Makemo, Tuamoto

Monday 6/06/13 16 39.422 S 143 23.590 W Makemo, Tuamotu Posting by Barb: It was a fast sail from Raroia to Makemo. We even had to reef the main to slow down the boat. We arrived at the channel entrance at 4 am so we still had to heave to for 2 hours before we could motor through the pass. This pass was a ‘piece of cake’ now that we have the right time for the low and high tides. We headed into the small town and noticed that Rick and Kira on their boat Nyon were still there so we anchored nearby. It was a rolly anchorage and at times the boat would rock so much that the bow would take a dive and disappear into the water. We only stayed there a day and night to explore the town and pick up supplies. A couple of Baguettes, 2 small packs of Velveeta cheese (to use for Dennis famous bean dip) and a six pack of beer came to $30. We will not be stocking up the boat much in the Tuamotos. The next day we followed Nyon, navigating carefully through the hundreds of coral heads hiding inches below the water surface. It took us 3 hours to go 10 miles. We arrived safely at our new anchorage and we were greeted by white coral beaches, palm trees and teal, blue water. We were the only 2 boats there. Sitting on the boat and taking in the surroundings I realized that this is what I would picture as the dream vacation place! Hopefully the pictures we took will bring out the beauty of this anchorage. The flat dry, atolls are so different from the Marquesa islands. As soon as we were anchored, the four of us headed out to explore the islands. Dennis wandered off, as he usually does, and joined us back at the dingy to inform us that he had bumped into a local man who, in French, had invited us for dinner at 6. Rick, Kira and I were skeptical of the plan as we weren’t sure Dennis had interpreted the message correctly. Dennis insisted that we go. So at 6 we took the dingy to shore. We were greeted by the local, Otto, and his 2 friends. We were escorted to their home which was a 12X14 hut on posts and corrugated metal for a roof just a dirt floor. They sat us down and served us coconut milk straight out of the coconut. They were drinking some kind of alcohol drink straight out of a large plastic jug. It was obvious that they were getting drunk very quickly. Despite that, they served us a fine meal of Parrot fish served as Sashimi (raw fish), Poisson Cruz and deep fried. To go with that they had a huge pot of cooked rice. They stood over us and made sure we had everything we needed. With each sip of coconut milk they would come running with a new coconut for re-fills. Otto actually just tore the top of the coconut with his teeth and handed the coconut drink over to us. We asked that they sit with us and eat but they told us it was their custom to eat after the guests were gone. Kira could speak great French so she had to do the conversing and translate for us. It was an interesting night and of course we had to thank Dennis for that adventure. Otto invited Rick and Dennis to come back the next night to go Prawn fishing but that never happened as for the most part the ‘local boys’ seemed to be intoxicated every night. We gave them homemade banana bread as gifts to thank them for the fine welcome they showed us! We went snorkeling for the first time since we landed in the South Pacific. There were lots of coral heads to explore and an abundance of reef fish. Getting to the coral heads meant going in the dingy and heading out miles away from the shore and the boats. We would find a reef, jump in, snorkel for a while, get back on the boat and search for the next reef. I will have to get a ‘Coral Reef fish’ book so that I can start identifying all the fish that I see. There were of course a few 3-4 feet sharks swimming about. They were more interested in Rick and his spear fishing. Even though the sharks didn’t seem to be interested in me, they still made me nervous. Rick managed to spear about 5 fish in total. Dennis seemed to be very interested in the spear fishing so that may be a new toy for him. On our last night we were invited to have a fine meal of fish and chips on Nyon. It’s been so long since I have had ‘Fish-n-chips’, although it was the healthier version of Newfoundland’s Ches’s battered fish and deep fried French fries. After 4 days of hanging out together and spending the days doing boat chores and snorkeling, we said our goodbyes to Rick and Kira and motored out of the atoll on to our next island destination, Fakareva, a 20 hour sail.

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One Response to Makemo, Tuamoto

  1. michael says:

    happy to hear of the coral head avoidance. hope you continue to make good choices, and stay lucky.

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