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.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Huon Island en route to Australia

Residents of Huon Island: lots of birds!

A sandy island 0.6nm long in New Caledonia’s most northern reef system lies about 100nm NW of the mainland. Its exposed grassy ridge about 20ft above sea level is home to thousands of birds.  “What sea sickness…” says Heidi as a booby landed on our boom just after dropping anchor. We’d had a super fast 2 day 300nm passage to get here and had our fingers crossed the wind would swing further to the east as even the SSE wind had chop wrapping up the open lagoon. Still it was better than at sea. We found the GPS (WGS 84) longitude agreed with the French Chart 5978 but the GPS latitude placed us about 0.35nm north of our actual position in relation to the island.  Some nice big areas of sand to anchor in just near the island’s centre. We had a fly over by a French patrol plane who politely asked over VHF our past and future ports of call etc, so we were glad we’d put the courtesy flag up and had emailed customs.
Brown Booby adult

The wind did swing overnight, so we went ashore and walked the beach around the island amid the thousands of Brown Noddy’s and Brown Boobies. Both of these were in quite a range of breeding stages, but the less numerous Masked Boobies were courting and incubating.  Hermit crabs were doing a good service as clean up crews for the large numbers of dead chicks and when they weren’t eating they hid under whatever minimal cover there was from the debris washed ashore be it coral blocks, wood or coconut shells. The eastern shore was covered in debris with the reef extending beyond. The western side is more or less exposed to open water.  The only Red-footed Booby we saw was the one that roosted on our spreaders doing injustice to our decks but some how missing the French flag.

Turtles also breed here and a plaque asked for help in with a breeding survey. So we diligently dragged a stick around the island drawing a line that we are meant to inspect for turtle tracks the following morning. Unfortunately the wind returned to the south and we were unable to return to our last bit of paradise. By lunch time the 2-3-foot chop and 20kns finally dragged the anchor and we decided it best to put to sea after one re-anchoring attempt.

Species List Huon Island

Brown Noddy 1000’s
Brown Booby 1000’s
Masked Booby 100’s
Lesser Frigatebird  2
Ruddy Turnstone 6-8
Red-tailed Tropicbird 2-3
Sooty Tern 10-12
Black Naped Tern 3-5
Red-footed Booby 1
Masked Booby courtship behaviour

Masked Booby pair

Brown Noddy looking sharp

Our Red-footed Booby friend;
please don't dirty the flag!
Brown Booby chick, still fuzzy
One happy resident biologist

Hermit crabs taking shelter on the beach