If you pick a stick- and it is a muray!

Salsa af Stavsnas
Ellinor Ristoff Staffan Ehde
Mon 8 Jul 2013 05:44
Still on the same spot. The wind was howling outside the Muto but we slept well.
After a wonderful breakfast and a morning swim I took the kids on an expedition.
Ellinor took the opportunity to paint.
We drove the dinghy north and found the passage between two Mutos, it is shaped like a delta with "islands" between the streaming water. We went into a stream that was moving slowly into the atholl (going high tide). Anchored in absolutely clear water.
Lots of fish of course, they love streaming water. The kids played on the island, or should I say, they where treasure hunting. So many shells, so many corals you could fill Salsa and sink with it...
I went for a short snorkeling swim at the end of the coral floor, where the water gets deep inside the lagoon. The first guy that greeted me was a murray with a head big as a football, he or she warned me very clearly by shooting out a bit and open the mouth, very respectable.
Lots of fish and there was a cleaning station, also typical for a place with fresh current. What you find there are small fishes (putsarfisk) that clean other fish I only know the Swedish name for them. As I headed back towards the children I swam up on the coral table and a medium sized black tip shark swam away.
After a while we decided to walk on the ocean side of the bigger Muto, so we crossed the channel and it felt like getting over a flowing river. On the outside you will find something more beachlike then on the inside. White sand mixed with coral and lots of shells. Crabs everywhere. And there is a huge crab running between the coconut trees that is specialised in opening coconuts, so you can imagine the size of the claw. If you eat them they shall taste like crabmeat in coconut sauce.
Time went fast, we had a pampelmousse for fruit and soon we had to head back to the boat. Andreas fell and hurt himself on coral so he demanded professional help.
Lunch with lentals and I had it with Tika Masala (nobody else likes that)
Ellinor had some afternoon sleep. I wrote the book. The kids where playing quietly.
Then we took off again and brought Ellinor with us. We wanted to show her more from an atholl than just the boat at anchor.
We had a great afternon together. Lots of fun with hermit crabs...
Tonight I made beans with a recipe fron Sunrise and as usual it smelled like we where with them (sigh).
What about an atholl?
The environment is not as untouched as you might think. This atholl at least is scattered with houses on stilts that are used for those that work with black pearls. But you can tell that most of the business has gone bankrupt (2003).
They grew and still grow black pearls from a very special mussle called black lip mussel. Her mother of pearls is very deep colored and the pearls they can get out of them are shining more on the dark to black side of the colors. There was a boom in the economy for those that started to grow them but then it went bust. So at least the part we have seen from this atholl you find houses that are falling apart, lots of stilts, ropes, buoys etc from the industry. It is far from what the people that live here looks like in the book "Villervalle i Söderhavet" ( aSwedish book from 1940 about a family from Sweden that move to Tuamutos and the island of Fangataufa. That island is by the way neighbour with the Mururoa Atholl and subsequently nobody gets near those atholls).
So the islanders on Manihi at least have today concrete houses, power and lights, outbord engines and make money from fishing or pearlfarming.
Some hotels started up but the biggest and nicest one is bankrupt as well. The price range for being a turist here is 4 times higher than being in France so some ask of course if Paradise is overpriced. Thank god we live on our own boat and do not have to buy anything. There is almost nothing to buy and the prices are a killer.
So how nice is it to be here then? Well very nice if you like lagoons, lots of water life, tranquility and a quite spot in the world.
If you like beaches with only white sand and the possibilty of just running down in the water, forget it.
If you need internet, forget it.
If you like lot's to see, lot's to do, forget it.
If you hate flies, forget it
If you need a lot of fresh water, forget it
If you drink a lot of alcohol, forget it, unless you are very rich.
It is very very remote and that's the charm. We will probably try to find an atholl that is less developed.
When, we will see.
Oh yeah the title of the blog today.
In the small pools of water you can find baby murrays, but Andreas thought that one of them was a stick, without hesitation he picked up the stick and he screamed when the stick tried to get out of his hand!
Erika said, - you have to write about it in the blog
Well I could fill a blog with what Andreas does, that is for sure...