Friday, May 13, 2011

Next Tuamotu...Makemo

We spent a few days on the east side of Raroia enjoying the quiet and solitude. There wasn't a lot to look at. It was pretty but there were no big reefs to dive on and no good snorkeling. But it was nice to be in a calm anchorage and spend some time together. It was also sort of neat to see the island that the Kon Tiki grounded itself on ending it's voyage from Easter Island (in the 1940's I think?). To get to the other side (and back), you have to go when the sun is either over your head or on your back so you can avoid all of the coral popping up, seemingly out of nowhere, and also to avoid the pearl farm buoys. They take a black lipped oyster and implant a nucleus made out of Mississppi Clam shell (funny, huh?) and evidently, those Mississippi clams are expensive. The oyster then finds the foreign matter and begins coating it in layers of mother of pearl to make the Tahitian cultured Pearls.

We made it there and back to the village just fine but evidently it wasn't fine to one of the pearl farm owners. He sent a boat out to tell us that we couldn't drive through the buoys (presumably because they didn't want people to hook one as they're so expensive) and that all of the islands were private. They told us if we wanted to go over there, then we would have to go back through the channel and over that way (which is just north of where we crossed). They even said something about calling some Pearl Farm federation but I think that part got lost in translation. Well, we apologized profusely and assured them we didn't touch anything (we don't want to foul our prop any more than they want us to hook their lines), but were left a bit baffled. We had told just about everyone we met that we were going over there. We even asked about the fishing... so it boggled our minds that no one said a thing about how we were supposed to get there or who we should ask. We don't like breaking rules and upsetting locals, but on the other hand, how are you supposed to know if everyone is so tightlipped? Anyway, I think all is well and we're leaving with mostly good feelings. We did make it to shore and get a copy of the newspaper article written about us. Coreen is going to email me the electronic copy and I'll post it here when I get it. It's in French though, so most of you guys will need to run it through a translator if you're that interested. I still don't know what it says...

We've looked at our tide/current programs and are scheduling our leaving here for about 11:00 today. This should put us at Makemo early in the morning well before time to enter that pass. We were going to bypass Makemo but decided to stop since it would only be one night (instead of potentially two) and we could time the pass much easier. They're also reported to have some stores and internet so that was a big plus too. Hopefully the next post I make will include some pictures!

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