Day 201, Year 5: Yahoo for Wahoo! Plus a Wreck Explore
Date: Saturday, May 15, 2010
Weather: Beautiful, Beautiful Day
Location: Ile Fouquet, Salomon Atoll, Chagos

The fishermen got serious today, changed their tactics, and came home with a 42 inch-long Wahoo. Yahoo!!! Wahoo were plentiful here a month ago, but no one has caught one since we arrived in late April, so this was a real accomplishment. And it was Mark’s lure that caught him, so he is one happy fisherman. We heard talk on the Net this morning that the reduction in the amount of fish being caught might be due to a drop in the water temperature. It is certainly not as hot as it was when we arrived the first the April. And this Wahoo was right out of the pass so it was a fairly quick trip, saving precious petrol. This one fish will provide at least three or four meals each for Windbird and Constance plus a dinner for six tomorrow night. We have invited Susan Margaret and Constance over for dinner and a wine and beer tasting event. John and Sue have been making coconut wine and beer that they will bring and we have a supply of Indian and Thai beer that we will all enjoy along with grilled Wahoo and a pumpkin-potato-pea curry (you have to be inventive out here) over rice. Yummy.

The early morning was also a huge success. We left for the north end of Takamaka at 7:30 am and had to row the last little bit as the tide was definitely low. We anchored the dinghy in dry sand and walked around the point and headed out to the ship wreck. We think this was a Japanese fishing boat. It was approximately an 80 foot-long wooden boat and we were surprised to see that there had been a fire in the bow of the boat. Just behind the bow was a refrigeration compartment and we could only speculate that maybe the crew abandoned ship because of the fire and then the boat washed up on the flat, hard coralline shelf that extends from the north side of the island outward. We were also surprised that we could walk around the boat and go out to where the waves were breaking to look back toward the island and take photos. The boat sits parallel to the north side of Takamaka with the bow headed west. It is in surprisingly good shape. It seems that the waves break just out from the boat and only the surf washes up under it, so it is not being hit by pounding waves, except possibly in a storm. Once we had explored all sides of the boat we walked to the east on the nice, flat shelf and saw small eels, lots of tiny fish, and two Guineafowl Puffers in their black with white dots phase. We have seen them in their yellow phase on two of our previous reef walks, but these were larger. So we’re not sure if the yellow phase is a juvenile. Seems likely. The tiny coral structures on the outer edge of this reef were raspberry and olive green versus yesterday’s pink reef. As we walked toward the island, however, it started to look more like a desert with very little coral. But this is where the black sponges, black sea cucumbers, brown, flat sponge that covers the rock surface (looks like Spheciospongia vagabunda), and hundreds of brittle stars live. Since we could see the red boobies and frigate birds flying overhead, we just had to walk to shore and see if there were still any little fuzzy white babies. There were, plus there were a few more that have grown into their gray-colored feathers. I enjoyed trying to identify the different types of trees that grow along the shore as we seldom see hardwood trees here. It was after ten when we returned to Windbird so we had a good two-and-half-hour walk. Tomorrow is a snorkeling morning and free and easy afternoon. We’ll need to get ready for having guests aboard tomorrow night, so I know it will be a full day.

100515 Day 201a Salomon, Chagos–Yahoo for Wahoo
100515 Day 201b Salomon, Chagos–Ile Takamaka Ship Wreck