Land Rights

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Thu 31 Mar 2011 06:44
Moored Apataki Carenage
Wind: East, F3 Gentle breeze
Weather: Mostly sunny, warm

Today I turned my attention to a spot of upper deck maintenance, attending to a couple of small rust spots on the foredeck. Maintaining a boat of any size is simply a matter of starting at one end and when you get to the other it is time to start back at the beginning again. Also I tried to fix a leak in the salt water pump (very useful for rinsing dishes, saves a lot of fresh water at sea). One of the diaphragms had a hole in it so some time ago I made a new one from a bit of rubber from the inner tube of an old truck tyre. I seem to have gone backwards with this but have ended up almost encasing the thing in caulking compound. Tomorrow I will reinstall and see if it works. I would buy a new one but there aren't any chandlers ready to hand.

In the afternoon I went for a walk to the windward and ocean side of the motu.  Broken coral makes up most of the shore line, the vegetation thins out quickly as the windward side is approached, only smaller hardy shrubs hold there own here.  Looking out to the deep dark blue sea and the waves endlessly pounding on the edge of the reef I pondered the sudden and dramatic drop into the ocean deep only 100 meters away and the eons of geological and biological activity that has gone on to make this atoll.   It is impossible to really grasp the time that all this has taken and just what a small dot I am.   But, dot that I am, it would seem that my kind has the collective ability to submege this atoll in a very short period and cause the biological activity that has helped make it and currentluy continues to do so, come to a halt.

"What a piece of work is man!  How noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form, in moving, how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? man delights not me; no, nor woman neither ..."  (Hamlet)

Yesterday while chatting to Alfred, being interested in how he had come to establish the carenage, I asked him whether he owned the land and how long for, my mind thinking of loans and repayments, business plans and profit and loss accounts.  He answered that it had been in his family for a long time, along with land on several of the other atolls. His ancestors came to the Tuamotus in 1640, at least this is what I understood him to say, and his great, great, … grandfather was a warrior, came to Apataki, “kill men, eat men, kill children, make babies with women. Old women … ” and here he made a dismissive gesture with wave of his hand, so goodness knows what happened to them.  I guess this makes Alfred the traditional owner and mortgages rather irrelevant.

All is well.