Day 209, Year 5: Book Swap in Takamaka Camp
Date: Sunday, May 23, 2010
Weather: Still Beautiful, Still Cloudy Evenings, Still SE Winds 10-15
Location: Ile Fouquet, Salomon Atoll, Chagos

I don’t think you can have a bad day here in Chagos, so I must report another beautiful day. We are anchored here with a really interesting group of boats. There are seven boats now-one French (Kea), one German (Galateia), one out of Dubai with a Brit and a South African aboard (Susan Margaret), one out of Australia with an Aussie and a Brit aboard (Mr. Curley), and three from the USA (Windbird, Constance, and Ventana with a Norwegian crew member aboard). Every person is interesting and together we make a great group. Our book swap in the Takamaka camp was just an excuse for getting together, but we did swap books, eat goodies that everyone brought, and then the nature lovers (me, Sue and John of Susan Margaret, Wolfgang of Galateia, Ed of Constance, and our fearless leader, Kathy of Mr. Curley) took off down a path that follows the shore, just a bit inland. We came to a beautiful little meadow, saw some new (to me) wildflowers, and then went into the area with the well to look for palm fronds that would be just the right size for weaving hats and baskets. We found just the right fronds, sent John up a coconut tree to cut them down, and then carried them back on our heads-one person, one palm frond. I had my bush knife with me and my camera, so carrying a very long palm frond on my head while carrying a bush knife and trying to take photos at the same time was a real trick. It was great fun and I look forward to going back tomorrow to learn how to weave the fronds into hats and baskets.

While in the camp today, a butterfly flew thru and Kathy and I went running into the bush after it. It was the black and white butterfly that Kathy had told me about, the one that the dragonfly that I have a photo of tries to mimic, so I was super excited to get a photo of it. While we were on our palm frond search, I was also able to get a few more photos of blossoms and fruits that have escaped me to date. I could spend at least a year here just identifying plants and fish, but in only nine more days we move on to Madagascar. So I know I will be desperately filling my nine days with forays to shore to get just one more photo.

Ed and Lynne invited us over for sundowners this evening. Somehow it seems like ages since we have been together to catch up on family news and talk about plans for leaving for Madagascar. So it was a great evening of catch-up. We both bemoaned the fact that we have very little fuel left for our dinghies, so we really have to limit our trips. Mark and Ed will go out fishing tomorrow for probably the last time. Mark and I really want to go down to Boddam again to walk the trails, but we might have to move the big boat instead of taking the dinghy.

One last note . . . about food. It has been about two and a half months since we last visited a real supermarket (in India). We did buy limes, a few banana peppers, and eggs in Gan in the Maldives, but I’m not counting that. And even without a freezer, we are still having delicious meals. We have to be inventive, but it works. Tonight we had grilled Yellowfin tuna with a mix of pasta shells, feta cheese (preserved in olive oil), and dried green peas bought in India that you boil and simmer for ten minutes to bring them back to life. It was a gourmet meal.

100523 Day 209 Salomon, Chagos–Takamaka Camp Book Swap and Walk
Day 210, Year 5: Hat Making 101
Day 208, Year 5: Fantastic Drift Snorkel and Camp Clean-up