We got new boat pets in Taravai!
After our friends on the catamaran Pakia Tea shared glowing reports of geckos as boat pets (yes, you heard that right!), Sabrina asked Valerie if the healthy looking gecko on the banana stalk hanging from their kitchen could come with us.
This funny idea was fed by the crew’s enthusiasm and the one gecko turned to three.
Captain K was skeptical but was being slowly persuaded based on these merits: geckos don’t take up much space, we would hardly ever see them, and they only eat bugs. Before he knew it, our three new friends got named after our favorite places in Gambier: Taravai, Onemea, and Tauna, the Geckos of Aldebaran.
Taravai (Tah-rah-vi) is the island they came from, Onemea (Oh-neh-may-ah) is the name of the bay where we hunkered down during the upcoming passing storm, and Tauna (Tah-oo-nah) is the motu we visited recently.
They came to the boat in a bright yellow plastic Easter egg with holes for air. We released them from their egg to Deena’s, Sabrina’s and Spencer’s great excitement late at night while Captain Kristian was too tired to protest. Onemea, also known as Tiny, hung out a bit around Spencer’s tattoo until we lost sight of him. Taravai started to build a home in Deena’s hair until Sabrina carried him to our fruit hammock, and Tauna remained relaxed in the egg. But after a few short minutes all three were gone, off exploring their new floating home.
We learned a lot more about geckos from wikipedia “offline”. – They feed on insects, including both moths and mosquitos.
– Most are nocturnal.
– They shed their tails in defense.
– They don’t blink as they lack eyelids and instead have a transparent membrane which they lick to clean.
– They shed their skin at fairly regular intervals which apparently they eat, essentially cleaning up after themselves.
– They have specialized toe pads made up of spatula-shaped setae, which allow them to climb smooth vertical surfaces including walls and ceiling without the use of slime or adhesive.
– As they walk across our boat, their feet pick up dirt and grime cleaning as they go. – Amazingly, females are able to reproduce without the presence of a male.
Gecko sightings are now special events on the boat, announced with great fanfare; everyone gathers around to catch a glimpse of one of our little pets. Last we saw, Tauna was sleeping (with her eyes open, no eye lids!) in the mint plant on our dashboard.