Day 185, Year 5: Walk Around Takamaka
Date: Thursday, April 29, 2010
Weather: Yet Another Drop-Dead Gorgeous Day
Location: Ile Fouquet, Salomon Atoll, Chagos

From our early morning walk all around Takamaka to an incredible moonrise foreshadowed by palm trees tonight, this has been a beautiful day. Low tide was just after 8 am this morning, so at 7:30 am we headed to Ile Takamaka with Ed and Lynne of Constance. We left the dinghy on the south end of Takamaka and started walking along the south end of the island. The pass between Ile Fouquet and Ile Takamaka was shallow enough to walk, so that we did. Ed stayed closer to shore and then headed to the outer reef, but Mark, Lynne, and I headed up through the pass and then toward the outer reef. The first thing we noticed were the hundreds of Red-footed Boobies and Great Frigatebirds that were flying above us. Then we got totally engrossed in the creatures of the reef. We found strange looking crabs, a turtle, incredible little coral structures, black sponges that we have not seen before, a soft-shelled mollusk, and sea stars of different types. On the east side of the island, we met up with Ed who was coming in from the outer reef further ahead of us and we then decided to keep on going to do a circumnavigation of the island. And we are so glad that we did because the bird population on the north side of the island was absolutely incredible. We saw hundreds of Red-footed Boobies and Great Frigate birds and the highlight of the day was seeing the baby and juvenile boobies. Adult Red-footed Boobies are white with black edging on their wings, having a blue bill and red feet. They are quite striking. The babies, however, are fluffy white with black bills, and the juveniles are a glossy brown with a black bill and pinkish-red feet. We saw all three stages in abundance. We thoroughly enjoyed the birds and the huge old hardwood Takamaka trees on the north side of the island. We could see the wreck of a freighter at the outer edges of the reef and saw another turtle. The views looking toward the north end of the island were spectacular and when we rounded the corner and headed down the west side, we enjoyed looking out over the anchorage and checking out the camps along the way. As soon as we rounded the north tip, we could hear roosters crowing. These are left over from the years when this island was a coconut plantation and workers visited camps here regularly. We stopped by the well and the camp which are the remnants from the days when this was a working copra plantation. We also saw clearly a wrecked sailboat that was just another reminder to tread carefully while here.

I spent the rest of my day editing photos while Mark changed the engine oil and read. We invited Ed and Lynne over for tuna chowder tonight and we watched the most incredible moon rise we have ever seen. As the one night after full moon rose behind the palm trees on Ile Fouquet, the silhouetted palms in front of the round moon were just spectacular. It was quite a lovely ending to a most beautiful day.

100429 Day 185a Salomon, Chagos–Ile Takamaka Reef and Shore Walk
100429 Day 185b Salomon, Chagos–Full Moon Rising