Monday, August 22, 2011

Notice the sail rolled up on the canoe that is behind.

We are headed back to Wangi-Wangi island today. I would have liked to stay in Hoga longer but with the tides if we want to be close to festivities which are planned for tomorrow we had to leave this morning. The first patch we put on the dinghy failed and we have reglued and reclamped it. We are going to wait until we get back to Wangi to inflate it giving the glue almost 36 hours to cure. If that doesn’t work Barry may put epoxy on it, not sure if I like that idea, it would be terrible to clean off if it doesn’t work.
We managed to get in 2 dives while we were in Hoga. They were both terrific, the first dive was a night dive and we were picked up on the boat just at sunset. The boat was NOT your typical luxury resort dive boat, this was a local fishing boat. The motor is hand cranked and it just goes forward, no reverse, no idle just putt, putt, putt. Needless to say this makes for some precarious off loading with our boat and at the mooring bouys were they tie up to dive. Last night the fellow came downwind towards us and handed me long bamboo pole in which to pull them over with, the guy in the stern did the draw stroke with a paddle and the boat edged over so we could climb in. When we returned from the night dive the guy forgot to take us to the boat and we ended up strolling down the beach in our wet suits, with someone with limited English, along a very high pier and then hopping down onto a big boat, transferring to a slightly smaller boat and then into a local canoe with the same type of motor. Remains of a red snapper we purchased from this family, he filleted it for us in his boat and most likely took the remains home to make soup.

It is a good thing Barry has a new hip because 3 years ago he could have never managed it! Oh and since we took a local boat instead of a nice roomy regular dive boat, we had to put our dive equipment on in the water. It was interesting, I managed okay except for the weight belt, you put it on last after you have your tank and BCD on, there is a current running and the dive master is warning you not to float away., so I was trying to hold on and then use 2 hands to get on my belt, that did not work, I finally asked my dive buddy (Barry) to hang on to me so I wouldn’t float away. Barry has had a case of the dropsies the last 3 dives. In the first instance he dropped his weight belt (but he was hanging on to the underwater grid so that was fine) The second instance he dropped his flashlight on the night dive, (but that was okay because it wasn’t deep and someone else went down and got it), the third thing he dropped was his snorkel, it somehow became unattached from his mask and I saw it floating down and away. We had surfaced with very little air left and so I was not sure I would have enough air to go down and get it and reinflate my BDC so I just watched it float away. They say things happen in threes so we will see whether he drops anything else in the water!

Coral Research Centre

The coral is fantastic here, they call Wakatobi the heart of the coral triangle, the triangle being basically the Philippines, Australia and Indonesia. There was a superb mix of soft and hard corrals and on our daylight dive we saw schools of yellow fin tunas darting about. The night dive was quite different, seeing lots of Christmas tree worms, in various colours, a walking sea urchin, shrimps who scooted along with eyes that glowed a wonderful reddy pink colour in our dive lights, a metere long sea cucumber and something that was red and white striped that may have been a barber pole shrimp. Hoga island also has a big coral research centre on it where volunteers come from all over the world to do scientific studies. It was a bit of a slog motor sailing upwind to Hoga but I am really glad we went. Local boat
Yesterday morning we spent most of the morning marveling at the locals fishing. There is a combination of smaller boats with a single paddler and big boats with the unidirectional motors which have 2 fishermen. The schools of fish feed along the surface and make a rippling splash and the fisherman chase them. The guys with the engines have the advantage being able to swoop down and drag their lines through the schools. The single fellows paddle like crazy here and there, mostly upwind against the waves. When the schools take off down wind, the fisherman hoist their triangular plastic sails and away they go. Some of the big boats also fly kites, we are not sure what they do but I think perhaps it is to help them turn more quickly, these guys are amazing, fishing, manning the motor and steering with a kite, we were fascinated. Our buddies from Calgary on Cop Out have joined this section of the rally and we look forward to spending some time with them in Wangi-Wangi.
Fisherman setting sail, not a great pic but he was moving so fast it was hard to get a good picture.