Playing with the Kiddie Cats

Tue 5 Aug 2014 17:39
16:48.73S 150:59.45W

Damsel fish, Blue Chromis and Clown fish on anemones. 

We found plenty of Kiddie Cats! In fact there were 19 children in Avea bay, from 1 year old to 15 years old. The days started with the early birds heading down in dinghies to the pass complete with surf boards, body boards and paddle boards. The big swell hits that corner of the island continually, producing massive surf on the reef, we hear the constant roar night and day, but the pass allows some of the surf to come through into the lagoon, creating manageable waves as it rolls in over the shallow reef. These are great to try to learn to surf on and the Dad's were as much in evidence as the youngsters. After that most Kiddie Cats had school time, Jon was excused of course but he helped out tutoring our young friends on Field Trip. Come the afternoons the bay was busy with the teenagers playing on wake boards and knee boards towed behind dinghies and with younger ones playing in the sand. Every now and again the air would be punctuated by squeals and giggles as one over loaded paddle board tried to capsize another as the young people moved between the boats.  Families snorkelled and we got Calm Rhino out to sail in the protected waters.

By about 4pm every one came down to a patch of grass alongside the beach to play a community game of volley ball. Players came and went according to their attention spans, most of the skill was directed at avoiding the toddlers meandering across the court and no one was really sure of the score but a great time was had by all. It was a chance for the adults to chat and enjoy a sundowner between games and the kids to burn the last remains of energy and wind down. One by one as the sky darkened the dinghies and paddle boards headed for the bobbing anchor lights and we all returned to our boats for supper and the sleep of those who have been out in sun and sea most of the day.

The highlight of the snorkelling on the reef by the shore was the clown fish in their anemones. They secrete a mucus that makes them immune to the anemone's sting and snuggle down into the tentacles when danger appears. Such fun to watch. I managed to grab a snap of a Picasso Triggerfish too, as it passed over the sandy sea floor. We've been seeing these all through French Polynesia - another example of a fish that could have been designed by a kid with a crayon box!

There is a small hotel and a lovely restaurant on the shore and a short cycle ride will take you along to the next village where there's a little shop. To get there you pass a Marae, the site of an ancient temple, its dramatic black stones contrasting with the green palm trees and blue of the sea and sky.

We had a great few days in company with lovely families but I'm not sure we could keep up the pace long term!