I've read a lot about this place from other cruiser blogs and no matter how cool they said it was, it didn't really prepare us. The island is beautiful. There are birds everywhere and over 15 sharks swimming around our boat (that might have to do with Andy cleaning the fish though...most of the other boats only report 3 or 4). There are two park rangers that stay here for 6 months out of the year to take care of the island and greet the cruisers. John and James are two large men from New Zealand, but have spent a lot of time in Raratonga and other islands as well. Our first day here we tagged along on a tour of the island. There's a book exchange, a garden where John is trying to grow some vegetables, many scattered graves from past residents, and a coconut shucking station where James showed us how the meat in a sprouting coconut is different from the others in that it's sweeter and softer and evidently makes great pancakes.
Yesterday Andy and Jake attempted fishing but didn't have much luck. Back on the boat, Andy tried again and caught a decent size snapper but it never made it out of the water. The sharks were on it before he could get it up. We were planning on going diving but while doing laundry, I slipped on one of our steps in the cockpit and sliced my foot open a bit. I'll have to keep it out of the water for a few days...but it doesn't look like we're leaving anytime soon so we'll get that dive in eventually.
Last night there was a huge potluck for all of the boats where James and John prepared coconut pancakes, banana pancakes (not really like what we think of pancakes, more like a fried bread of sorts), three different types of fish and a breadfruit salad. All of the cruisers brought a dish to share and it didn't take long to be stuffed to the gills. A few folks brought their instruments and it turned into a long wonderful night.
I wish I could post pictures as I'm not really a good enough writer to give you the right feeling here. Although I'm not sure a picture would do it either. It reminds me a bit of that movie Nims Island, where the little girl is in her own world. Anything you want to do here, you just ask and John or James will either tell you where to go or take you there themselves. We've only been here a few days and already feel like family.
For those following behind us, they're very appreciative of anything you can bring, flour, sugar, spices, canned veggies and fruit. I had a few extra tomatoes, limes and garlic and that seemed to be a hit. We also brought potatoes...anything fresh seemed to be like gold. They like their drink so if you can spare a bottle or two from your Kim Fa order, I'm sure they would appreciate that...beer, rum, etc. I had read that they needed some tobacco and rolling papers too but haven't actually heard that from them (check out Soggy Paw's compendium and it gives specifics).
Off to enjoy another day...
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