Return to Tassie

We arrived back mid October after a wonderful two month visit to Canada. It was great to see all the family. It was a bit of a road trip, driving between Montreal, Ontario and New Brunswick to see everyone. The grandchildren are growing fast. We were there for Cole’s first day at Kindergarten. Eleanor is a real cutie. She likes unicorns, so Liliane painted one for her room.

We also had a very nice time with Liliane’s family in Quebec. We stayed at her sister Jeannine and her husband Louis’ house. We had Liliane’s book, “The Adventures of Brandy the Sailor Dog” printed while we were in Ontario. Jeannine bought the first copy. Liliane also had the chance to spend her birthday (a little bit early) with her sister.

Jeannine buys 1st copy

Birthday Girl

Fall colours

 

Our Cruising Friends

While in Quebec we had a renunion with cruising friends, most of whom we first met in Grenada seven years ago. Annie and Ghislain (SV Myriam) who have completed their circumnavigation hosted the event. Also attending; Lise and Sylvain (SV Vanilla), Mélanie and Jean Frédéric (SV Dorénavent), Carmelle and Yvon (SV Taima) also circumnavigators, and Joanne and Serge (SV Spirare). Ironically, Joanne and Serge are here in Tasmania as well and were also back visiting in Canada.We hope to host the next reunion in 5 years.

Liliane also contacted her college friends. They reunited after many years. Perhaps 30+

College Friends

During our New Brunswick trip we visited with both my older brothers. At Moose Mountain, Peter put me to work splitting and stacking firewood for the winter. When he gave me some time off, Liliane, Mary and I climbed Moose Mountain. Coming back down the trail we spotted a black bear ahead of us. The Australians always mention the fact that we have bears in Canada, and I have always joked that I have only ever seen them in zoos. Seeing one in the wild was a first for me.

With My Brother Peter (I’m the good looking one)

Moose Mountain Trail

 

 

Now that we are back in Tasmania we are out cruising again. The days are getting longer and the temperature warmer. We plan to be in Tasmania until April at which time we start the long journey up the east Australian coast.

As nice as any beach in the tropics

 

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Tasmania Part 3- Sailors to Farmers

We have just completed six weeks of shore leave, house and animal sitting. The first three weeks were in Lauderdale (not far from Hobart) looking after Ruby the Bernese Mountain dog. She was a little shy of us at first (who are these strangers in my house), but after bribing her with walks every day, lots of brushing and some treats, we were finally accepted. She was even protective in the end. She was a lot of fun, reminded us how much we miss having a dog in our life. The area was nice, we could walk the beach and the canal.

Ruby the Mountain Dog

Beach close by

 

The next three weeks were in Wattle Grove (near Cygnet) looking after two cute dogs, a cat, three geese, six hens, and three pregnant goats. Morning feeding was a lot of fun. Just after sunrise the three geese (Elvis and his two ladies) would knock on the window telling us it’s time for breakfast. When we approached with food there would be plenty of honking and wing flapping. But you had to keep an eye on Elvis because he would like to run over and try and bite. Next the hens were let out to roam and we would check for eggs. We would usually find one every day. But they were tricky. You had to find where they were laying them. Freshest eggs we have ever eaten. Last but not least the goats. Ethel, the herd queen was the boss. She would eat first and push the others away. You had to keep an eye on her as well as she would try and ram you. Enad, the other one with horns was a little more docile. Penny (poor Penny) had no horns so she was pushed around by the other two. We had to feed her separately while the other two were busy eating. We learned a lot about these animals, that we would never have goats and geese! Great fun though for us for a few weeks. Also terrific sun rises most mornings, as well as mist laying down in the valley.

Elvis and his two ladies knocking

Where’s my boat?

 

 

 

 

 

Ethel watching her meal being prepared

Ethel giving me the evil eye

Penny getting special treatment

 

 

 

 

 

 

Magnificent sunrises

Morning mist in the valley

 

 

 

 

 

 

The rest of the pack

 

During these six weeks Liliane succeeded in her mission of finishing her children’s book as well as painting twelve illustrations. The book will soon be printed and we will have copies to give away to our family and the children in the islands that we will be visiting.

While in Cygnet we also got together to play music with a neighbour, Robin who we had met at an open mic. Ironically our cruising friends Serge and Joanne (SY Spirare) had house sat for her earlier. Small world.

We also went up to the Huonville Mid-Winter Music Festival. A well done event, over seven thousand people the Saturday we were there. The theme was around wassailing. The purpose of wassailing is to awake the cider apple trees and to scare away evil spirits to ensure a good harvest of fruit in the Autumn. That and of course great food and music.

Wassailing

Massive bonfires

 

When will it ever warm up?

We’ll finish with one of the craziest things we have ever done. No, not selling our house and buying a boat. At the end of Dark Mofo (a two week gothic themed winter festival in downtown Hobart) there is the Nude Solstice Swim on June 21. It marks the return of the sun after the longest night (shortest day) of the year. At 7:30 am that morning we were standing on the beach with a thousand other people with only a towel around us in 4 degree C air temperature. Fire poles were a blazing and Tibetan monks were pounding on a drum. Then the starter pistol fired and we all dropped our towels and ran into the 14 degree C water. It is an amazing feeling running naked and screaming with a thousand other people into the water. It is quite emotional actually. We were one the lasts ones out (Liliane was enjoying it!) The trick coming back to the beach was to find your towel, or any towel for that matter. Seems more people showed than were expected. Something we will remember for the rest our our lives. And we got to keep the really cool red cap.

Waiting for the signal

Can you spot us?

Now getting reading for our trip back home to Canada for a couple of months. Can’t wait to  see the the grandkids and all the all the rest of our families. Get to tell all our stories!

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Tasmania -Part 2

It’s warm in the cockpit!

It’ s mid June now. The days are getting shorter and a bit colder. Especially when the southerlies roll through. Then, the sun will come out and we will have nice days where the temperature reaches +15. We are still loving Tasmania. For the past six weeks we have been out cruising. Enjoying many of the anchorages we missed on the way down the east coast in January. This time of year we have most anchorages all to ourselves.

 

Walking the beach and hiking trails fill our days along with painting and music.

Painting by Liliane for her book

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A couple of times we tried to leave for Port Davey, but the boat had other ideas. That’s now on next summers plan. Here is a highlight of some of the areas we have explored:

Recherche Bay -One of our favourite anchorages. It is the last stop on the south east coast before heading out into the southern ocean to Port Davey. There are great all-weather anchorages in the bay, as well as a wonderful two hour walk in Southwest National Park to South Cape. Stunning scenery.

South Cape Bay

South Cape Bay

Bruny Island / D’Entrecasteaux Channel -Great sailing in protected waters. Out of the ocean swell. Some of the best protected anchorages. More developed, less of a sense of isolation. Salmon farms.

Looking for phone signal

Old Man of the Sea, South Bruny Is

 

 

 

 

 

 

Huon River / Cygnet – We enjoyed the town of Cygnet. Music there (we played at an open mic at the Red Velvet). Huge Folk Festival in January that we would like to see next year. We will also be doing some house / pet sitting near Cygnet in July.

Eastern Tasman Peninsula -Fortescue and Pirates Bay. We started noticing thousands of leather jacket fish washed up on the beaches. Apparently they get pulled south by the current into colder water and die. We saw them on every beach north of here.

Rounding Cape Raoul

Canoe Bay

Trail walk, Fortescue Bay

Chasing Seagulls, Fortescue Bay

Walk to Cape Hauy

The Lanterns, Cape Hauy

The Lanterns

Cape Hauy

Fortescue Bay

Leather Jackets

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maria Island -Our favourite spot. The whole island is a national park. No houses or vehicles (except for the park rangers). Full of wombats, wallabies, kangaroos, birds and of course Tasmanian Devils.

Maria Island

Lili and the Wombat

Mom and baby

Painted Cliffs, Maria Island

Largest shell we’ve seen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Devil tracks?

 

Shouten Island & Freycinet Peninsula. – More wild and beautiful anchorages. Wineglass Bay, the most photographed spot. We stopped there on the way down the coast last January and shared the spot with about 15 other boats. This time we had the place to ourselves. At Shouten Island, there is a walk up to a waterfalls with natural pools on the edge of the cliff. It was cold but inviting!

Shouten Island “au natural”

Wineglass Bay

Wineglass Bay, Meikyo in the distance

Lili and the Wallaby

We didn’t feed him

But he kept trying

Nudibranch in a tide pool, Wineglass Bay

The “Meikyos”, Wineglass Bay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are now back in Hobart getting ready to do some house & dog sitting for a few weeks. Dark Mofo is on, it is a winter festival celebrating centuries old winter solstice rituals. There are a lot of happenings downtown over the next 10 days. We went to the Winter Feast. It was pretty amazing.

Winter Feast, Dark Mofo

We signed up but are trying to work up the courage to do the nude solstice swim at dawn June 21st, celebrating the return of light after the longest day of the year. If we do it, there won’t be any pictures posted!

Here are a few other interesting pictures in our travels:

Seahorse, dinghy dock RYCT

Interesting mushrooms

Bay of Fires

Interesting Rocks

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Tasmania -Part 1

We arrived in Tasmania on January 23, stopping a night in Babel Island then over to Flinders for three nights waiting for the wind to shift in our favour. These anchorages looked really nice but the swell was breaking on the beach so we didn’t venture to shore. We plan to come back to this area (including Deal Island) at a later date to explore more fully. Then it was on to Wineglass Bay.

Entrance to Wineglass Bay

It is as beautiful as the pictures suggest. Six dolphins came around the boat for a good 10 minutes. It was a very nice surprise. It is definitely on our must return list, as we could only spend one night as the wind was shifting NE.

Wineglass Bay

From there it was an overnight to Hobart. We were able to secure a marina berth, which was lucky for us given that the Australian Wooden Boat Festival was starting the following week. The festival is a bi-annual event, drawing a quarter of a million visitors over the four days. It was great fun, more of a big party vs your typical boat show. Wooden boat owners showing off their vessels, several large traditional sailing ships, demonstrations of wooden boat building techniques, lots of food and music. We are glad we didn’t miss it. We met up with Hillary and Brian (SY Taranui) as well as Norm (a fellow musician we met in Bundaberg ).

Wooden Boat Festival

Tasmanian Devil

While in Hobart when not doing a few boat maintenance tasks, we visited the Bonorong Wildlife Refuge and saw our first Tasmanian Devil, as well as Wombats, Echidna, other exotic creatures and of course kangaroos. We took in the beautiful view from the top of Mt. Wellington which overlooks Hobart. We also did a nice trail walk at Mt Field National Park. Then it was MONA (Museum of Old and New), which was very interesting to say the least.

Then we left for Bruny Island. We anchored in a few places and went hiking whenever we could. Very beautiful scenery and rock formations. A few nights in a row we had strange little visitors coming to our underwater light. We had never seen these kind of creatures before. We finally took a picture of them and sent it to a friend for identification. For now we will call them the “packman ghost”.That’s what they look like.

More Devils

Baby Wombat

From Bruny Island we went to the Tasman Peninsula, more specifically to the Port Arthur Historic Site. Port Arthur is one of the 11 Unesco World Heritage Australian Sites. It was a prison between 1830 and 1877. We also did the Historic Ghost Tour of the site during the late evening. Did we see any ghosts…? The Queen Mary 2 came in while we were there, very impressive.

 

Koala

Echidna

After our visit to Port Arthur, we anchored around the corner at Ladies Bay were we met a few people from the “Cruising Yacht Club of Tasmania” CYCT. We spent a couple of evenings on the beach with them. We had our first taste of Abalone. It is very very good. It taste like a creamy refined scallop. We had such a good time with them we decided to joined the club. We are now official members of the CYCT and will soon be flying the club burgie.

From there we left for Cygnet to meet with our potential House Sitting opportunity. The owners were very nice and it will be an interesting change to look after three goats, two dogs, a cat and some choocks. We also meet with a group of local musicians and Liliane was asked to perform a few songs at a local coffee shop.

 

 

Albino Possum

Lili and Kangaroo

Feeding the Emu

We mentioned that we would be doing a bit of house sitting, as we have decided to stay the winter in Tasmania rather than sail north to warmer climates on the mainland. There is a lot to do and see here, and very good cruising. Two or three months is not enough to do it justice. We have a good heater on the boat, but we would like to cover June and July house sitting before we leave for Canada August and September (where it’s still summer!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

So there will be a Tasmania Part 2 at a later date!

And finally, a new song by Liliane; “I’m on a Bad Road”

Falls -Mt Field

Mt Field National Park

Another Interesting Beach

Top of Mt Wellington

Cape Raoul

Port Arthur

Ghost Tour -Where’s the Ghost?

Prison Wing

Prison Ruins

Port Arthur Prison Cell

Ghost Guides … Liliane (in red) Volunteered

Fluted Cape Bruny Island

Fluted Cape Beach Art

Night Creature -Pacman Ghost?

Cruising Yacht Club Tasmania -Sundowners on the Beach

Beautiful Alien Visitor

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Riding The EAC

We are currently in Eden, NSW. Eden is a former whaling station, now considered the best place in Australia to witness the annual Humpback Whale migration. It is also one of the rare places in the world where you can observe the whales feeding. Besides the Humpback whale, the Orca, Southern Right and sometimes the Blue whale can be seen. Eden is also the departure port for boats like us that are planning to sail further south to Tasmania.

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Killer Whale Musem

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Relaxed at anchor Eden

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Dingo Do’s and Dont’s -Fraiser Island

We arrived here after four big hops down the coast from Bundaberg, a distance of about 800 nm. The EAC by the way is East Australia Current, and man does it move. Sailing down the coast is like riding a conveyor belt. (We were so impressed that Liliane wrote a song about it …recording to come ). We would pickup the southbound current about 15-20 miles off the coast. The other thing to contend with are sand bars at many of the port entrances which must be timed with the incoming tide to transit safely. On our leg from Mooloolaba to Iluka/Yamba, we needed to slow the boat down so as not to arrive to early to cross the bar. First time we ever dropped all the sails and were still doing 4 to 5 kts. We even dragged some lines to slow us a bit. The fun will be when we need sail back up the coast later this year. Hugging the coast on the way up seems to be the strategy.

We stopped at Mooloolaba to visit our friends Sheryl and Ian (formerly on Faraway) who we met in 2010 in Panama, then again in the Marquesas. They have a beautiful home near the beach just north of Mooloolaba. We stayed with them a couple of nights and they showed us the sights in the area.

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With Sheryl & Ian at the Market

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Walking Gizmo and Lucy

Think they have been bitten by the boat bug again, as they are out looking at catamarans. It seems difficult for former cruisers to every truly leave the the sea behind.

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Beach near Sheryl & Ian’s

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Kangaroos on the Golf Course

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Noosa National Park

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Mooloolaba Beach

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Tide Pools

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Button Jelly Fish

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More Kangaroos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

img_1164We spent a week anchored at Iluka in the Clarence River where we met up again with our friends Joanne and Serge on Spirare. We did a lot of great rain forrest and beach walks. From there we did a two day run (Christmas at sea!) down to Broken Bay.

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Xmas morning at sea

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Liliane and Joanne -Fearless

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Our tree this year

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Beach Rules

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Natural Rock Art

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Kayaking Akuna Bay

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Kayaking Akuna Bay

Next was a 36 hour sail to Eden. We purposely skipped Sydney, much to busy this time of year, with the plan to spend time there on the way back up the coast in April.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have been busy playing music and Liliane has just finished another song called “Drinking Rain Water In My Hands”. It is a great song that describes the freedom and wonder of living a life on the water. Have a listen:

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The Artist at Work

Joanne purchased a copy of the song “Friends” (Liliane’s first sale!). Here is the photo to prove it.

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Happy Transaction

Eden is a nice spot to wait for the weather to cross the Bass Strait. The next week outlook does not look promising, so one day at a time. Meanwhile a few small boat projects, fill the boat up with diesel and play more music.

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Sandy Straits, Queensland Australia

After five years sailing in the South Pacific, we have finally made it to Australia. The six day passage from New Caledonia to Bundaberg was a really nice downwind trip. Much more pleasant than the five previous trips to New Zealand! We joined the Sail Down-under  Rally (a first for us) from Noumea. It was a fun week in Bundaberg with the 40 other boats. Many activities, presentations and evening events. One of the first things we did was look for some other musicians.

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Jamming with Norm and Steve

We hit it off with Steve and Norm, playing a few jam sessions together. John, the rally organizer, heard one of the songs Liliane wrote (Friends) and insisted that she play it at the closing event of the rally. Brent and Ana, on Impi, also asked if they could use the song on their YouTube (here is the link)  blog. They raise money to help the volunteer veterinarians in the islands. The song is featured about halfway through and again at the end of the video. The version of the song we used was the one we recorded  with Dave earlier this year in New Zealand (thanks Dave and Margaret!) If you want to hear it, go into the page “Songs By Liliane”.

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Closing the Rally with the song “Friends”

 

Australia is a very different country and huge (hey, not as big as Canada though). Bundaberg is sort of half way down the east coast. That means we still have about 1,200 miles of sailing to do to reach Tasmania, our objective this year. We will do it in a few hops. Lot’s to see and do along the way.

 

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Wish we could have jammed with him

Australia also has a lot of things that can sting, bite or eat you. We got a sense of this at Snakes Downunder, a local zoo that features some of the worlds most venomous snakes, salt water crocs, as well as kangaroos and cute koalas. Here are a few pictures from our day at the zoo:

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Cute when they are little, but still bite

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A “nice” snake

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You don’t mess with Momma

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Is that your tail inside my shorts?

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Big grasshoppers!

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A pet for Cole and Eleanor

 

Also, here are a few pictures from New Caledonia since our last post. We really enjoyed the Southern lagoon and Ouvea in Loyalty Islands. We would have liked to stay longer, but had to rush back to Noumea for medical and chest x-rays for our Australian visas.

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Ouvea

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Liliane Treating

 

 

 

 

 

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View from the top

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Our new pet, a Giant Trevally

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Beachcomber

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Early morning with the mantas

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Our local guide

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Church in the cave

 

 

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Ile des Pins, New Caledonia

We finally left New Zealand. Seemed like we were waiting forever for favourable conditions. We got away early August and arrived after a seven day passage. New Caledonia is a further south than Fiji and Tonga, so it is a little cooler here. Actually our 3mm wetsuits aren’t quite warm enough, but we tough it out. Especially since there is so much to see snorkelling. You will see in a couple of the pictures below,  a cuttlefish  changing appearance in a matter of seconds. First time we saw one of these. Really cool. We also encountered dolphins, whales, sharks, sea snakes and large remoras under the boat waiting to be fed. The sea snakes are amphibian and make there way to land every day. We even encountered them walking to the top of Mato island. They are very passive, neither agressive or shy.

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Cuttltfish in defensive posture

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A second latter more relaxed

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Mount Nga

At Ile des Pins we hiked up Mount Nga with Serge and Joanne (SY Spirare), Lucie and Robert (SY Grace). It is the highest peak on the island at 262 meters. Spectacular view from the top.

Our biggest activity seems to be hunting for fruit and veggies. The supply ship arrived the other day so we are nicely topped up. 50 limes, 20 tomatoes, 20 oranges…………etc etc. The capital Noumea where we checked in has everything. All the delicacies from France. To bad we stopped eating bread.

 

 

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Wildflower on Mt Nga

 

The internet is difficult for us to get. When we leave Ile des Pins we probably won’t have internet until we arrive back in Noumea late October in preparation for our departure to Australia. So it will be trusty old radio e-mail until then.

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Natural Pool Baie D’Oro

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Bathing Beauty in Natural Pool

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Grotto

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Kouaré Island

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Very venomous but docile

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Mouth is to small to bite us

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