17 deg 14 min South, 150 deg 9 min West
Yes, we are still out here – sorry for the
long delay in posting. We have just left Papeete,
Tahiti where we stayed very busy with
re-provisioning, repairing our satellite mount & running lots of errands.
It’s amazing how much longer those things take when you rely on public
transportation. In this case, we used “le truck” which are
open-aired buses that look right at home in the tropics. We also spent time
visiting with other cruisers. We went to dinner one night with a couple who are
the captain & chef of a 80’ beautiful sailing yacht whose owners are
out of Atlanta.
They shared funny stories about how they do their best (with 2 other crew) to
accommodate all the five star wishes of their boss & his wife. The owners
definitely like the finer things in life as suggested by the 30 (!) strands of
black pearls that they bought (half a million dollars worth) with one strand
for each crew member & the rest for friends & family. Papeete is very, very expensive so we are
excited to leave & get to an isolated anchorage where there is no place to
So far, the highlight of our trip was our stay in
the Tuamotus islands that we visited before Papeete.
We stayed for a week on the atoll of Apataki including
the small island (motu) of Tamoro where we were the sole boat for much of our
stay (they get about 20 boats a year!). We thoroughly enjoyed the few days that
we spent with the Lau family at their pearl farm. When we first went ashore,
the whole family greeted us & gave us coconuts to drink after chopping them
off the tree in their ‘yard’ – a beautiful shell beach.
The middle generation of the family, Alfred &
Pauline, had us to dinner each of the three nights we were there. They run the
pearl farm with Alfred & his hired help doing the hard labor & Pauline
selling the pearls in Papeete
where she lives much of the year as their children attend school there. Assam
is the grandfather & he now makes a living selling vanilla which is very
The Laus entertained us like royalty. They took us
fishing & diving which Bob loved. We spent a wonderful afternoon with them
on an isolated sandy motu (very small island) where they organized a beach BBQ.
Alfred built a palm lean-to for protection from the sun while all the boys went
spearfishing. He then smoked the reef fish (lots of beautiful colors) on the fire
in the traditional way: he placed coral rocks on the coals, put the fish
directly on the rocks & smoked them by covering them with palm fronds. He
served the fish on very large leaves that he had brought from their island
& the fish was delicious.
We have seen quite a few sharks. Below, Evelyn feeds
bits of fish to her pet gray shark. Most of the sharks are not aggressive, but
it is quite a thrill to see them when snorkeling.
After dinner one night, Alfred offered to take us
& the children hunting for coconut crabs (a local delicacy) in his
‘limousine.’ His limousine turned out to be a Caterpillar front end
loader. He lowered the front end loader & 8 of us crawled in -- basically a
big tractor going four wheeling. After no luck in finding the crabs (which, on
average, are about 16” across), we took the tractor to the beach on the
far side of the island & had a bonfire on the beach. It was quite an
The Laus invited us to the baptism of their son on
(the grandfather) is a pastor & performed the baptism in the lagoon. The
whole family sang beautiful hymns on both French & Tahitian. Bob read
passages from their English Bible per their request. It was very hard to leave
Tamaro – we will not forget out time there. The Laus are some of the
nicest, most generous people we have ever met. They have very little in way of
material goods, though they live in paradise and each woman has a big strand of
We’re off to Huahine in the Society
Islands where we hope to do lots of snorkeling & diving.