped off palm frond into which he carves the date with his knife, this will be replaced with a more permanent plastic signpost in due course.
The eggs take about 50 to 60 days to hatch. The ranger, Francis, takes them to one that is nearly ready he digs down to check progress and produces a fully formed youngster nearly ready to go, which he then returns.
Time passes quickly for by time the merry band return I’ve hoovered, restocked the booze fridge and got on with some blogging. Coincidently its “Beer o’clock”.
We move the yacht nearer to some small islands with a reef at the entrance to the lagoon to do a little snorkelling. We weave our way between the heads to anchor on a nice sandy bottom in 3.8 metres, with a reef head to the side of us, about 20 metres away and the main reef 40 metres ahead.
The water is crystal clear though it’s quite choppy and the sun has disappeared. Notwithstanding Lars is in in flash, I struggle to get my fins on but can only manager one as the other foot is too swollen but in I go, in danger of swimming in ever decreasing circles as I paddle away.
Shan joins me on a shallow head, the water is crystal clear and the fish life multi coloured and varied. My camera is working overtime capturing the antics of its inhabitants. Shan goes back, it’s too rough for her so I move on to the bigger main reef to catch up with Lars who is nowhere to be seen.
It’s a scene of devastation, as the bottom is strewn with broken Staghorn Coral, evidence of the power of the Cyclone. On a positive note, this provides a brilliant protective habitat for the smaller fish which team in and around it.
After lunch Lars and I have a second visit to the reef. I have an incredible plan, and covering my feet in shower Gel manage to get both fins on! He heads for the stern most while I cross to the main reef again. After an hour we return with some great pictures though Lars gets top marks for one of the Black Tip Sharks that had been following him around
Returning to our original anchorage we wait for the Warden who comes out in their jollyboat to pick up Lars and Shan and take them to see the Megapodes. This involved a somewhat hairy trip out to one of the far islands and through the surf to land.
The birds are very like a Partridge and nest in holes at the base of Casuarina trees. They are also very fast runners and they only manage to catch sight of one of them.
Meanwhile I stay aboard catching up on my Blogging, then it starts to rain and just as I finish closing the hatches the skies empty and two soaked bodies disembark on the stern having caught the deluge.
Luckily it’s happy hour with the amazing, restorative powers of a decent Gin.
Bob the Blog