Skipper and First Mate Millard (Big Bear and Pepe)
Tue 16 Jul 2013 22:57
Our First Raiurua Village Bimble on Raivavae Island
We got up this morning to really heavy rain, so postponed our trip ashore. After lunch it was time to pay a visit to the Gendarmerie to check in. Off in Baby Beez zig-zagging around the coral reef behind Beez. We found a little dock right next to the smart Police Station. Bear rang the bell at the locked gate and tried to work out what the recorded message was saying. I sat in a picnic shelter opposite, and watched as Bear tried the message translating process once more. It was half past two and according to the times on the gate, lunch break had finished half an hour before. A few minutes later a local came jogging down the road in trainers, tee shirt and shorts, he looked about fourteen. He smiled at Bear, leaned over the gate and ran around the building out of sight. We assumed he was going to rouse the duty constable. A minute later he welcomed us through the door – he was the duty constable. After he politely seated us, he pointed to the clock – half past one, ooops, no wonder the place was closed. We apologised, we had thought about putting our clocks back an hour at sea but clearly we had forgotten all about it. Brian (our young officer) spoke a few words of English, we still automatically think of words in Spanish but between the three of us completed the logging in business. Brian asked us to wait a minute while he called his colleague in. Tony arrived in minutes dressed in flip flops, tee shirt and shorts, he spoke better English and asked us to move Beez “to the other side of the bay as the boat races begin tomorrow”, we were parked right in the middle of the track. The officers told us we were the tenth boat in this year, this includes both westbound and eastbound traffic (Raivavae is a common first stop coming direct from New Zealand). We all shook hands and they bade us a happy stay. Time for us to bimble.
Outside the Station we saw our first racing boats.
Very sleek but very narrow.
A new church nearly finished at the waters edge.
The High Street. Raiurua is one of the two villages on the island, the total population is around a thousand. Growing taro and fishing are the main industries – strangely no pearl farms. We asked a lady why we have seen no fishing boats out and about, she shivered and said “not at this time of the year, it’s winter and the sea is too rough”, looking at us sagely as if we were nuts to be sailing in the winter. There is a little tourism and some people from here work in Tahiti, senior schooling is mostly attended there too – where English is taught as well as Tahitian, of course the main language is French.
The village hall looks recently finished.
A motorised row boat with Beez, all alone, in the distance.
A modern ball court next to the school, a typical house and we actually saw and heard finches.
A usual one careful owner and a very different one for us.
The Medical Centre.
Flowers in the gardens, but what a unique garden wall – painted and filled oil drums.
A market garden growing coconuts on the waters edge.
We walked toward the wharf and found a typical festival ‘mall’, a couple of the locals spoke very good English and we were told that next Monday for three days would see the dancing and drumming event, the boat races would bring people in to the eateries too. A car just completing a three point turn stopped mid action just to say “bonjour”. A man with a handful of peanuts to his mouth let go of the steering wheel to wave and everyone we met or passed smiled that Polynesian welcome. We asked about butter and the lady who owned one of the shops said she would be closed tomorrow as she was racing but if we walked along the road now she would open up for us in a few minutes. Off we went.
Waiting for the lady to arrive to open up the ‘supermarket’.
Bright smiles once again welcomed us into the well stocked shelves. The freezer looks a bit low but the supply ship is due in on Friday. I winced at the price of the eggs – forty five pence each, but then thinking about free-range in the UK it is not so frightening. Two tins of butter, twenty eggs, three packets of biscuits (we generally have a few as breakfast and on duty munchies), a small bottle of Sprite and Coke came to twenty four pounds, OUCH. Bear did point out that this can be offset against no entry fees and free anchoring – very true – but no major stocking up here though.
The wind had picked up by the time we got back to Baby Beez. Soaked to the skin was an understatement as Bear took us into a northerly on the nose over, sideways and under three foot waves. I stripped and showered as fast as I could. Bear knew he had to do the anchor so braved it at Beez nose. We moved as requested to the other side of the bay in twenty two knots of wind.
Thrilled to settle and shut up shop nearer to the backdrop, now just behind us, beyond coral beds.
ALL IN ALL SUCH WELCOMING PEOPLE
A VERY FRIENDLY ISLAND