More rain!

I'm afraid I've been rather neglectful of my journal just recently, so here I am doing pennance, with a bumper edition! Life continues much the same here. I was just in Raiatea doing fieldwork, for our French Polynesian terrestrial arthropod survey. It was a very special expedition, we made it up to the summit of the highest mountain in Raiatea, it was a hard slog, took four days total, there and back, and it rained almost the whole time....it was quite an experience, we were the first entomologists to collect in the area, and I like to think I might have been the first woman up there!

We also got a chance to see the Raiatea cicada (Raiateana oulietia), which is really quite beautiful, and extremely rare, it only occurs on Raiatea and not even on Tahaa, it's sister island. The next closest island with similar cicadas is Fiji, so it almost certainly arrived in Raiatea on a Polynesian voyaging canoe - cool huh!

Viriamu was looking after the house in my absence, working on getting the land-sale finalized. In particular getting a surveyor in to the site. They've cleared it a bit now and staked out the limits - it's a huge area, and I'm excited to get a small hut built there so we can move in and start the process of building.

The rainy season is still in full swing here in Moorea – it has been raining pretty much steadily for the past few weeks. Which makes cycling to work and to the store much less fun! The plus side is that I can fill up our drinking water bottles from underneath the leaky gutter outside the backdoor, rather than cycling to get filtered water at the Gump, or going halfway around the island to the natural source. Everything seems to be seething and alive, counter-tops quickly morph into organic mats of ants if you don’t quickly clean them off – my backpack which had been hung up on the front terrace to dry, turned into an ants nest overnight – ideally situated hanging on a nail out of the rain! Even as I write a cloud of mosquitoes have greedily set to devouring my left leg. The smell of damp hangs in the air here all the time – clothes grow mold, books curl and become soft. The house seems to be crumbling in front of our eyes – I am always sweeping up neat piles of termite poop, under the living room furniture, doorposts and kitchen cabinets. In the morning the floor is peppered with rolled up woodlice seeking refuge from the rain. Last night the rain was particularly heavy and this morning there were a horde of earthworms wriggling in agony on our terrace, casualties to the early morning break in the clouds.

Strangely Maroro wasn’t all that interested in eating them, he seems to like most other things. He’s become very seriously insectivorous of late - several times I’ve caught him tormenting solitary wasps under the outdoors table, his ‘den’. Just a while ago I was surprised to find him chewing on an adult banana weevil outside the back door ....mmm..crunchy!

When it’s not raining there’s always that anticipation that it might, the taste of it in the air...I don’t know why but it makes me restless. Maybe it’s just because Viriamu’s not here and all I have to face is the gaping void of my thesis!!!! (which is advancing, incidentally - and I suppose I should get back to it, now that I think about it!)........