Bastille Day

Serenity of Swanwick
Phil and Sarah Tadd
Mon 17 Jul 2017 20:11


There are 77 atolls in the Tuamotu Archipelago, not all are inhabited, and only a few have passes in the reef that a boat can get through. Kauehi is one of seven atolls in a UNESCO biosphere reserve, and the whole area is a popular site with divers. The water is amazingly clear, and the passes are apparently full of fish and sharks.  Fakarava, our next stop, is the best known.


Serenity with other yachts in the lagoon


This is what you expect from South Pacific atolls


Kauehi, despite being in the reserve, is not a tourist destination, and only has a couple of small guest houses.  It seems almost the only visitors are yachtsmen. The main settlement has two small shops, a church and a post office; its electricity is produced by a generation plant, and the only water is rainwater, so there are huge water tanks besides houses. Other than that it has superb white sand beaches and lots of coconut palms.


Water collection is a serious business


We went to have a look at the Bastille Day celebrations yesterday, and watched a spear throwing contest, where the objective was to spear a coconut on a pole about 10 meters in the air.  We were told there was a big party with dancing in the evening, so we found our way ashore in the dark, navigating round the reefs, and had a meal - there were temporary restaurants in buildings made of woven banana leaf panels around the Petanque square. We waited until 9pm with people sitting around talking and eating, and children playing, but there was still no sign of the 'spectacle' promised by the owner of the restaurant we ate in, so we gave up and came home.



The aim is to spear the coconut on the pole


Out of abut 125 spears thrown, half a dozen stuck.


Did we mention that there are a lot of coconut palms?