Bonjour et la Orana Boatblog® fans,
Welcome to our Catchup from Tuamotu.
Here we are again, reporting back from the very heart of the centre of the middle of nowhere; the Tuamotus a series of coral atolls somewhere deep in the Pacific. They really are the quintessential tropical islands with turquoise waters, coral reefs and palm trees.
Our first stop after Fakarava was one of the smaller, less visited atolls called Kauehi (pronounced Kah-oo-eh-hi – it’s quite tricky, but you say all the vowels in French Polynesia).
There are only about 100 people living on the island, so it feels very deserted. All of the young people get sent to school in Tahiti, or make their way to Papeete for work, so there are only very old people and children left here.
(Not saying these are very old people. Actually it is Jeremy from Next Step and Andy from Kari of Lymington.)
The only industries here are tourism which has died because of Covid, copra – which is getting oil and other things out of a coconut, and black pearls which they farm. Not a lot of people know this, but a black pearl starts it’s life being seeded on a tree.
Who’d have thought this is how a pearl earing begins?
It is sad that when you get to the windward side of the island, the beach is absolutely covered in plastic. This is not from the locals, but has drifted here from civilisation.
“Sunview – The Best From The West.”
We did our best with Caroline and Andy from Kari of Lymington to clean it up a bit, but it’s a daunting task.
It’s very expensive here. If it’s not a fish or a coconut it has to be imported. For example, a bag of crisps is thirteen dollars. OK, so that was a big bag, but even for a dedicated crisp-oholic such as Ju that’s a bit much, so we had poisson cru instead. Which is raw tuna marinated in coconut milk. Very tasty, and sadly a lot healthier than a bag of salt and vinegar.
Unfortunately, for much of our time in Kauehi it was raining, and we spent a lot of it on the boat sitting out a storm.
And when it rains, it rains.
But at least it’s warm rain.
As soon as the weather let up, we set off for Rangiroa, about twenty-four hours’ sail to the north west, where we rejoined a number of other Sailors of the Lost ARC.
Nick from Maximillian and Alan from Island Wanderer had rigged up their paddle board as a water ski. It was brilliant fun – just like water skiing but slower.
The next day we went to a place called The Blue Lagoon which is a lagoon within the lagoon, and even by Polynesian standards is stunning.
It’s probably not the most original name that they could have come up with, but it seems to sum it pretty well.
It really is somewhere that should to be on everyone’s bucket list. (With the possible exception of Alan. The only way here is by boat, then another little boat Al. Not good if you get seasick.)
We went spearfishing for lunch, and caught a parrot fish.
…or as Monty Python would say, an Ex-parrot fish.
You don’t throw your scraps to the dog in French Polynesia.
Not a good time to go paddling.
While we were waiting for lunch our guide showed us some of the local skills.
Start with a leaf…
Make a few folds…
Do you know what it is yet?
Eat your heart out Mr Gucci.
Just time to go to the spa with our friends before we had to go back to the boat.
The next day we went diving and saw our first manta ray.
And then the dolphins came to play.
And like most of us, they love nothing more than a tummy rub, which seems to put them into a sort of daze.
Then it was back to the boat with the crew of Volunteer to put the evening’s cabaret together.
…with dancers from Easter Island.
But now the winds are building…
…and the forecast tells us that a storm is heading our way, so it’s time to move on. Next stop, The Iles de la Societe.
Nana and au revoir for now, as they say over here.
Ju & Lyn
PS – Have we got time for a gratuitous sunset?
(Go on then – Ed)