17 August 2012
Riley's birthday will be one to remember. I will let him describe it in his own words - check out our blog at www.longhot2.com if you aren't there now. We always say, "If it's going to happen to anyone, it'll happen to Riley," and he lived up to it turning 11. He had fallen into a hole and gashed his shin 2 days ago and we had reminded him he had to cool it as we can't risk infections at sea. Good thing the Manihiki hospital is outstanding and best of all, it was free!
We had a great day ashore helping with the ship's arrival, and we offered our help wherever we could, shucking coconuts, loading trucks, feeding pigs or just standing around smiling. Many of the passengers were greeted by family and friends with a flower lei - such a nice welcome. The off loading by barge went well though the ship had to station-keep and kept getting further out. They tried to tie off to a mooring buoy near Long Shot II and they ripped it out. Not surprising given the windage of this ship. Looked to be an offshore dragger converted for passengers/cargo. 2 hours before dinner Saylor and I were back on our boat as the wind was picking up and we had concerns for our mooring buoy while Doug was with the boys at the hospital. The locals wanted us to attend the celebration so Doug came back out to get us and I'm glad they did. The food was outstanding and there was enough to feed 4 x as many people which was about 120. The dancing was the best they had ever done (as we had seen the dress rehearsals). The people who had returned from Roratunga performed as well. It was quite an excellent evening. We couldn't stay longer as we had to get back to the boat. The good thing about the mooring is if it lets go, you are just heading deeper - hard to chase in our dinghy though. I told Doug I had a bad feeling about this so secure the boarding ladder and start stowing gear. At 2 am it happened as Charlie awoke to the mooring buoy banging into the hull. We were heading out sea, quickly and the seas were building. By 4 am we were good to go but too late to head back to Manihiki to say our good byes. So sad to leave this beautiful island and it's wonderful people!