I got my wish.

In all my snorkeling and diving in Hawaii I have never seen a shark. One
of my big wishes was to see sharks. I got my wish today.

Steve too Susan and I on the dinghy over to the “bird island” and we
said we’d make our way back to shore near the boat and call him on the
portable VHF radio to come get us. We didn’t walk far before seeing a
very small black tip reef shark in the shallows. He swam off. We
explored the island, seeing lots of birds with them checking us out in
return. They don’t have much human contact so they’re curious and swoop
down to see what we are. The juvenile boobies are probably the most
daring, although the noddys came pretty close too. Fairy turns, lesser
Frigate birds and red tail tropic birds were also around.We made our way
back to the main island of this atoll by a combination of hiking over
lava rock and wading. I’ve not waded in the ocean much and it was great
fun.

As we neared the shore of the main island Susan announced that there was
a shark ahead. She was wrong. There were six. All swiming with their
dorsal fins out of the water and that distinctive black tip showing. I
was a little unnerved as I was leading and once they heard me coming,
they turned to swim over and find out what I was. Susan told me to put
our snorkel bag in the water and that would scare them away. On this
point she was exactly right. She’s had experience with these guys at
Palmyra. In all honesty it was silly to get worked up about these
sharks, the biggest was probably 18 inches long. I’ve seen bigger fish
when snorkeling and they never bothered me. I also know that black tips
don’t usually attack humans. But then they are sharks. They have a bad
reputation.

We got out of the water and over the next hour or so we saw many more
sharks. None more than two feet. I got brave and started wading into the
water to get them to come over. And they did. We’ve got a few of
pictures of them. In the pictures of them alone we could claim they were
huge, but then the next shot has my foot in it ruining their fearsome
appearance.

The island is also covered with stawberry hermit crabs in all sizes.
They take what shells they can find to live in and as they grow they
have to find bigger shells. They even climb trees. We saw one today up a
tree with the most beautiful shell. We told him he was very lucky to
live in such a beautiful house. All down the beach we stopped to see
what these little crabs were living in. Some were living decidedly
downscale while others were more upper crusty in their choice of abodes.

Steve picked us up on the beach and we had a pleasant dinghy ride back.
After lunch and a short rest Steve went off with his dive hookah and I
went off snorkeling. We regrouped at the boat and had dinner of Hunter’s
chicken, rice and garlic bread. Thats the end of our fresh meat, so it’s
time to start opening cans and boxes. We have plenty of them from the
French inspired grocery stores of Uturoa. Needless to say, we won’t go
hungry.