The sun’s just rising over the motu next to us, the outlines of a cumulus cloud on the horizon gleam like it was on fire and the silhouettes of some palm trees in the foreground pose for a south-sea paradise poster. The air is filled with a strange roaring and cackling that sounds like deer and monkeys, but of course that’s impossible here in the Tuamotus. The first birds head out towards the sea in pairs or groups and they are the source of these exotic sounds: we’ve found a big colony of red-footed boobies on the northwestern side of Tahanea!
Yesterday we motored 10 nm from the pass towards the NW side of the atoll which we hadn’t visited yet as anchoring there is only possible in very calm conditions. We passed a rock islet in the lagoon on the way (just a big rock with some shrubs on it) and were pleasantly surprised when a flock of 16 brown boobies started from there to check us out. Heading towards the barrier reef we already got our hopes up, as the motus weren’t covered in palm trees, but natural vegetation and really, when we went ashore we found red-footed boobies in all the higher trees. Many are still in their dark youngster plumage and we couldn’t see any chicks in the trees, so it must be right after the end of the nesting season.

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