Our feast last Tuesday night was all we expected and more. Valentine served 2 kinds of raw fish - traditional poisson cru and hot and cold sashimi - grilled tuna and grilled lobster, rice and bread made with coconut milk and chocolate cake for dessert. What a lot of work! Including Valentine and Gaston there were 11 people.
Since then we have done a couple more snorkels, the fish here are amazing. On one a saw not 1, but 2 octopus. Josh has done some more spearfishing, even though Valentine and Gaston tell us to just go get fish from the fish trap.... We did two hooka dives, one outside of the reef which was okay and one on a coral head on the way to the Pink Sand motu. That one was pretty nice, cool coral formations lots of fish and even a lemon shark to check us out. We did that one with Doug and Carla and then afterwards met Valentine and Gaston on the Pink Sand motu for a picnic lunch. Ever the busy people, by the time we arrived they had many piles of dead palm leaves and trash burning, as well as more tuna on the grill. The Pink Sand motu is very cool, small but has lots of soft sand around it. I guess they harvest copra there. One of there dogs entertained us by chasing small reef sharks in the shallows. Gaston says he quite often catches them too!
We had another potluck/bbq last Thursday, seems to be the Thursday thing to do. By then we had 2 different boats in the anchorage, so got to try some different things. The couple from s/v Irene (Finnish boat - made me feel like I was in Crystal Falls) made smoked fish on the grill and a Finnish salted raw fish dish, I made potato salad, Carla made canneloni, Valentine had bread and rice and of course fish, and s/v Evan (a couple from Madagascar with a 3 yr old boy and a 9 yr old girl) brought mac and cheese and a chocolate torte for the little girl's birthday which was that day. I think I could live here.....
We have also done some exploring with Doug and Carla. We went to a motu north of us one afternoon, and to the west of the pass right here by the anchorage. We walked the whole way around that one, picked up several bouys for Valentine and Gaston. The bouys wash up on the motus and Valentine and Gaston collect up the good ones, send them to here family on Apataki who then resell them for them. Her nephew came on Saturday and took the 600 they had collected back with him to Apataki.
Monday when we ventured off the boat we walked around the main motu here. There is actually a small pension here, and my understanding is that it is currently closed because they have no means of transporting people back and forth from Fakarava. They used to have a 22 foot boat that they used, but the motor died. They will be getting a new motor soon, partly financed by the bouys that they pick up. They have quite the managerie here as well, 5 dogs, the requisite chickens, pigs and a pet frigate bird named UmuUmu. The fishing boat that brought the Tuna last week came again (sadly no Tuna) and brought them new coolers and chicken. Valentine shared the chicken with us, she said it was too much for them, and I also think they don't have enough freezer space to keep it.
We ventured off the boat again yesterday, mostly just to get off, but also to see if we could burn some trash. They had family here from Fakarava and they had gone fishing. Wow - amazing number of parrot fish, they filleted some, and strung some whole. They will take it to Fakarava and Tahiti to sell. Valentine again shared some fish filets with us - yum. Josh and Doug cleaned the bottom of Moondance yesterday as well.
We will spend the rest of today prepping the boat for the trip to Rangiroa and will go in one more time to say good bye to Valentine and Gaston. We will miss them, but will have great memories of our time here.
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