Friday, July 29, 2011

Suwarrow living

Suwarrow Atoll, 28 July 2011.
I had planned to stay a couple of days. Almost two weeks later Twister remains anchored by Anchorage Island. I have explored Suwarrow more thoroughly than anywhere else I’ve stopped so far.  I couldn’t imagine a better place to learn to slow down and just be.  My days have been spent snorkeling, fishing, reading (among other things a story by James Norman Hall about Robert Frisbee who also lived on this atoll before Tom Neale), napping, playing guitar and a little fiddle, tossing the frisbee (not by myself, I found another sailor who enjoys throwing the disc), and socializing with the other sailors and the rangers.  It seems John and James think I’m underfed, as they often invite me to join them for their meals (those guys can cook!).
There are now 11 boats here in addition to Twister. “Rutea” anchored next to me contains a family from Ocean Beach, the neighborhood in San Diego where I lived my last year in San Diego.  Small world. Tonight there will be another potluck ashore.
 There is an abundance of fish to be hooked or speared, and there are almost always several sharks (black-tip, white-tip, and grey reef sharks) nearby ready to pounce on your catch, so you have to be quick in getting the fish into the boat.  I have managed to pull in one parrotfish fishing from Twister, anchored at a depth of ca 30 feet, the sharks gobbled up the other two before I could reel them in. So now I do most of my hook-and-line fishing in shallower water. I’ve speared one Grouper. Yesterday I went trolling through the reef pass with John the ranger and caught my second tuna (a Dogtooth Tuna according to John, it had white meat). Apparently the fish here do not have Ciguaterra. I have not suffered any ill effects from eating the parrotfish and grouper.
I’ve been learning  atoll survival skills—coconut husking and opening (there are several techniques), making coconut milk (which involves grating the white flesh and squeezing the pulp through a piece of cloth, leaving a delicious white liquid) and like I mentioned I have actually caught a few fish. 

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