We settled into the cabin and stepped out on to our little veranda just 50 metres from the beach by the lagoon. The tide was half out. Later, we joined a guided reef walk at low tide. Snorkelling is only allowed at high tide.
Overhanging our veranda were our closest neighbours: a few hundred of the thousands of quarrelling birds here to nest in November. This kind of high density living would make anyone quarrelsome! Birds that usually nest in the sand taken to the trees due to lack of ground space. Every pandanus tree branch is weighed down with occupants. The noise is constant. The staff kindly leave ear plugs in the cabins so that people can sleep at night. More about the birds later.
What does everyone want to do on their first day on a tropical island? Explore! We collected the essentials for Brave Explorers: strong shoes, hats, sunnies, water bottles, and we were ready. Oops, nearly forgot the SLR camera.
For most of our explorations we saw few other people. There are at most 160 people staying and working here. This is done deliberately to keep down the impact of we humans on the wildlife. Of course, they are all doing things too like swimming, snorkelling, going out in the glass bottom boats, or just lazing on their cabin verandas.
Some way around the shore we came upon a stretch of coarse sand. Here we could lurch along reasonably well, sinking into the whiteness.
But long stretches are a difficult scramble between the sea and sharp coral on one side and lumpy rocks on the other. The coconut here was washed ashore from elsewhere. There are no coconut trees here.
Between the trees that begin just up from the rocks and sand the nesting turtles were digging nesting holes at night. The staff teams go around each morning to count and inspect them. We hoped to see some later.
If you look at the map BeeBear is showing her friends (above), you can see a compass (or steering helm) symbol at the top. The lighthouse is up there. It’s keepers were the island’s only occupants for many years.
Over the next two days we took a reef walk, went snorkelling in the lagoon, and looked for turtles. More about that in future posts. For now let’s try to ignore those raucous birds and loll about on this coral quay looking toward the sunset.
Mark, your host at Baffled Bear Books, is guardian and blundering typist for Mawson, one of this bright world’s few published bears.
Of Mawson’s first book, It’s A Bright World To Feel Lost In, a reviewer said, ‘Reading this book is like receiving a great big hug of reassurance and a huge hot chocolate with fluffy marshmallows.’