Day 118, Year 2: No Dugongs Today
Date: Monday, August 20, 2007
Weather: Beautiful Day with Lots of Liquid Sunshine
Location: Lamen Bay, Epi Island, Vanuatu

Our day started in search of dugongs, but not a dugong was to be found. We went on a local boat across to Lamen Island and then snorkeled the area in search of the dugongs, but they were just not there today. We went with Paul and Marie on Ranger, Marianne and Andy Dostmann on Tempe Te and their two little boys, Sammy and Simon, and a couple of medical students visiting Vanuatu from Ireland. It was a beautiful day and a great boat trip across even though we didn’t find that elusive creature.
Mark swears that it is the “snipe” of the Pacific. We had time to walk on Lamen Island to pick up shells and watch the bountiful hermit crabs scurrying about. Every time I would reach down to pick up a really pretty little shell, it started to move. The hermit crabs obviously know how to pick beautiful homes. By the time we got back to the mainland, it was time for lunch. We took time to eat and then headed out to the reef just around the southern end of the bay. We had been told by other cruisers
that they saw nudibranches there, but we saw none. But I did see a few fish and other creatures I have never seen before. I saw the outlandish Clown Triggerfish with huge white polka dots on a black stomach and bright yellow lips, beautiful Bluespine and Orangespine Unicornfish, and my “favorite” of the day–a meter-long White Fin Shark. I had decided to leave the group and snorkel down around the point when I saw this little fellow. I know they are probably harmless, but I was reminded of why
it is wise to always snorkel or dive with a buddy. I swam as fast as I could to get back to where Mark, Marie, and Paul were snorkeling. And I think I will remember to stick close by from now on. Snorkeling in this area was okay, but not what we had hoped, so we decided to dinghy across to the north side of the bay and check out that area. It was mostly dead coral, but Mark and I did find the fish nursery. We found little coral in a shallow area with lots of little fish. There were tiny butterflyfish,
tiny Picassofish, and tiny boxfish. It was great fun to see the little version of many of the fish we have seen in the past couple of days.

We had hoped to do one more snorkel late this afternoon in search of more turtles and dugong, but we ran out of time. We had invited Paul and Marie to dinner, and I needed to do a little house cleaning and cooking. We had a nice evening together and will leave VERY early in the morning for Ambryn, known as the Black Island. It is an island of active volcanos, black soil, black sand beaches, and black magic. We will be attending an arts festival on the north side of the island and will get to
see black magic in action. When performed for tourists it is okay, but otherwise it is strictly banned. We expect at least thirty other boats to be attending, so the anchorages on the north side of Ambryn will be quite crowded. But it promises to be a good time.

070820 Day 118 Epi, Vanuatu–Lamen Bay Underwater 2
070820 Day 118 Epi, Vanuatu–Trip to Lamen Island