By Deena. I am always amazed at how small areas of nature hold so many drastically different landscapes, almost like different worlds in a video game that progress as you explore, and I like to make up names for all the different areas. Here are the “neighborhoods” of Tauna, in order of my journey.
The beach on Tauna isn’t soft sand, it’s myraids of tiny shards of shells and coral. The first thing I did when we got to shore was pick up a beautiful shell that caught my eye and give it to Sabrina as a gift. She politely declined my gift after looking inside and showing to me: a tiny hermit crab inside! I quickly learned that many of the shells on the island are already occupied.
Non-pineapple Tree Grove
In addition to tall skinny palm trees, Tauna had trees with fruits I had never seen before, from afar they look like giant pineapples. I later learned they are pandanus trees, which apparently used to be edible but not anymore. When we saw them a few days later on Onamae, the nuts that dropped out of the fruit looked like individual kernels of corn for giants.
A big wooden table sat in the shade of some trees, covered in hermit crabs of different sizes. Every few seconds I heard a “plonk” as one fell. Hermit crabs are either fearless or not at all smart, they just kept walking right off the table.
There was a makeshift dilapidated shack a few meters back into the jungle with some trash inside, evidence of someone staying here in the past.
Sexy Lookout Point
At low tide, the water patterns formed a long white strip of sand about thirty meters off the coast. It was stunning, and looked like a great place to do photoshoots.
A shaded stretch of sand revealed a bustling metropolis of slowly moving shells. More hermit crabs. From tiny ones as big as a fingernail to large ones as big as a fist. The big ones are the shyest, they retreat quickly even if I’m standing a few feet away. But they can’t hide, they are too big to fully fit in their shells and their bright orange-red color stands out clearly from afar.
Long slabs of black rock jut into the ocean. A closer look revealed pieces shells that seemed to have been twisted and melted. I don’t know if these were actual lava rocks, but given that this area used to be a volcano along with the petrified shells, it’s a guess.
After I completed the full circle and arrived back at Shell-sand Beach, I picked a spot to sit and wrapped my pareo around me for shade. The others had brought things to do: Spencer read his book, Sabrina and Kristian flew the drone flying. (Get ready for the incredible pictures!) I didn’t plan ahead and brought nothing, but I was content to sit quietly and look through the treasures at my feet, picking out dozens of tiny shells and shards, all unoccupied, to take home to remember my motu.
Photo: Captain Kristian walks out to Sexy Lookout Point. It only exists on low tide!