Mopelia, day 13 through 16, giant coconut crabs
29 October 2020
Mopelia September 30 through October 4
I'm getting just as bored writing this as I'm sure the reader is...that is if you are still with me. We have discovered many of the mysteries of this atoll and its gregarious people. But new experiences crop up every day.
We were invited to a Saturday noon meal at Mana and Maureen's. Shortly after, 2K and Le Pukeko were invited as well as Rava, Terai and Hina. Mana promised us coconut crab which we have come to enjoy. But first, he invited us to join him for a crab hunt. We met on the beach at 8:30 with flashlights. Mana and Maureen led us through the jungle to a place where there was a small fresh water hole. We saw a few, small crabs on the way, too small to eat. But when we got in the neighborhood, we started spotting bigger ones. Kjell caught a nice one and put it in the five gallon bucket I was carrying.
Then he spotted a bigger one. We dumped the small one out and in went his big brother. Big brother was pissed off. He was also big enough to reach the rim with a leg and crawl out. I kept stuffing him down but it became clear he would not submit. We then attempted to tie his legs and claws up with a small rope. Mana had shown us how. We got him trussed up but it wasn't pretty.
Magali spotted a big, white one and pointed it out to me. I scrambled through the jungle and paralyzed it with my flashlight. You have only one, quick grab of the back of the shell to capture a coconut crab. Any hesitation or timidity and they can not only escape, but they can crush a finger right to the bone! I got him. Mana stepped in and again showed us how to truss up a crab. I think mine weighted three pounds.
The dinner was a real show with twice as much food as we could eat. Maureen and Mana served coconut crab, benetea (giant Pacific clam), poison cru (raw fish in coconut milk), rice and salad.
Polynesian beer (water, yeast and sugar fermented) was served throughout the afternoon. We drank it sparingly, knowing the power and potential poisons it contains. Strangely enough, Terai, Rava and Hina didn't eat anything. They just drank.....and to excess! Terai explained, "We will eat tomorrow." I guess they didn't want the food to interfere with their intoxication. Again, piles of and food were wrapped for us to take back to our boats.
We hauled Mana's boat on shore and turned it over. Termites had eaten the keel and it leaked badly. Chris, professional boat builder confirmed that my 5200 and some new wood could make the repair. I told Mana if he removed the rotten keel, we would replace it for him with the 5200. He was excited to get his boat operational again. Then Terai mentioned his aluminum skiff had a crack. We will take a look at his boat and try to fix it with a patch, pop riveted in place and sealed with 5200.
That was yesterday. Today, Sunday was a day to sober up and eat for Rava, Terai and Hina. But we heard quite a party on shore at Hina's well into midnight. Kjell and I will visit tomorrow and see if any progress has been made on the boats or if they are sleeping off another party night.