Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Dave's B-day, Dolphin swim & Fish story.

Dillon Bay, Erromango Island, Vanuatu
18 degrees 49 minutes South by 169 degrees 0 minutes East

Dave's birthday in Dillon Bay. I started my b-day with a nice breakfast of scrambled eggs and boiled yams followed shortly thereafter with a freshly baked birthday cake. Sitting on deck enjoying a beautiful morning and eating my cake too Kathy points out a huge fish jumping across the bay. I spot the "fish" as well and after a few jumps recognizing the "fish" to be a dolphin. I suggest we try for a dolphin swim. Kathy agrees and we quickly grab our snorkel gear and jump in the dingy. We approach the pod of dolphins numbering thirty or so and I shut off the engine and slip into the water. Visibility is exceptional and although we don't get too close we enjoyed the beauty and grace of these creatures from their underwater perspective. Climbing back in and we reposition the dinghy and slip into the water a second time. The dolphins on this occasion tolerated our interactions, but did not appear too interested and kept their distance, so taking our cue we continued our snorkel expedition well out of their area.

Erromango islands' seashore is mostly rugged cliffs composed of volcanic basalt and uplifted sand and limestone. Viewed from the sea the sheer cliffs house hundreds of caves and provide the imaginative mind visions of undiscovered treasures and artifacts waiting within. The caves are all but inaccessible due to the sheer ramparts blocking accent from above or below and further fuel the intrigue. We took a long dingy ride around the bay marveling at jungle topped cliffs. Snorkeling at several different locations was unspectacular in respect to coral, although we noted many large cone shells and looked in vain for lobster in the many cracks, crevices and caves inhabiting the underwater world.

Yesterday on our sail up from Tanna Island we hooked and landed a very large Mahi Mahi a conservative forty five pounds and over five feet long (pictures to follow). After shaving off a few choice fillets for ourselves and a few other yachting friends we delivered the remainder to Chief William for distribution around the village. We are now sipping champagne that Kathy surprised me with as we prepare for dining with the Chief of the local village tonight. Rumor has it a band and dancing will also be assembled for our entertainment. A memorable birthday perhaps rivaling last years festivities at Penryhn island in the Cooks

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