Suvarov – 2nd week

September 1st

We are still in Suvarov. It has continued to be a very fun
place with shared dinners on the beach just about every night. A
couple of days ago Jim from “Special Blend” left and we all
thought that would be the end of our big fish dinners. A few
hours after he left however, another boat, “Southern Cross”,
pulled in and before long everyone in the anchorage had heard
that they had caught a 120 pound marlin. The boat belongs to
Cedric, a New Zealander with 2 little girls named Hannah and
Page. Cedric has 3 friends on board with him who are all avid
fishermen. They had caught the fish the day before arriving in
Suvarov and after catching the monster and pulling him up to the
rail, one of them realized that the hook had fallen out and
instead of letting the fish get away the guy tackled the fish
and wrestled him to the deck of the boat. He (the guy, not the
fish) had a nice big wound on his leg as a result. They kept as
much of the fish as they could in their fridge, but
unfortunately had to toss a great deal into the ocean as they
had no room to store it. In any event they brought enough fish
to the barbeque that night to feed the entire group of sailers –
which must have been at least 30 people.

John, the caretaker of the island, is very nice to the sailers
here and always arranges small expeditions to the tiny islands
that are part of this atoll. Yesterday a bunch of us went with
him in our dinghies out to a small island on the other side of
the pass into the lagoon. It is a bird sanctuary and there were
thousands of birds of all different kinds. Many of them were
nesting and we saw lots of eggs and lots of tiny baby birds as
well as the adults. The appearance of humans on the island
throws them all into an uproar which was quite a sight to
behold. We all tried to be very careful about not disturbing
their natural habitat, but just the sight of us got them all up
into the air crying out and swooping over us. On the way back
Mark and I thought we would try some fishing again, and before
long Mark had caught a very large grouper. It was very exciting
to catch him and we brought him back to shore to clean. You are
not allowed to clean fish from your boat here as the fish
entrails attract sharks and none of us want them around the
boats. If you bring your fish to shore John and his sons will
help you clean the fish and then they toss the remains into
water at the far side of the island. John’s 11 year old son
Jeremiah helped us gut and fillet our fish. Just when we
finished up with our fish his dad and mom returned from their
own little fishing expedition. They had 5 or 6 fish with them,
including one very large grouper, and announced that they would
be served that evening at the beach barbecue. That night on
the beach there was another musical festival as well as the
potluck dinner. Singers, guitarists, drummers, and the harpist
all performed. Our friend Alexa sang some beautiful songs that
her husband Peter had written and she also sang an amazing
yodeling song – not silly or loud – but a very sweet, plaintif
type of song – really beautiful.

We had planned to get ready to leave here by tomorrow, but the
weather report for the next few days forecasts very light winds,
so we are going to hang around here a few days longer. We
decided to join another small expedition of dinghies today going
to another area within the lagoon with good snorkeling. It was
nice – lots of parrot fish and beautiful coral. Some of the
group took a walk along the fringing reef between two islands –
you can only do the walk when it is low tide. It seemed too far
and too hot so Mark and I returned to the boat. Almost landed
another grouper, but not quite.