Family Magazine

The Lovely Islands of Riung

By Behan Gifford @sailingtotem
Picking our way between reefs into Riung offered plenty of excitement for Jamie, Hyo and me but was just another day underway for Siobhan. She crashed for a cockpit nap as we wandered through the pretty string of islands that make up a park near the town of Riung.
nap time
We decide to find a spot that our friends on Paikea Mist had stopped in last year. They jokingly referred to it as Anchorage 102- the unsung anchorage that didn't make the cut for the "101 Anchorages in Indonesia" cruising guide.
It's beautiful. And it offers one of my favorite things, a fun little hike to a view.
Anchorage 102
There are a lot of really great things about having Hyo on board. This one is way down low on the list, but I have to admit, it is really nice to be able to take a family photograph. We rarely have the extra pair of hands! Hyo puts us through paces and we end up with a few favorites- this one is mine.
The hike is mostly uneventful, except when we look down at the beach where our dinghy is and see some domestic tourists trying on our snorkeling gear. They're not malicious, just having fun, but it's precious gear being mistreated and it's ours, anyway! Not cool. I yell down at them and they put them back in the dinghy.
hike across island
We spent a heavenly day here. The little beach is a dream for the kids, who set up camp and make fairy houses under a tree.
Beaching it
We spend some time exploring underwater. Lately I feel like a lionfish magnet. Swimming to shore from the boat, this is the first thing I see when the water shallows up.
I find many of my favorite anenomefish friends (Dan I promise I do look at more than just fish, though. I do. Sometimes. OK, so I love the fish! But I love the nudibranchs too).
my clownfish love afffair continues
This clowfish came WAY out of his anenome. Usually they are neurotic little fish, playing hide and go seek with you in their symbiotic little home... then there are the extroverts. Well, this guy actually swam up and nipped Niall on the forehead!
this one really chased us
This was the one that really stumped us. (Dan. Note. Not a fish). We posted it up to our Facebook page (if you're not following, check it out!), and had the really neat experience of someone who saw it there helping us to identify the creature. Christopher Mah was able to help ID this funky creature, which we teasingly labeled Stump the Biologist. But really, what do YOU think this looks like?
what the...?
It's Astropecten, don't you know. Well, we didn't but the awesome Chris did. The trick was that this is just ONE leg of the full creature. Echinoderms are his particular area of expertise. If you want to know more, see his Echinoblog - he also edits the World Asteroidea database.

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