Days in Ahe atoll

South Pacific Familyadventure 2008
Claes Brodin
Wed 18 Jun 2008 01:15
June 13 or 14 -0812:30 pm
I am om my night pass on the way to Rangiroa atoll (85 nm SW of Ahe),
flat seas, no wind, full moon. We are motoring .
We spent 10 unforgetable days in the Ahe atoll, in the Tuamoto
archipielgo. Our portuguese friends Marco and Margarita, ombord Navigo,
Pierre from France (boat with no name) and we were trapped in the Ahe
atoll due to heavy winds, unable to leave until calm seas. Within the
atoll we were well protected. and we hade plenty of time to know and enjoy
being with these enormously friendly and good hearted polinesian people.
Ahe is the smallest of the Tuamoto atolls and is a center for black-pearl
Thanks to Marco, the curiosity of Carolina, and some basic french
speaking, we learn to know the black pearl farmer Hiti-Nui and his
constellation of family and friends: Maru (his wife) Soraya (dotter), Abe
(16y old nephew) and his workers (almost his famiy) , Lei-Lai, Muki, Maui,
Barack Obama
Hiti-Nui (called boss ) is the owner of the farm, he is only 22 years old
and have a very carismatic personality, he was mostly quite, did not say
too much, but had a fantastic smile, and everybody respected him. In his
pictoresque sea house, family and workers live together. people comes and
go, and eat dinner together.
People in the atoll, spend their days farming the pearls, harpun fishing,
rowing with their typical kanots (a Polinesian sport). The women gather
together every evening, 7 days a week, and play volley ball, and
thereafter dance polinesian dances or train work-out. I was playing
several times with them, it was very funny.
Hiti-Nui showed us how black pearl farming works. Since he compete on
kanot, he had several of them in his house and invited us to row another
The family roles are very defined, women take care of the house and
children, and the man supply the family with house and food. Women are
very strong and I saw that man care of them,
Hiti-Nui go fishing with his friends 2 times a week to get food and they
invited us to follow with them. to the atoll pass (the entrance from the
ocean) . It was so nice to see these polinesians on the way to fishing,
they were so happy and like ”boys on a new advenrture” They are extremely
skilled in harpun fishing, they dive at least 20 m down, hold the breath
long and wait for the fish to shut . When they get fish, they immediatly
put it in the boat, since the sharks (that only eat fish) will detect the
dying fish immediatly.
Felix and Claes were also harpuning, and also got fish and octopus,
Carolina Gabriel and me were snorkeling in this fantastic coral reef, full
with color fish and human-apatic black-tip sharks.
Both times, after fishing, they invited us for dinner. Marco and
Margarita, Pierre, and us (from the saling boats) prepare what we could
from our ”skafferi”: Chicken, brownies, rice, potato sallad, creme-brule.
Fresh food is not easy in the atolls. They get supply from a merchant boat
arriving every week, but due to wind conditions the boat had not been in
Ahe for a while. Fresh water is another problem. Their houses have big
cisterns and collect rain water. We managed ourselves thanks to our water
maker (mkes fresh water from salt water) and the cristal clean atoll
Hiti Nui and fam prepared a delicious ”poison cru” (row fish), that is
prepared with daily-fresh fish filé, marinated few minutes in lemon juice,
and served with freshly squeezed coconut milk ………..deliciuos!!!!
Another day, Maui and Stefani (the primary school teacher) invited us to
see the fotbol match Sweden-Greece in their house at 6:00 am. Gabriel and
me (the only fotbol fans in the family) took the dingy early in the
morning to the town, and went to Maui and Stefanis house. Stefany is a
primary school teacher in Ahe, and Maui is an electrician from Pepeete
(Tahiti). He does not have a job in Ahe at the moment, but is taking care
of their 1 year old daugther: ”pappaledig utan bidrag”
It was so nice! to watch the swedish fotbol team, fans, and to listen to
the swedish national song. And imagine how proud we were after the match,
2-0 for Sweden!!
We all (the 3 boats) left Ahe, some hours ago, blowing our ”air horns” to
say farwell to our friends. We were so sad. It has been wonderful to meet
these good-hearted kind, simple and generous people. It reminded me my
farewells from Mexico and my family. The difference is that I can reunite
with my family..but will we come back to Ahe? Will we met Hati-Nui and his
family again?
I have been thinking wheter western world life stile make us harder,
greedy, materialistic, competitive, stressed. I wonder what Hati-Nui and
his family would think a about us if they could share some of our normal
life days.