Mopelia, day eleven, Lunch in the jungle
28 October 2020
Anouk and Alize were anxious to finish their boxes. We had taken a day off working on them yesterday. Today, they called on the radio right at 8:00 to ask if I was ready for them. They rowed their dinghy over (Chris is a minimalist, no motor). We sawed the lids off the boxes, hinged and inserted the magnets for a latch. I roughly sanded them smooth and rounded the corners with the power sander. The girls then began enthusiastically sanding them by hand.
They dinghied back to Le Pukeko with their boxes and some sandpaper. They will do finish sanding and pick out shells to apply to the lid. We had a total of about nine hours of “class” building these boxes. I am lucky to have two bright, enthusiastic students to work with. It was pleasing to see their progress each day and how hard they tried to do accurate work. My hope is that these simple skills will encourage them to continue building things. Chris, being a professional boat builder will certainly encourage them. Now it is Lisa's turn to help them decorate the box lids with her technique.
Lisa returned from another shore excursion just as the girls left. We had time for Lisa to bake a loaf of her special, sourdough bread she and clean up for our lunch on shore.
It is pretty windy today. But we easily found the buoys guiding us into the beach where Angelique and Terehau live. Their homestead if quite modest, even compared to the other, open-air houses. While most are right on the lagoon beach, theirs is tucked away in the jungle, on a large clearing. Huge palm trees surround their homestead.
We had offered to bring Terehau and Angelique from Maupiti to Mopelia on Uproar. They found another ride but invited us to lunch as a thank you. Angelique set up a beautiful table with red, flowered tablecloth. Pierre joined us and a bit later, Hina rode up on her bike. Hina didn't eat, she just sat away from the table, drinking her home made beer. But that's all we ever see Hina doing! Lunch was curried coconut crab and grilled parrot fish. Terehau was able to wade out in the reef and spear two large parrot fish in spite of the crashing waves. But Terehau is a Vaa'a paddler and racer. He sure has some skills and strength.
The fish is marinated with an Asian sauce and slow grilled, almost smoked. They sometimes use a special wood or coconut shells for grilling. The smoke flavor is better than any Mesquite or Hickory. My piece of parrot fish was one of the best fish I have ever eaten! The curried coconut crab was equally delicious. They prepared a huge bowl but none of them ate it. It was strictly for us. We hardly made a dent and they insisted we take the rest back with us.
We talked for about two hours after lunch. They told us all about their lives and families and we did the same. They wanted to know about our homes and were amazed by my descriptions of Wisconsin winters. Pierre and Hina speak some English but all helped Lisa and me with our French. Terehau had mentioned that he raced Vaa'a. I asked if he had one on Mopelia. He used to but a shark bit the outrigger and crushed it! They are pretty aggressive here.
We returned to Uproar with the bowl of crab and plate of Papaya with shredded coconut for desert. Fortunately, we had planned dinner on Le Pukeko and had two dishes ready to share. We played Farkle dice, laughed and drank some wine and rum and had one of many, enjoyable evenings with our cruising friends.