Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Other Side of Fanning

Yesterday was a beautiful day, calm and sunny. We went snorkeling in the pass at slack tide and caught two octopus. While swimming we decided to catch the current and take the dinghies to the opposite side of the atoll.

We packed a lunch of sardines, pateete, biscuits and such. Robby, Lorraine and Borau did too. We headed for the strong current coming in the pass and idled the dinghies. We were making about 4 knots. It took about an hour to get the 4 miles across the lagoon to the East side.

We had our lunch on the inner beach under the palm trees. There was no wind and the files and heat really came down. Then we walked across the motu to the ocean. It was cool when we finally got to the water. The motu is about a mile wide where we landed. It was a long walk for Trinda.

Borau was really impressed with the number of plastic things on the beach, mostly water bottles. Every fisherman that throws a bottle overboard pollutes the east shore of some atol it seems. This was his first time across even though he has lived here over 5 years. Because the lagoon is shallow and filled with coral heads only the fishermen in their sailing canoes ever venture out into it.

Years ago when this was a copra plantation, there was more traffic. The atol was sparsely populated then. The English companies interested in coconut oil brought in lots of polonesians and planted lots of palm trees. They gather the mature coconuts, open them and dry the coconut meat. It is called copra. It was then shipped to somewhere that they squeeze the oil out. But the demand for coconut oil has long since dropped and only a few places still buy the dried coconut for oil. I believe the price
is supported by the Kiribati government. That and smoked sea cucumbers and dried sea weed is the only cash crops available here.

On the way back, the sun was in our eyes and we had a lot of trouble seeing the shallow water and coral heads. No problems, it just took longer. Then it started raining. We dinghy'ed through 2 real downpours!

When we finally got back, we noticed things seemed to be missing from the cockpit. We have become lazy about putting things away. Trinda finally found most of them out on the back deck. She is still missing one of her guitar practice notebooks. I checked the wind instrument. Seems we had some 30 knot gusts while we were across the way and things blew out.

Today we expect the folks from the south side for lunch. We plan to feed them the octopus.

No comments:

Post a Comment