Sounds of a motu

This morning dawned completely calm (dawn’s around half past four, we’re in a funny time zone…). Without the constant noise of the wind and just the far thundering of the outer reef (the reef’s so broad here that the breakers are about half a mile away) we could clearly hear the sounds of the awakening motu next to us. The chirping, squeaking, cackling, shrieking and squawking reminded us of the South American jungle?we’d never have expected such a cacophony on a supposedly ‘barren piece of coral rubble’ (as cruising guides described Tahanea). Some of the sounds were surprisingly unbirdlike, like the roaring of a boar and a mechanical winding-up noise (even though we walked around yesterday and are quite sure that there’s no pigs or giant clocks around). Most likely it’s the nesting boobies squabbling with their neighbours. There’s another quarrelsome species that could be the origin of the weird sounds: a small, white bird that’s common throughout French Polynesia. As we c ouldn’t identify them, we named the weightless, translucent seeming creatures Southsea-Fairies. Observing their rowdily behaviour we soon renamed them Southsea-Bully-Fairies ;-)

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