Yesterday we took a trip to ‘Aunu’u. It was my second time there, and Mary’s first. We started by walking along the coast on the southwest corner of the island.
Then we walked across the middle of the island, through the rain forest.
We found this cove with some amazing cliffs and tidepools on the northeast side.
Walking back towards the village, we saw what may have been a young coconut crab. It was about the size of a grapefruit:
We saw a crab just like this at Tisa’s, and were told it was a juvenile coconut crab. Coconut crabs are a threatened species native to the South Pacific and parts of the Indian Ocean, and are the largest terrestrial invertebrates in the world. They can grow to over three feet wide, weigh over thirty pounds, and live for forty years! Coconut crabs lay their eggs in the ocean, and their young use snail shells for protection, just like hermit crabs. They have pincers strong enough to open coconut shells, but also eat soft fruits and carrion. Once they mature they grow a hard exoskeleton and don’t use snail shells anymore.
I’d like to think that I’ve actually seen them, but I’ve done a little research about coconut crabs and it’s possible that what I’ve seen are land-based hermit crabs instead. I’m really not sure since I haven’t found pictures of juvenile coconut crabs. For more about these extremely interesting creatures, click here: http://pacificislandparks.com/2010/02/14/tree-climbing-crabs/
Overlooking ‘Aunu’u village, across the channel to Tutuila.
On the way back to the ferry dock, we ran into a teacher I work with and her family. Here’s her son fishing for snapper near a beautiful sea arch: