Toau Atoll French Polynesia
04 September 2018
Uproar is anchored in Anse Amyot, Toau. This is a small bay on a beautiful atoll in French Polynesia. Valentine and Gaston are the only residents on the motu (small island) on the north side of the bay. They are welcoming to cruisers. They have installed 5 moorings that one can use for a nominal charge but they would prefer gifts or customers for dinner they sometimes prepare for cruisers. We went ashore upon arrival. They welcomed us with two cold beers. Gaston was drilling some pearls and complained about the breakage of drill bits. I rushed back to Uproar where we had a supply of special drill bits to trade with pearl farmers. Gaston was pleased with the way these bits worked.
Lisa and I got a puppy fix. Sophie passed early that morning. Something I'm not prepared to write about. But they had two little puppies we could hold to help with the pain. We explained about our loss and they were most consoling. They even offered one of the puppies to us. Needless to say we had an instant relationship that we have cherished for about a week.
Today Gaston was adding to some fencing for his animals. I saw him gathering supplies and decided to help him. Justin and Arlo from Debonair decided to help also. It was a rare, gray day so we weren't missing out on anything. These atolls are nothing but coral. Gaston had installed some fence stakes, 8 foot lengths of rebar. He used a strong spike to pound a hole in the coral and just dropped the stake in place. We unrolled chicken wire, connected it to the old wire with strong twine sewing it together. Gaston showed us hot to lace the chicken wire to the stakes with the twine. It was a simple process.
We then herded the animals into the new enclosure. They were tricky and quick but we managed to get them through the small opening into their new pen. Oh, perhaps I should mention this was a pen in 6 feet of water on the reef. Yes, we were enlarging his fish trap. It sure made the job more difficult when I had to hold my breath and try to keep my fat body from floating up while trying to lace and tie the strong twine. But we managed and finished the job.
Part of the job was moving coral rocks out of the way. It is surprising how light they are underwater. We never touch coral when snorkeling but this was a work area. The old chamber was full of large parrot fish, grouper and many other species. They were thick. There were also coral heads outside the fence full of fish and a moray eel. A small coral head inside was packed with red, squirrel fish. What a fun although difficult environment to work in.
When we finished, Gaston asked us if we wanted fish. We had caught our own parrot fish but wanted some of the Merou, edible groupers. Gaston had a pole with a long spike he used to spear the fish. Literally shooting fish in a barrel. He also grabbed a jack for his dinner. Gaston clubbed the feisty Merou but the jack was still flopping. I grabbed the club, held the jack upright and gave him a few whacks. Unfortunately, Gaston's mask was just past the jack. The end of the club shattered his mask glass. Boy was I embarassed. Mine was quite similar. I pulled off my snorkel and gave him mine. I have extras on Uproar.
Back on Uproar I cleaned the Merou and told Lisa about our fun work project and the embarassing end. I threw the head of the Merou overboard and Mariah, their tame Humphead Wrasse, 150 pounds of curious and friendly fish, made a meal of it. We became acquainted a few days ago when I dove in and snorkeled with her for a bit. She is not shy and would turn on her side a few feet below me to look me in the eye.
By then I was freezing! I jumped in a hot shower and made a cup of coco tea. Yes, it is winter in French Polynesia. I bet the gray day was only 75 degrees!