It has been four days since journaling and frankly that is way to long. It seems like so much has happened and yet so little at the same time. We are officially deep into island fever with no cure in sight. Well, a slight move towards a healing occurred today. We took advantage of the beautiful breezy day and low tide timing to go for a snorkel near the island’s community property west of the village.  

It started off very cloudy with a massive amount of light tan soft coral whipping around in the rough currents. Last time we dove east of the village near bat island and went out as the tide was coming in.  This time I wanted to see if the clarity would be better with the tide going out. It wasn’t much better,
and almost worse. However, when the tide is going out, the main current is pushing in which helps. Due to the high wind, though, the current was pretty much all over the place.

After about 10 minutes we made the bend and the coral opened up into several table top formations and large canyons with small caves. The fish where mostly of the smaller variety and types we had seen before. We did see several large sea cucumbers, a large clam, and crown of thorns. It was our first sighting of the deadly crown of thorns and I was glad we had only seen one. Multiple sightings are a sign of unbalanced nitrogen in the water, which kills of the predator of the prickly pests. They eat coral, which in turns makes the water chemistry even more unbalanced eventually leading to a bad
situation. Of course, I am no where near a marine biologists, I have just read a lot about coral health from PC training. 

After about an hour of snorkeling we sun dried and headed back to the fale. A gaggle of tamalikis, small children, welcomed us home as they frolicked around the hammock in our back yard.

There’s good news on the garden front. After the overhaul I am proud to report good progress with long bean, Chinese cabbage, sweet basil, and cucumber. The papaya factory is in full swing as I have approximately 20 seedlings struggling to the 5 inch mark and several more sprouting amongst the several holes I’ve pounded through rock around our compound. When they all mature we very well may have a papaya forest. That would make our fiber deficient starved bowls very happy. 

Our neighbor, Fani, had a group of kids bring us a wheel barrow full of rich dark soil today. I have never been so excited to see black soil. The soil around our house isn’t that fertile and full of rocks. I immediately transferred it around the fledgling papaya and made several more nursery pods from used oil bottles and soup cans. I placed the rest around the garden produce to encourage their steady upward pace.

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