Monday, July 17, 2006

July 14, Fakarava, Tuamotos

It's a full day today in the lagoon of Fakarava in the Tuamoto island group northeast of Tahiti. This morning 15 cruisers including five boys from two boats went aboard a trimiran, Elesium, to a reef near the entrance to this lagoon to snorkle. The reef was spectacular. The water is very clear, the coral vivid in its many colors and shapes, the fish in many shapes sizes and colors including several sharks about four feet long.
We returned and went ashore to see the spear throwing contest among several men from the atoll. They were dressed in sarongs and head dresses of various sorts, some wore hats of woven palm frond, others were wreaths of some type of greenery. Each contestant has a half dozen spears which are limber sticks about six feet long with a sharpened rebar attached to form a point. They stand about fifty feet from the base of a twenty-five foot pole on top of which was a coconut. Each one throws his spears underhanded in an attempt to pierce the coconut. To make it even more interesting the coconut is marked off in horizontal bands of increasing value towards the top of the nut. Of approximately 15 throwers, therefore about 80 spears there are between 4 and 8 spears stuck in the coconut after each round. The pole is lowered and a tally made by a judge and announced on a loudspeaker. There was much teasing and laughing by the participants and the announcer. There was a good crowd assembled to watch the contest with definite favorites among the throwers. One of the best throwers appeared to be the oldest. He stuck spears twice in a row once! go ahead a try this one in your backyard just to see how hard it is. Just make sure the children and dogs are kept away from the wrong side of the coconut.
After soft serve ice cream and a couple games of Foosball we came back to the boat for a rest and dinner. Tonight is the music and dance that I am especially looking forward to. Tomorrow there is more with the added excitement of a genuine cruise ship visiting the lagoon. The streets will be filled with sunburns for half a day and the boat will be rocked by all the shuttles going by.
The breeze has been very light for the past several days. It's lucky that we haven't had far to go. the trades are supposed to return tomorrow or the next day to help us on our way to Tahiti.

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