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Saturday, June 26, 2010


Except for the hour or so it took to run the HF radio net on Wednesday we motored in light wind all the way to Apataki. Interestingly enough, at one point we could see Apataki ahead of us with Toau still in view behind us. We departed Toau at 0510 and were in the lagoon at Apataki by 1000. With light winds and a two meter swell, we had an easy entrance through the well marked pass.

We anchored in the lee of a small reef just inside the lagoon to make a quick trip to the grocery store in the village for a few supplies. Then we motored into a light wind the nine miles to the SE end of the atoll where there is a carenage (boat yard) run by Valentine's cousin, Alfred:


We were tired of motoring all day so we headed straight for the W end of the first big motu rather than continuing E to where four other boats were anchored/moored in front of the carenage ramp. It was very weird to see a mast and foresail in amongst the palm trees on shore. We anchored in 24', clear sand, and ended up in 40':

{GMST}15|33.780|S|146|15.343|W|South East motu in Apataki|Apataki 1{GEND}

Thursday morning we took the dinghy over to visit the carenage. This is a new business for Alfred, adding to their income from his father's pearl farm (Assam's). Of course it's a bare bones yard but the few boats there look well secured for cyclone season. We met with Alfred and his wife Pauline and their son, Tony, who has studied at jeweler's school for two years in Papeete (to carry on the pearl tradition), and they encouraged us to move to their anchorage to be closer. So in the afternoon we dropped anchor at:

{GMST}15|33.534|S|146|14.628|W|In front of the Carenage in Apataki|Apataki{GEND}

On our next visit ashore I made the mistake of asking Alfred about the availability of tomatoes (from the write-up in one of the guides which says vegetables are available) and he immediately took me out to the tiny garden behind their kitchen/dining building. Before I could stop him he plucked the only three Roma style tomatoes that were barely beginning to blush red and gave them to me. I felt terrible about it. Right now he's still in the "test garden" phase to see how things grow here, and they really don't have enough extra to sell to cruisers. His mother keeps chickens and sells their eggs, and they use the droppings for fertilizer in the garden.

This morning (Saturday) I had just finished adding brown sugar and milk to our oatmeal when Alfred pulled up in their work boat with his son, Tony, another worker guy, and Carolina, Tony's latest girl friend from Nice. They asked us if we wanted to ride out to their pearl farm right that minute. We were already dressed in our bathing suits, so I turned off the stove, we grabbed our snorkels and swim ladder, and jumped in their big panga style boat. It turned out that they were only pulling up pearl buoys and not any actual oysters so we didn't see anything we hadn't already seen at Toau. But it was nice of them to include us. Tony speared a grouper which they offered to us when they dropped us back at Nakia, but we told them we already had some fish we needed to eat. There isn't supposed to be any ciguatera here but why take a chance...

After two days of calm, sunny weather the weekend is forecast to be wet and windy. Last night the lagoon was so still it was breathtaking, and today we've already had a little rain. Assuming the rough weather passes by Monday, we'll leave for Papeete this coming week.