We motored half the day before arriving at the main town in Fakarava, Rotoava. Our friends, who arrived the day before us, brought us some fresh baguettes from town. We went into town with them to get some internet. The internet was really good, and they let us stay the whole day if we just bought a drink. We ended up staying all afternoon, and all our friends showed up. We ate dinner at a really good Panini/Crepe place. We didn’t do many interesting things in the town except go out to eat and shop and get internet. Once we went to church at night, but everything was in French so we couldn’t understand a word.
Dock at the Panini place as locals row by
Local church in Fakarava. They were remodeling the church, so they had the service in this outdoor hut.
Eventually all our friends left. They didn’t have long-stay visas, so they had to get out of French Polynesia in three months or less. We rented bikes and rode around the island one day. We stopped by a pearl farm and learned how the pearls are made and bought some of our own. Most of the pearls are black, and they said thirty percent of pearls harvested are imperfect. We also rode to a tall pyramid and found lots of dead star fish. We went back to the sandy anchorage the next day.
The kids were so surprised to see their first phone booth
We rented some bikes and rode through the whole island.
We visited a pearl farm where they showed us how they grow black pearls
The view from the pearl farm
We rode our bikes to this old pyramid that was probably an old lighthouse of sorts.
The outside of the atoll.
We found these dried up starfish.
Back in Hirifa, our friends from Queen came over, and we played a board game and made arts and crafts with them. I paddled to the beach a lot to play with the puppies, too. The third day we were there, all the kids decided to spend the night and the following half day on the beach. We brought our hammocks, food, water, etc. We built a little waterproof hut where we put our things and hung our hammocks up. The parents came to the beach later and checked over our work and made a fire to burn their trash. A few of the boys stayed up late and kept the fire going till morning (even when it rained the fire didn’t go out). When it rained, all the girls got wet, but the boys magically stayed dry. It was a miserable night for us – millions of mosquitos, wet hammocks, and very little space to move around. Everybody was squished together in their hammocks. One of the worst things was the boys. They were so loud and screamed at the top of their lungs. They were incredibly rude too (Michael is excluded from all of the above). Since the parents weren’t around, they could do anything they wanted, so they swore a lot. Over all, that night was one of the worst in my life.
The day was much better. We woke at five o’clock in the morning, and it wasn’t raining. We had a quick breakfast and some snacks and sat around the fire that was still alive. We saw a lady (one of the locals) walking towards us, and we all were worried she would kick us off the beach. Luckily, she was nice and was just curious as to what we were doing. We started swimming, and when it got really cold, we ran back to the fire to get warm. The wind was constantly changing, so the smoke would blow everywhere. We constantly had to move if we didn’t want to sit in the smoke. I forgot to mention that three puppies spent the night with us, and we had more wildlife in the morning. The pigs came at around six and stayed with us pretty much the whole time after that. One looked quite aggressive towards the dogs, but we didn’t have any problems. They were so calm. We started petting them, and they were fine. It started raining again at six and stopped every so often. We managed to keep the fire going the whole time, which required a lot of work. We had to go fetch wood constantly and eventually couldn’t find any dry wood. We threw wet wood on the fire, and it took a long time to burn. It stayed this way for four hours. It got to the point where we were fetching wood instead of sitting by the fire, so what we were doing was pretty much pointless.
At six, one of the kids couldn’t take it anymore and his parents came to pick him up. At ten, a huge gust of wind came through, and we watched as at least two boats dragged anchor, and all of them tipped so violently that their masts were almost touching the water. The rain stopped after that big gust, and that’s when I started packing up all of our stuff. It took me half an hour to get all the sand off my things and put everything away. The dogs managed to get some of our food by tearing up the boxes on the outside. With the last burning wood in our fire, we burned our trash and then it took a while to put it out. Our parents came at eleven and the nightmare was over.