Zack's Birthday in Suwarro
07 September 2013 | Cook Islands
We are in Suwarrow in the Cook Islands and Zack is turning 8!! Time for a party! He woke up at 5:30am very excited with a pile of presents on the table. A new shovel, hoe, a nerf type gun he had liked in Tahiti, some chocolate bars, markers and a new Android tablet. A nice haul, and he was very happy. David (Sueno) and Will had gone fishing with one of the rangers early in the morning so Nathalie called to see if we would like to come in and watch the fish cleaning. The smaller scraps are thrown to the sharks and it is interesting to watch. We hurriedly finished up the birthday breakfast of crepes and she picked us up. They had caught 9 BIG fish, Wahoo and Barracudas and the sharks were swarming for scraps. There were mostly blacktips about 2 to 3 1/2 feet in length. The kids were standing on a rock ledge at the edge of the water and the sharks were coming within 2 feet of shore, there were at least a dozen sharks. The show went on for about an hour with the kids running back and forth jockeying for the best position to watch the sharks. Zack's birthday was off to a good start.
The day before Nathalie had come over and we made a pinata for the party, fortunately I had a large bag of candy that I had purchased in Panama for just this occasion. We didn't have a lot of supplies because we don't keep cardboard on the boat. Nathalie had 3 juice cartons and we put them together to make a sort of helicopter, you need to use some imagination here. We paper maiched it and it came out pretty good. So we sent the kids on their way to play on the swing and we started planning a treasure hunt. We made a map and cut it into 6 pieces each with a clue that led to the next piece. When you found all the pieces you put the map together and this should lead you to the treasure. Nathalie then went to her boat and thankfully finished up the map. I went to our boat and got to work on the cake. Zack has some pretty high expectations in the cake department so no pressure but I needed to do something special. He wanted both chocolate and yellow cakes (so he could claim 2 pieces.) I made a chocolate cherry caramel and a vanilla caramel cake, put them together and frosted the whole thing in chocolate. Drew a sailboat on it and a few sprinkles and Voila! Maybe not his fanciest cake ever but definitely acceptable.
The Suwarrow Rangers host a pot luck every Friday night for the cruisers and so we joined Zack's party onto this because he wanted everyone to come in for his birthday. One of the rangers, Charlie, took some time to teach the kids how to climb a coconut tree, and Zack was able to get up a small tree. Charlie wove together some palm fronds to make a ring that you put around your feet and use to grip the trunk. It was good fun and all the kids were able to climb the tree. Next was the treasure hunt, which proved to be a fair challenge. The kids kept at it and came back in less than an hour toting the pinata. David tied it up to a tree and the kids took turns whacking it. We had done a pretty good job of it and all the kids got 3 turns before it came apart. So that was a success.
Charlie announced that it was time to feed the sharks so we all went to the other side of the island. He had the buckets of scraps from the morning fishing trip. He feeds the sharks most days so they are trained to come. There were at least a couple dozen sharks there. Black tip, White tip, and Grey sharks, ranging in size from 2 foot to 7 foot. Charlie gave a yell and then took a 5 gallon bucket of scraps and tried to throw it out to the sharks, unfortunately he missed and the contents of the bucket landed on top of his feet. He very quickly picked up the fish carcasses and tossed them further out. It was pandemonium! The sharks went crazy fighting over the food. Charlie was picking them up by their tails and at one point he threw one back towards us, right at Zack. Zack tried to pat the thing but the shark was quick to get back into the fray for fish scraps. The shark feeding was really cool and David got some great video footage which we will post the next time we have internet, which may be a few weeks from now when we reach Tonga. Don't miss this video, it's great!!
We had a really delicious pot luck dinner. Unfortunately 2 days previous Zack had been hit in the face by the swing and had a decent gash on his lip, about 15 minutes before we were going to cut the cake he was on the swing and got hit in the face with a flying football. He was knocked off the swing and now had a few more bloody cuts on his face. Nothing huge but he was pretty wiped out by now and didn't even want cake. We all sang Happy Birthday and decided that he should open his presents first. He got some nice gifts with the highlights being some fishing lures and the true highlight was a quiver for his bow and arrows. His friend Guillaume had found a piece of bamboo on Moorea and has been working on carving it for Zack. He did and amazing job and it is very artistic. It has Zack carved down it with leaf pattern and Flour Girl written on it, It is a work of art that I am sure Zack will treasure for years to come. We cut the cake, Zack had a small piece but we saved him a big piece for the next day.