Madison’s Tuamotus Visit

We’ve fallen in love with the Tuamotus, as most people do, so getting to share this utopia with Maddi over her winter break was really special. We’d promised a much needed rest, but ended up playing pretty hard, so hopefully her soul was recharged and enriched by the warm, turquoise waters brimming with life and the sun kissed days filled with simple, yet active goals. We ended up hanging out in Fakarava and Tahanea, two atolls with abundant wildlife/wilderness, (always appreciated by Maddi) and we just may have spent as many hours in the sea as out of it! We’d been renting diving gear from a local provider in the south of Fakarava, but once we met up with our cruising friends, m/v Starlet, they ‘hooked us up’ with tanks and together, with s/v Makara, we dove daily.  Pics of these shared adventures will be on the next post, but here we focus on our middle daughter, the shark whisperer.~DS

“Groupers Shining in the Light”

Fakarava, famous for sharks
rows of teeth, sinister, graceful
ominous patience at the top of the food chain
keen senses for a slip-up, a moment of inattention
fish hide in the coral after dark
unaware of a tail poking out
sharks imprinted with curiosity
follow every lead, investigate every anomaly
de facto enforcers of the status quo
stick to the rhythm
you’ll be alright, maybe
it takes attitude to be a grouper
shining in the light
defending your rock
even more attitude to be a grouper at night,
You should try living among swarms of predators
try to sleep or procreate, try to enjoy a little leisure
not surprising that groupers get a little touchy about their neighborhood
food funnels with teeth in their gills,
they present themselves to the world mouth first
Prettier tropical specimens keep a wary eye
slip between branches of coral as though sipped by a straw
everybody seems to know
that the sharks know
they’ve traded decent eyesight and speed
for jaws and uncanny 3D senses for smelling fear and panic
traded chewing teeth for biting teeth
Six Gill sharks eat as little as once a year
(you don’t want to be reincarnated as a Six Gill shark)
Triggerfish, with beaver-like teeth
flopping, rooting, peering under rocks
Bluefin Trevally terrorize the shallows, manifesting classic symptoms of ADD.
Parrotfish seem to know that they’ve been named after birds
fluttering over the reef
crunching coral, shitting and spitting sand
along with their groupies, Maddi and I call “friends of parrotfish”
Moray eels scowl from their caves
Moorish Idols parade along the branching staghorn
huge green Napoleon Wrasse contemplate a sex change
an octopus camouflaged in the rocks
how much brain power it must take to run eight arms
and change color and texture instantly?
I can barely pat my head and rub my stomach at the same time
those unblinking eyes
that gambler’s mouth breathing tube
shoals of shimmering, blue, wide-eyed baitfish
birds above, predators below, strength and peril in numbers
bobbits with scissor-like jaws lurk in the sand
800 species of deadly cone snails
Everything that can be eaten
iridescent ink glows in perpetual darkness
volcanic vents in ocean trenches are planning for the future
human concentration suffers from lack of predators
evolution is happy to start over
when our moment of inattention
gets the better of us

14 thoughts on “Madison’s Tuamotus Visit”

  1. Absolutely surreal. Hard to even begin to imagine going for a night dive with 500 sharks! You guys are so inspiring! Many blessings on your continuing adventures!

  2. Nice writing Marcus. You really captured the unique personalities of the undersea oz you spend so much time in….and ah, that last line…love it!
    So wish that we could’ve spent some time up in the Tuomotus with you guys. Those photos are crazy beautiful. Just so many wonderful choices we couldn’t pick them all!
    Can’t wait to see you guys in May!

    1. Hey Scott, Di here …
      I know, I keep imagining you guys delighting in all the rich fauna of these Tuamotuan waters. I think you can bareboat charter out of Rangiroa, so maybe it’d be a destination for you?! We could line you out on the necessary issues to be mindful of – primarily, pass entry/exit, bommie avoidance and anchoring tips. But I do wish we could be savoring all this together!

  3. Hi guys- so great to see your continuing explorations- it’s been a winter wonderland here with ice frosting the trees. We miss you!! xoxo

    1. So very glad you’re keeping an eye on us, Maddy! What a contrast in environments! I try to describe the wonder of those ice crystals when people here try to fathom a MT winter! We’re heading to BZN following Wyatt’s early May Quest graduation – pleeeaassse tell us you’ll be around?

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