About Us

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We work as ecotourism guides (as well as biologist and boat captain) often on the BC Coast, but also as far ranging as the Arctic and Antarctic. We have an insatiable curiousity for the planet; all its hidden gems and what makes them tick. That and our love of sailing is what inspired us to sail around the Pacific in Narama, our tough and pretty little sailboat.

Monday, August 29, 2011


Anchorage Island, Suwarrow Atoll

I shall attempt to describe our last port of call with the adjectives it deserves, but bear with me, for as I write we are sailing along under storm jib only with seas to match.
Swimming with Giant Manta!

Sooty Tern

Suwarrow is a small atoll several hundred miles from anywhere in the Cook Island group. The one main island (all of ½ a mile long) has a semi protected anchorage amongst a lot of coral heads that stick up about a metre off the bottom to snag your anchor chain. But given the right conditions (non reinforced trade winds) this is paradise. Two care takers look after the island for six months, being away for the cyclone season.  If you have read Tom Neale’s or Robert Frisbie’s books about the island you will understand why. The high point of the island is only about 10ft and exposed to the ocean swells. James and John are the two caretakers and hosts; keeping everyone in line and making them feel welcome.  The record 28 boats in the anchorage did not feel busy; it’s just one of those very relaxed places. We snorkeled most days on various reefs or with Manta rays, went lobster hunting on the reef on a moonlit night, enjoyed several potlucks ashore and did a reef walk out to Whale Island (full of nesting birds). The hard part was dragging ourselves away after nearly 2 weeks.  This we did and headed for Niue, but the strengthening high pressure below us sent winds we did not like beating into, so we bore off toward Tonga.  I leave you with a log entry by Heidi on the second last day of this leg ….. “Lie down on cabin floor for 10 min, catch my breath and settle my stomach.  Get up, go climb (bottom hatch board has been in for a few days) into the cockpit and look around. Check the course. Lie on floor, repeat. The end of each 4 hour watch seems like a major victory. The reward: a few hours sliding on your bed where you can’t lose your balance.”…… This trip we had our worst pooping to date that put nearly a foot deep of water in the cockpit, but for all the weather there was no upchucks.  A day at anchor Heidi still talks of sailing to Chile...... what a spirit or is it just a short memoryJ.   Such is the price we sometimes have to pay to visit paradise!
John (caretaker and all round great guy) and Heidi

Potluck dinner in the "clubhouse"

Suwarrow (Suvarov), Northern Cook Islands – Fish Species List

Manta - check out the cephalic fins!! (near the mouth)

After three months in French Polynesia our fish ID skills are improving. So we thought we would share a list of fish species for Suwarrow.  This in not a complete list as there’s always those that you don’t see well enough to ID, or you can’t remember everything that you see while snorkeling and our field guides don’t always have everything for this area.  This list does illustrate the wonderful diversity of species on the reef.  The ones marked with (*) were delicious!

Unidentified Dascyllus - any ideas out there??

Threadfin Butterflyfish
Chaetodon auriga
Redfin Butterflyfish
Chaetodon lunulatus
Teardrop Butterflyfish
Chaetodon unimaculatus
Raccoon Butterflyfish
Chaetodon lunula
Dotted Butterflyfish
Chaetodon semeion
Reticulated Butterflyfish
Chaetodon reticulatus
Speckled Butterflyfish
Chaetodon citrinellus
Saddled Butterflyfish
Chaetodon ephippium
Dot-and-Dash Butterflyfish
Chaetodon pelewensis
Pacific Double-Saddle Butterflyfish
Chaetodon ulietensis
Fourspot Butterflyfish
Chaetodon quadrimaculatus
Ornate Butterflyfish
Chaetodon ornatissimus
Pennant Bannerflyfish
Heniochus chrysostomus
Longnose Butterflyfish
Forcipiger flavissimus
Lemonpeel Angelfish
Centropyge flavissimus
Regal Angelfish
Pygoplites diacanthus
Orangeband Surgeonfish
Acanthurus olivaceus
Achilles Tang
Acanthurus achilles
Convict Surgeonfish
Acanthurus triosegus
Whitecheek Surgeonfish
Acanthurus nigricans
Pacific Sailfin Tang
Zebrasoma veliferum
Bluespine Unicornfish
Naso unicornis
Spotted Unicornfish
Naso brevirostris
Orangespine Unicornfish
Naso lituratus
Moorish Idol
Zanclus cornatus
Humbug Dascyllus
Dascyllus aruanus
Blue-green Chromis
Chromis viridis
Pacific Half-and-half Chromis
Chromis iomelas
Onespot Snapper
Lutjanus monostigma
Blue Damsel
Pomacentrus pavo
Black Snapper
Macolor niger
Bluefin Trevally
Caranx melampygus
Rainbow Runner
Elagatis bipinnulatus
Peacock Grouper
Cephalopholis argus
Coral Grouper*
Cephalopholis miniata
Greasy Grouper*
Epinephelus tauvina
Camouflage Grouper
Epinephelus polyphekadion
Arc-Eye Hawkfish
Paracirrhites arcatus
Bullethead Parrotfish
Chlorurus sordidus
Steephead Parrotfish
Chlorurus microrhinos
Bicolor Parrotfish
Cetoscarus bicolor
Pacific Longnose Parrotfish*
Hipposcarus longiceps
Red-breasted Wrasse
Cheilinus fasciatus
Bird Wrasse
Gomphosus varius
Sixbar Wrasse
Thalassoma hardwicke
Threespot Wrasse
Halichoeres trimaculatus
Checkerboard Wrasse
Halichoeres hortulanus
Redlip Cleaner Wrasse
Labroides rubrolabiatus
Bluestreak Cleaner Wrasse
Labroides dimidiatus
Bicolor Cleaner Wrasse
Labroides bicolor
Big-scale Soldierfish
Myripristis berndti
Spotfin Squirrelfish
Neoniphon sammara
Twotone Dartfish
Ptereleotris evides
Goldsaddle Goatfish
Parupeneus cyclostomus
Manybar Goatfish
Parupeneus multifascialis
Aulostromus chinensis
Fistularia commersonii
Orange-lined Triggerfish
Balistapus undulatus
Picasso Triggerfish
Rhinecanthus aculeatus
Indian Toby
Canthigaster solandri
Mahi Mahi*
Coryphaena hippurus
Gray Reef Shark
Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos
Blacktip Reef Shark
Carcharhinus melanopterus
Whitetip Reef Shark
Triaendon obesus
Giant Manta
Manta birostris
Arc-Eye Hawkfish

Dot-and-Dash Butterflyfish