Chumbe Island - Birgus latro and the old hermit on the island

 
We've had some down time between our two neap tides, so most days I've just spent reading and exploring Stone Town. Managed to get properly lost for a little while and enjoyed myself immensly trying to get back to more familiar grounds.
But we've also had a day of checking out Chumbe, our next site where we'll start working tomorrow morning. Chumbe is an island about an hour away from Stone Town and it's sort of a combination of a protected area with a resort. I've tried my best to capture the beauty of Chumbe, but I'm afraid I've failed completly. The underwater pictures I'll have to save for another day. I know I'll take a few hundred more during the following days there and I'll just put them all here at once for you guys. For now, you'll have to do with the above-water pictures.
We got to stay in the staff building, which was incredible. Preferred having to walk through part of the jungle to get to it, that way we saw so many more things. Walking there, we constantly heard the clanging and rustling of hermit crabs banging their shells against the many rocks on the island. I have never seen such big ones before, couldn't stop watching them run around with their stolen homes. Other times, paradise flycatchers (a bird, for those of you that care) took flight among the mangroves and just left us with our mouths wide open in awe.
Since we were working and checking out the seagrass beds we couldn't join the tourists on their forest walk, so we took one of our own later in the afternoon. It was absolutely amazing, there are no other words for it. The whole island is made out of dead corals, so it's literally walking on top of a forested coral reef, which is a very strange feeling. There are fossilised corals around every corner, caves that are home to a number of weird animals and vines entangling themselves in their attempts to reach sunlight.
Climbed the lighthouse too. There should be a lighthouse in my story, somewhere. It's on Chumbe.
Some of the friends in and around our hut. Counted to 12 geckos in the bathroom in the morning. Pretty decent sized ones, most of them. Nothing like here in Stone Town. The best surprise was having a green tree snake crawl in through the window next to my bed. Me and Elisa both got overly excited to see it and eventually it got sick of us and left to digest its lunch. Seems to have been one of the geckos.
This monster is probably what Chumbe is most known for. It's a coconut crab and about three quarters the size of my arm. At sunset, these giants crawled out of the caves all over the island and began to walk around, minding their own business. I knew they had them on the island, but didn't expect it to be so easy to spot one. They were literally everywhere and we had to stop several times on the way back to our house to make sure we didn't step on them. Trust me, you don't want to mess with a crab the size of a human baby.
I don't really know what words to use to sum this up. Chumbe was more than I expected and it really is a place worth protecting. My explorer heart just felt ready to burst any minute, there was always something new around every corner. And even the things you normally wouldn't notice just fascinate you there. Like the sound of hermit crabs scuttling out of the way for the coconut crabs. I've seen the Goliath of all crabs and everywhere there was the smell of thousands of forest flowers.
No, I give up. There are no words for it.

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