Wednesday, March 25, 2009

March 23, 2009 - North Button Island, Andamans, India

North Button Island is an insanely beautiful place. The intensity of the colors and quality of light is so overwhelming that sometimes we just have to close our eyes. There are turquoise reefs hosting thriving coral beds, full of colorful tropical fish. There are giant hardwoods, whose glossy dark green leaves shade an undergrowth of bright lime green pandanus bushes. There are brilliant white sand beaches littered with the silver trunks and twisted root systems of fallen old-growth trees. There are golden sandstone cliffs whose striations attest that these islands lie along ancient and active fault lines in the earth's crust. This is life in Technicolor. It is vivid and invigorating.

We spend our days snorkeling, spearfishing and cowrie hunting along the reefs and beaches. Whenever we need a fish for lunch or dinner, we head over to a patch of reef that we nickname "fish town," as Sten can always find something for us to eat there. We feast on grilled grouper and Thai fish cakes. We find plenty of shells. Although the map cowrie continues to elude us, I score an argus cowrie.

As always, the weather has a huge impact on how we experience a place. Because we were so late arriving in the Andamans, the Northeast Monsoon and the attendant strong northeasterly breezes have petered out. We are now firmly in the transition period to the Southwest Monsoon. We have sunny weather and gentle cooling breezes. Each afternoon we watch the clouds build over South and Middle Andaman. Lightning flashes in the distance, but no rain falls on us. It is perfect weather for exploring by yacht.

The only events to mar an otherwise prefect idyll are continuing problems with the watermaker and the failure one of my replacement fins after only a week of use. I can stitch up the foot pocket on the fin, but the watermaker is proving to be more problematic. It is functioning, but our production numbers are way down. We are going to have to order brushes from the States to bring it back up to full capacity.

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