We knew that the lone sailor Daniel and his boat Elin were probably anchored somewhere inside Kauehi Atoll so one evening we left Fakarava at last light and sailed overnight to reach the pass at Kauehi (Arikitamiro Pass) for the morning slack tide. The entire trip was hard on the wind and passing squalls had us turning loops and sailing zigzags. We were glad to enter the lagoon and ghost along on the remains of the dieing breeze.
It was a challenge to find a tiny white hulled boat amongst the pure white beaches that fringe the lagoon but we guessed the right area and eventually found Elin alone in the south east corner and anchored nearby. Daniel soon joined us for a drink and dinner and didn’t seem unhappy that we had interrupted his hermit like existence in his uninhabited corner of the world. We refilled his water tank from our watermaker and Heidi fed him exotic Artemis menus. In return he provided us with coconuts, hours of interesting conversation and helped us turn our anchor chain round. A real win-win situation.
On the reef we found an off road trail that we guessed would eventually lead to the village of Tearavero so the next day we assembled our bikes and followed the track. It wound through the palm trees before crossing to the wild, ocean pummeled side of the reef and then back to the turquoise coloured lagoon. The ground was full of coconuts, palm fronds and scurrying crabs as well as coral outcrops and huge crab holes. We were happy to eventually reach the concrete roads in the “city”.
We stopped at the shop to buy carrots but couldn’t resist a beautiful, locally made pearl and mother of pearl necklace. Next we visited the town hall to register with the villages one policeman and look for a bit of Internet. We found a tiny bit but, as the policeman confirmed, it was a satellite connection and impossibly slow. A visit to the church and cycle out to the airport concluded the “tourist stuff” and then we headed back home.
We passed a very well kept garden and asked Edouard – the owner – if he had any vegetables to sell. He gave us a chinese cucumber and a papaya but insisted “no money”. His main cash crop are flowers, that he sells to be used in sun cream, and his small pearl farm – now we knew where the pearls in the necklace came from.
Back at the anchorage we converted the chinese cucumber in to a meal and invited Daniel over for another evening of sun down drinks, dinner and philosophy.
And today after five days “in the wilderness” we plan on taking the afternoon tide and heading back downwind with more great memories of amazing places and interesting people.
Our bike route is at Alltrails