Sunday, June 21, 2009

Highlights of our time in Tuomotus

1. Meeting 21-year old Tekakioteragi (aka Madi) and her husband, Leon. We greeted her on Saturday while she was driving a truck around for guys to collect their bags of copra. Her beautiful naked 9-month-old son was sitting on her lap. Her friendly smile and high school grasp of English got us into a conversation. Later we walked by to ask if she knew if our friend's fish he had caught was one of the carriers of the dreaded bacteria, ciguatera. We asked questions about Leon's nightly fishing and other questions and soon she asked us if we wanted some fish they had frozen (guaranteed to have no ciguatera). Later, she offered to get us some green coconuts for drinking and told us to meet her at the pier the next afternoon. I baked cookies the next morning and brought them when we went in to collect our 5 husked, chilled coconuts from the little family. She offered more for Monday, the day before we leave and asked if there was anything else we needed. We already got what we were hoping for, friendship and a warm welcome.

2. Seeing the ramoras (not sure of the spelling). These are about 2 foot long grey scavenger fish that look like mini sharks. The only thing different is that on the top of their heads are patches that look like the foreheads of Klingons. They use these patches to suction onto host animals (Brian saw a little on attached to a big one). This free transportation allows them to eat the crumbs that the host drops while it is eating. We seem to have a small family of ramoras under our boat. When we toss our fruit skins overboard, they dart out, sample, and return to the shadows.

3. A calm flat anchorage!

4. The friendly company of the other boats here: Balu, Mainly, and Ketchup II. Last night we all gathered on the foredeck of Ketchup II. James and Marian from Balu brought their guitar, penny whistle and concertina (a small hand accordion) and played Irish aires and folk tunes for us all.

5. The countdown to my flight home for three weeks. Daphne's having a baby boy!

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