We just came back from almost 4 days of relaxing and enjoying the beautiful reefs and its inhabitans. We left on wednesday morning after the morning practice of the girl on the boat which was next to ours (she has a line hanging down from the forestay and does the ballet on the line hanging down – nice to watch during breakfast ;-)) and sailed back to our beautiful little island.
There, Marcus had the fastest catch of fish I have ever seen. He put the fishing rod with old cheese from Easter Island into the water and 5 seconds later he had a fish for his BBQ dinner. Amazing. Marcus was VERY happy. Next morning the sea had calmed down a bit and it was low tide. We used the chance of a bit more shell-sand on the beach to play paddle tennis, which ended up being a test how much leather-like our soles of the feet are already. The “sand” of the island are all very small pieces of shells, yet big enough you can pick up every piece, like very small stones. Running over this sand is like sanding your feet with very rough sand paper. To make it a bit more challenging, there are even a lot bigger pieces of shells and dead corals in the sand. Acupressure massage on the feet. Well, we can still walk ;-)
Later we tried to snorkel a bit but the current was so strong that we could hardly hold ourselves at the reef, so we went back to the boat. That evening, in the sunset, we BBQ’s sausages and for the first time in my life I ate “bread fruit” (I don’t know the English expression). A big green, almost round, vegetable with white dots on the shell which grows on trees and after cooking tastes like sweet potatoes, almost like Yuca. You peel the thick skin off and then cook it in water. I prepared it like a bavarian potato salad and it worked great!!
Yesterday we changed our position to a chain of islands, all connected by sandbanks, north of the airport. I LOVED it there, we finally found my big bathing tub. A huge area of turquoise colored ocean, where I was finally able to SWIM a distance and not just snorkel or stay at one place. But, we also did snorkel quite some time yesterday and I again today. What was so funny there? The sandbank / reef parts in between the islands have a good stream from outside the atoll to inside the atoll, especially at high tide coming in. We walked towards the outside and then just laid in the water with our mask and snorkel with no movement necessary. We drifted to the inside end of this reef, floating over this beautiful underwater scenery, which looks as if someone had put oriental gardens with bonsai trees and mushrooms under water. We saw different shells, riffs, corals (I love the purple one), sea cucumbers, crabs and much more. A whole different world. It is like swimming in a huge aquarium, tons of fish around you in the most beautiful colors. In the meantime I have even lost my fear of the little sharks, since now I know they swim away if they see you. My favourite are the big rainbow colored fish (parrot fish). They come in large groups, but they are shy – in contrary to the little blue fish, which are more curious. And, there were no jellyfish (Quallen). Did I ever tell you this? On the first day after we arrived here, Alita was just cleaned and the motor back in order when Marcus had the watermaker running. All of a sudden I hear a strange noise from the watermaker, we had to turn it off. Maybe something in the filter? I joked and said, maybe a jellyfish? You know the answer. Yes, indeed. The yellyfish came so close to the boat and to the inlet of the watermaker that the watermaker had indeed sucked one in. Having seen and touched this gelatine like transparent mass in the filter I now understand why you call it “jellyfish” in English. It is like jelly, only I would not want to eat it…
This afternoon, in some light rain, we came back to Mangareva because we wanted to eat Pizza tonight and I am going to church tomorrow morning. Oh well, here on this island people have too much money, no need to do much. Pizza place closed, so is the only other restaurant. All sailors (and there are many here right now) stood in front of closed doors. You can’t buy vegetables here, shops are hardly open, baguette only in the morning, ….people live well here. Most of them work in the black pearl industry, most men diving. They are definitely not prepared for tourism, which on the other hand is good, everything stays original and there is no crime here. For the first time, I feel really safe in a place, I even already slept outside on deck twice already because I wanted to fall asleep under this beautiful star sky.
Tomorrow after church we have a cooking party with the other germans at the older guy’s TransOcean Club house. I will make an apple cake – the wish of the Fritz. He plays old german songs all day long, for sure he’ll play the song “Micaela”.
So long, here are some pix of the last days. The rest can be found added in the photo gallery of the “Iles de Gambier”.