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Date: 25 Jul 2012 05:20:00
Title: Manihiki - Part 2

Manihiki part 2  - Motu Life
We were very kindly invited to stay, by the Williams family, on their motu across the other side of the lagoon.  They often take parties of kids from Sunday school camping there, so it sounded like fun.  We headed across the lagoon to a tiny low motu with a couple of lean-to's set up.  What a laugh we had, fishing, swimming, eating and sitting around singing in the evening.
As the motu is perched right near the reef there is a narrow channel between the lagoon and the open sea.  This swooshed in and out giving the kids a white water rafting-style experience.
Cathy cooked up a continual storm with pancakes, fish, and uru all on an open fire.
     
Raking party and eating party under palm leaf roof.  We sung songs till late and slept well, with the crash of the reef in our ears.
 
 
Liz netting for milk fish before breakfast 
   
Shark angels?! saving and releasing sharks that had been trapped in nets and traps
 Cosmo caught nothing - poor love  The girls caught a coconut crab
Paradise beach -which Zinia set her heart on for her birthday  
 
Time sped past, and we missed our first date when we said we were going to leave as that Sunday we went to young Frederick Williams' first Birthday party.  This invovlved a huge kai-kai
  Family Williams
The proud father Papaou carving the pig  
At roughly the same time their sister Helema was carrying the Cook Islands flag around the track of the Olympic Stadium in London.  How strange that we are here for the start of the Olympics, and they are watching their pride and joy get ready to compete at a world level in the Laser 4.7s
 
Zinnia's Birthday was another reason for staying a little longer still.  She was faced with three options.  Stay on Manihiki and have her birthday with people she knows on a motu, go to PukaPuka 200nm West and have a birthday party with no-one she knows, or lastly, sail on to Samoa and go to the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum there.   She chose the first option, so we stayed a little longer.  Back to the Motu we went with a pile of other children, which unsettled her a bit as it was going to be different from the last time.  But with Angelina (Helema's little sister) there, all was going to be fine. 
Before every meal the Cookies have a 'kai-kai' prayer (grace) which is usually simple and a lovely way to pause for a moment to reflect on our days, being thankfully for food, and the people who brought it to us.
        
There was much preparation for the great birthday lunch, and Cathy and Jon have a way of keeping everyone busy whilst still allowing them space to enjoy themselves.
We all made gorgeous plates for the birthday lunch from palm fronds  
The fish was caught that morning
 
Finally it was time to welcome the birthday princess to the party which was done by one of the boys, waving a palm and proclaiming a welcome in Cook Island Maori language as she was led up the path garlanded in a flower crown and necklace     
Z at the head of the table was sung and danced to   
   
Baloon games - always a feature at  PB birthday party
 Forgot the candles so Z had to 'blow out a twig'
 
After almost three weeks on a atoll where we should never have been we were very sad to leave friends behind again.  There was, as usual, much necklace giving, kissing and waving as we left the quay for the last time in the dinghy.  We had said we were going to leave for days, and kept on getting held up by one thing or another, so it was probably a relief for the islanders that we finally pulled away heading West.
Sounds like we had a lucky time too, as weeks later we caught up with another boat who had been there for a few days before the main mooring was broken by a big freighter who tugged on it too hard, and their alternative mooring failed in the middle of the night and left them drifted out to sea before noticing.
 
Post note
Colin and the kid spent most of their time with out a mother or mate whilst we stayed on this glorious island.  I found my self plagued with illness first day here a small spot on my finger appeared to days later this binine mark started to track up my vains and past my elbow.  Really rather scarey.  Then just as I recovered from this I found myself almost unable to walk. 
 
The few things I was able to do with the family and magic folk where wonderful, this is an island not to be missed, magic folk and so much to do.
 
Anyway as a result of all this colin has been left to write up the adventures. This probably means it's a darn site better written and spelt!

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