After a 3 day passage from the Marquesas, we arrived at Kauehi Atoll, the
first of the Tuamotu islands we had decided to visit. There are 77 atolls in the
archipeligo, stretching some 1500 km from northwest to southeast and some
500 km east to west. Only about 24 lagoons are acessible to yachts, and of
course 24 atolls is far too many to contemplate visting.
Most of the atolls have at least one 'pass', sometimes 2 or 3.
A few passes are big enough for large,
ships, but most are too shallow or narrow for all but small boats.
This one is quite large, though at mid-tide the water rushes in or out of
the lagoon at up to 5 or 6 knots
(10 to 12 kmh)......
....creating standing waves and large eddies.
It's 6 miles across the lagoon to the only village, where there is a
population of about 400.
Looking out to the anchorage from the dock.
The picture postcard view....
The village church with....
...with it's immaculate interior filled with fresh flowers every day.
The village shop was closed for a week while the owner went to
...was very quiet.
The village school
Locals collecting coconuts. Copra is still a money spinner for them.
Cocunuts are husked, the coconut
meat is dried in the sun, and the it's shipped out to factories which
extract the coconut oil for use in
perfumes and other products.
About to open a coconut with our new machete.....
....while these boys bet on how many fingers they think I'll loose.
Four seems to be the consensus.
These ladies have been out collecting clams which they are now
Marion is asked if she would like to try some raw clam.....
...never one to resist a challenge, down it goes....
Umm, umm, is it rude to spit it out? A pint of guiness might help to
Meanwhile, mama is collecting green coconuts to give us a drink.
In a great display of skill with the machete, each coconut gets 4
and we get one each. There's even a litte plug so you can put it back
in and carry your coconut
around without spilling. Very skilful.
A few black pearl farms dot the lagoon, but it's a pretty laid back
On the way home with our frozen baguette (surprisingly good when thawed
out) we stop to admire
the whales jawbone. Big enough to swallow me and the baguette, so
maybe the story about Jonah
Sandra did some trading with one of the locals and got these black pearls
and shell in exchange for
a Sony CD Walkman!
Leaving the lagoon at slack tide, on our way across to Fakavara, just 30
miles away to the west.