Five Go Mad
The Travel Times
Ile des Pins (Kunie) - Day 6
|Colin, Robyn, Megan, Ashleigh and Nicole|
Friday, 31 Aug 2018 - 17:39PM
Up with the light. Promising outlook despite a drizzly early morning. The sky is white and the breeze only rattles the palm fronds, so an improvement. Breakfast mutter says sun out in an hour. A large yacht idles into the lagoon and anchors in the deep bit out in the middle. This is the last full day here so there is self-inflicted pressure to do everything still un-done. Lying on the beach looks attractive; if only the sun would come out for a bit. Without the sun on my skin vitamin D levels tank for me and things turn up that go with it; groans, bones, stones and moans as the saying goes.
Swatting away indecision, I grab some snorkelling gear to visit the fish under the bridge in person, drifting through on the out-going tide. Clear water, surprisingly warm. I get up close to by buddies. They don’t seem keen to get to know me; in fact they treat me like some sort of invading force. Conscious of my soft exposed bits I bump over the shallow bottom on guard against further attack. I’m swarmed by a large school of small, fast torpedo shapes, their wide yellow eyes saying either “please don’t eat me” or “what the fuck!”, not sure which. Collected a few scrapes from scrambling over coral chunks. Briefly think about infection and amputation, then move on.
Laying on the beach ensues. Make a cup of tea and take it out to the sand feeling civilised. Sky greying, thoughts form. The first thoughts for a while actually. The stupefaction I mentioned earlier is enticing; brain switched off, go with the flow, no terminus in view. The problem is time becomes un-marked, tensions release but so does motivation, curiosity and creativity. I’m glad I’m writing this blog. To be honest I’m not sure how I’ll get on re-entering ‘normality’ with all its sharp edges and attacking forces. Probably need to trust in my reflexes more, they’ve seen me right so far. I forget about those sometimes.
The sun pays a visit and we leap into action. It’s back down to the Oro Bay lagoon/ aquarium for a final bit of flippering. We were mobbed as we entered the water this time. I think these fish may be looking for handouts. We managed to visit most of the fish from last time but, as it was warmer, hypothermia could be kept at bay a little longer and we covered more ground. Discovered an area where the coral was blue instead of the brown everywhere else and realised this was the living stuff where-as most of the rest was dead. Couldn’t help but think that having tourists like me clambering all over it might have something to do with that. Felt a bit like a rat. A sad rad, but rattus nonetheless.
The dead souls of all those coral polyps must have been whispering to Gaia or something because we learned of a fairly large earthquake near New Caledonia when we got back, 7.1 it turns out. If there’d been a decent tsunami we would have had no warning. The wave was only 10cm high so nothing to write home about and we didn’t feel or see anything. The surf on the reef looked much the same; large and violent. Felt more vulnerable than if we were in New Zealand. We seem to be a bit more set-up for this disaster stuff post Christchurch plus we have more hills. No one on the island or back in Noumea seemed aware that it had even happened when I asked them about it later.
Final small island dinner: chicken plus half of Robyn’s steak. Crème brulee was a step too far but I took it anyway.