Apataki, still here

Bill and Caroline
Sun 30 Jun 2013 18:05
Stopping for a time to take stock and catch up on essential boat jobs, Apataki is home for a while. The mooring buoys provided by the boat yard are regularly checked by us to ensure we don't inadvertently float away during the night. Other yachts have come and gone, some being hauled out to anti-foul the bottom of the boat, to make repairs in the scenic surroundings or to be left as owners journey elsewhere. A fish barbecue in the boat yard meeting hut, is attended by the yachts in the anchorage and boat yard carrenage. A chance to catch up on lives, stories and boat jobs, so far. Lots of advice and knowledge from seasoned cruisers, with recipe advice thrown in too. 
The sharks under the boat have turned out not to be sharks after all. They are a kind of cleaning sucker fish, remora, that attach themselves to sharks, whales and the boats - undertaking the serious job of keeping everything lovely and clean, they lurk around the boat day and night, hopefully cleaning the bottom while they wait for any morsels that might come their way from on board - the left over stale bread is proving their favourite so far.

The trip to the village in the boat yard's launch with other cruisers was uneventful and …. exhilarating on the way back. Holding on to the bench seat to limit the jarring helped. Returning the 12 miles to the anchorage in the dark, we were wet, disheveled and decidedly shaken but complete with supplies of flour, potatoes and a cucumber. Fruit provisions have been overloaded with papaya from the motu and papaya chutney is now on the menu, meanwhile there are opportunities to test out drying preservation techniques - tomatoes and papaya both sitting in the sun, dehydrating while you watch. The results so far are variable but still hopeful. 
A windless day in the Tuamotus is perfect for late afternoon snorkelling around 'stump reef' where thousands of fish circle and cruise the tall coral bomie, from tiny bright blue damselfish to huge 3ft long parrot fish, and of course the sharks. These really are sharks and watch from a distance near enough to keep us mindful of them. Black and white sergeant fish swarm like a huge zebra crossing near the surface as the sun sinks towards the horizon - the daily five thirty event. Sunset green flashes have always been hoped for and are now sometimes observed as green lozenges in the distance as the final nugget of sun disappears. The full moon of the winter solstice in the southern hemisphere rises moments after the sun has set to highlight Gavin, the missing in action gecko, who is once again found. 

So all in all a good week with lots of fixing and boat jobs completed. No more electronic items broken. A gecko rediscovered. Daily kitesurfing for Bill when the wind is up, and much mending of kites when it's not.