The highlight of today for me is a three-way tie :)
*** It might be the hour or so that I spent snorkelling in/near the pass while Max & Benjamin drove the dinghy.
*** It might be the few minutes of stillness in our new Mexican hammock, hung between two coconut trees on the beach, just before a beautiful, cloudless sunset.
*** It might be the evening of family time sitting around a built-by-the-children campfire, later watching one child catch fish by hand, one child build his own fire, and one child sleep in my arms.
I don't even need to decide; I will just tell you about the day...
We are planning to head for Tahiti (Papeete) in two days (we have a weather window), so today was the last full "fun" day in the Tuomotus before we spend most of tomorrow doing passage preps. We decided to snorkel in the morning and spend the afternoon on the beach. Benjamin slept before we went, so he was happy hanging out with Max during the snorkelling. The kids and I had a long drift across the pass and then another along the edge of the reef. There weren't many sharks, but the water was incredibly clear and flat (just the way we hope it is when we leave in Fluenta). It was glorious to simply drift along, keeping my eyes open for kids and sharks and fish (and finally sharks & fish as the kids had enough before I did). In one area, we saw pairs of fish swimming gill-to-gill; Victoria saw them doing a spiral pattern. We think they might have been doing some kind of mating sequence. In another area, I saw big eyed fish stacked like firewood under a boat. At one point, the water was 70 feet deep, and we could see the bottom!
We dropped Johnathan at the beach after we went snorkelling because he wanted to build his own shelter and a ladder (with lashings), then Max, Victoria, and I headed to Fluenta for a quick lunch before returning to the beach armed with hot dogs, hammocks, and other necessities for an evening ashore. There wasn't much daylight left but we did manage to hang our hammock, and both of us had a few minutes to sit in it. "Peace & quiet" is a bit of a misnomer, but there can be a certain joy in listening to kids making the various sounds that kids make. Victoria was teaching Benjamin to splash in the shallows, and Johnathan was using his knife to make a club out of a palm frond. We were also serenaded by the sounds of some kind of ocean bird, and of course the constant pounding of the surf on the outer reef.
There was absolutely no wind in the late afternoon; everything was still and quiet, and we were the only ones on our beach. We realized that it was nice yesterday to share it with other cruising families, and also nice to enjoy it alone today; it strikes me that this is typical of cruising in general. Victoria & Johnathan started our fire, and we burnt such a big log that we ended up staying quite late on the beach: it was almost (cruisers') midnight (ie 9pm) when we returned to Fluenta. Max and the kids have determined that this will not be our last campfire here, however. Their plan is to stay ashore tomorrow night, so we will need to work efficiently to do both boat preps and shelter preps during daylight. The menu may be a little posher for our celebration - we still have some wahoo in the freezer that we can wrap in foil and cook in butter, and surely we have something desserty that we can cook on the fire. We might even try pottoes in foil again, perhaps cooking them for less than 90 min this time!
As we dinghied back to Fluenta, we realized how spoiled we have become - there are five other anchor lights shining on our side of the pass, and it feels a bit crowded. On the other hand, the other side of the pass seems to be offering a taste of the "bright lights, big city" that waits for us in Papeete: several huge yachts are at anchor, and they are ablaze with lights.
Anyway, now you have a taste of our lovely day; I hope things are lovely wherever you are as well.
At 7/23/2014 5:56 AM (utc) Fluenta's position was 16°31.11'S 145°28.55'W
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