Sunday, June 27, 2010

In Fakarava Provisioning

Current Location: Rotoava, Fakarava Atoll, Tuamotus, French Polynesia 16°03.71'S / 145°37.14'W

We moved back to Fakarava on Weds to wait for the supply ship, and do some provisioning. When we first arrived off the town of Rotoava, there were only about 5 boats anchored. By Thursday, there were 20 boats! Everyone who hasn't left yet for Tahiti is in need of supplies.

As soon as we anchored, I had the wifi hooked up and started downloading my 232 emails (14 MB). And Dave was launching the dinghy. He wanted to rush to a private garden we had heard about, to buy veggies, before any of the other cruisers converging on the town got there. The nice lady, Hawaya, said she was pretty much out of everything. But we coaxed a bunch of bananas, and lettuce, bok choy, eggplant, and a few small green tomatoes out of her. The half stalk of bananas cost us nearly $12, but Dave has been searching for more bananas for a month, so we bought it.

The ship is generally due in Thursday morning, but it didn't arrive until after dark on Thursday. A bunch of us are here for gasoline or diesel, which you have to buy directly from the ship. Someone ran into the dock to make sure the ship would still be there in the morning, and then put out a call on VHF "be on the dock at 7am".

Dave dutifully reported at 7am with his 3 gasoline jugs and a fistful of Polynesian Francs (CFP). An hour later the captain finally showed up on the dock and got the ball rolling, but it was a madhouse... a 2-step process... pay first, get a slip of paper, then go to the guy who dispenses the fuel. With 30 cruisers and locals and no organization to the system. Though Dave was one of the first ones to get to the dock, he was one of the last ones served. He finally made it back with 15 gallons at 10am! Meanwhile, I was stuck on the boat while everyone else in town was buying up the cabbage.

We rushed into the beach near the grocery stores, and did find some veggies left--onions, potatoes, carrots, and cucumbers. Dave was happy to find apples and pears. But there was no cabbage to be had. The store we were in... Boulangeria Havaiki... said they only got 8, and they were gone "like that" (snap). I never thought I'd walk the streets looking for a lowly cabbage. But I did, checked the 3 other possible stores, and no one had cabbage. I think this is left over from the strike 2 weeks ago--they still haven't caught up. (Having 200++ cruising yachts in Tahiti trying to provision probably also had an impact on our supply out here).

We have 16 baguettes bagged in ziplocks in the fridge and freezer--enough to last us a month. I keep telling Dave I'll bake him bread, but I can't argue that this isn't much easier.

In the afternoon we followed a tip from another cruiser and went with Dave and Susie from Sidewinder, looking south of town for a vegetable farm. (Put your dinghy at Pension Havaiki, walk out to the main road, and turn right. The farm is about 200 yards south on the main road.) There we found Mr. Topaz working in his gardens. We scored more tomatoes, eggplant, some huge (18-inch long) cucumbers, and limes. We met his sons and his wife and had a good old time trying to talk to them in our very poor French. After chatting a bit, his wife went back into the house and came back with a pumpkin for Susie and I as a gift. Very nice and very Polynesian.

We checked out the menu at Pension Havaiki, as we walked through their hotel. It looked reasonable and a nice place to have a dinner out (main course about 1500 CFP). So we and Sidewinder dinghied back at 7pm in the moonlight for a nice dinner.

Today we plan to head south for the South Pass area of Fakarava. There to wait for an appropriate weather window to go somewhere east of here.
At 6/26/2010 4:38 PM (utc) our position was 16°03.71'S 145°37.14'W

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