Swimming with a shark

Salsa af Stavsnas
Ellinor Ristoff Staffan Ehde
Sat 13 Jul 2013 06:29
A new morning came to us, on the same anchorage. We started as usual with a morning swim. Breakfast in the cockpit, home made yougurth with fresh mango (but this was the last morning with fresh fruit in the yougurth), fresh baked bread, coffe for the adults and sunshine for everybody.
I took the kids to a beach on the outside of the Muto. But today we where brave and parked the dinghy by a perl farm that has gone bankrupt. We wallked through a mix of ruins and well kept houses. No people, just coconut crabs. Funny enought the doors are unlocked and there are things like knifes, fridges etc in the houses.
On the other side we enjoyed the low tide by walking on the reef and finding different shells. There must be 34billion shells, 560 bilions of coral pieces in that beach and of course 100 times the amount of corns of sand. We counted 138563 eremit crabs and so on... And the kids want to bring everything back to the boat...
Well they are pretty good, they know they can only bring a few small pieces. Erika has found an arm that is of shell material, purple and sits on some kind of anemone when in the sea. But they are washed ashore as single pieces.. These arms are hard and beautyful. Now we have opened a jewelery shop on Salsa, we drill small holes in these shells and Erika makes bracelets and necklaces. It's more fun than going to a store and buy pearls.
Anyway as we where done on the beach we walked across the Muto back to the lagoon side of it, where we left our dinghy.
As we head out a boat with four guys approach in high speed towards us (you see about 2-3 boats a day here), as they come close they wave and smile, and we do the same. They approach the jetty we just left and wave at us showing something big between their hands.
I just laught and smile and head out, they start to wave us back. So we go back and they ask us if we want fish.
As their english is as good as my french we go (with the dinghy)  where they are pointing and that is a huge fish trap we have seen before as we have passed it. The trap is a traditional way they fish here in the Tuamutos (probably in other places as well). They build two big fences between two mutos where the ocean flows in and out to the lagoon. These fences funnel the fish to a gate that they swim into. Once in there it is like a labirynt where the fish ends up in a big cage.
One guy in a wetsuit told me to follow him, take my mask and jump into the cage. He hade a spear gun and he asked me if we wanted the sea bass? Sure I said, -how much?  -No No! He said -nothing!
So in there was also a medium sized shark panicking around and I thought this is going to be interesting. He shot two sea bass and threw them into our dinghy. Then he pointed at Erika and Andreas who now had jumped up on the edge of the cage looking with big eyes on all the fish and the SHARK! He told me to put masks on the kids and have them jump in with us. -No danger? I asked
-No No! He laughted so in went the kids and all three of us could follow him hunting the shark to get it out of the cage, alive.He had no intention of killing the beautyful animal. And finally both won, he got the shark out and the shark was free. While the hunt was on the shark swimmed by us at a distance of 5 cm or so. I asked Andreas if he was afraid. -Me! No, but he was afraid!" big excited smile on his face. I asked the guy to come by our boat when they where done and we handed them a bag with beer. All big smiles!
I should have gone lobster hunting this night but Fernando called us up on the VHF regretting the boat from Papete was late so they hadnt got their fuel, and could not go.
Well we will see if we get another chance.
This afternoon a catamaran came and anchored 20 meters away from us ´so now we have to wear appropriate clothes again