Day 211, Year 5: You Can’t Take It With You
Date: Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Weather: Another Mostly Sunny Day, Cloudy Evening, SE Winds 10-12
Location: Ile Fouquet, Salomon Atoll, Chagos

One week from tomorrow, give or take a day or two for weather considerations, we will be leaving Chagos and traveling the 1500 miles to Madagascar. Our Chagos permit is up on June 2, so that is our deadline. We paid 100 British pounds or $150 US per month for our permit to stay here and it has been worth every penny. This morning when we checked our email we received a message from our son Justin. He told us about the environmental disaster happening in the Gulf of Mexico. We get no news out here and we had not heard about this. It made us so very sad to think of the damage that much crude oil can do to our oceans and it made me value the pristine nature of Chagos even more. So we rowed our dinghy to the shore closest to Windbird to conserve fuel and Mark carried the bag with our cans and bottles half the length of the island to the Fouquet camp where the recycling bins are located. I followed along slowly doing a tree and shrub “inspection.” I was amazed to find four of the six most prevalent Chagos hardwoods growing right there on the beach. I can’t take them with me, but I took more photos and collected leaves and blossoms to dry and sketch. In those trees we saw lots of Red-footed boobies just hanging out and four beautiful little fairy terns put on a show for me. These small terns are so very white with tiny almond-shaped black eyes. They appear to be mating and while I was taking photos of a tree with orange blossoms, I heard quite a commotion overhead. Two pairs were flying up in the air and coming back down to land on the dead branches of a tree over my head. Every time they went up and down they would chatter and this caused the boobies in the tree I was photographing to fuss. I was in bird heaven. On the end of the island we watched Bridled Terns putting on a different show. We have been here long enough now to recognize most of the birds, trees, and bushes. That is made possible because there are just so many plants and animals here. This would not be possible in New England where the diversity is so much greater. Hopefully the oil spill will be contained soon so that it doesn’t get into the Gulf Stream and head up the East Coast. That would be a disaster beyond comprehension. We have many months before we arrive in the waters off the East Coast of the US but it would be quite sad to return to a less diverse coast than the one we left almost six years ago.

We spent the middle part of our day rearranging things inside the boat to get ready for the Madagascar passage and we got out our Snuba dive compressor and took it apart to clean it. We will need it to clean the bottom of the boat before leaving here and we realized that we have never cleaned it. We then used our dinghy motor to take us to Takamaka island to burn trash, cut Mark’s hair, get water, and do a little island exploring. Tomorrow might end up to be a fishing day if the winds calm back down, and if not we will continue to get Windbird ready for passage and maybe do a little snorkeling in the pass at high tide again.

100525 Day 211 Salomon, Chagos–Ile Fouquet Beach Walk and Visit to Takamaka Camp