Got myself in an awkward place a few times trying to pronounce this Island, try saying it, for that matter try saying it 3 times in a row--it's a challenge.
I woke up, said my little prayer for the day, no scriptures, I ate very little breakfast, not feeling too well today. The Island is really flat, not any mountains, we took the tender to the Island and were met with singing Polynesian music by 4 women. Dressed in traditional Tahitian clothing and so happy, I tried to give them a tip, and graciously they refused, how many times does that happen? I still insisted and got a kiss on each cheek, well worth the money.
Jesus, Antonio and Eric were off to find either a boat to take us out snorkeling, or a car to drive around the Island. NOTHING--Jesus and Antonio came back to tell us there was nothing available, I said "where is Eric?" they looked around and, well I guess the only way I can explain Eric is he is a salesman and does not take NO for an answer....he went door to door literally, he found a young girl said something to her in French and off she was on her bike. I walked out to the beach to take a look and some pictures, soon the girl came back and Eric said "let's go" He found Fernando--a young man who was willing to take us all in his truck on a trip around Fakarava. As a new set of people arrived off the tender to the Island, a husband and wife asked if they could go with us, and they were willing to sit in the back of the truck, Fernando said "WeeWee" and off we went. Fernando comes from a family of 17 children, he is number 10. Born and raised on this Island, I wondered if he ever thought about leaving or exploring other places in the world.
This Island has been protected and preserved, not much has probably changed here from the beginning of time. This Island is literally filled with unexplored beaches and villages. The pink beaches, shaded by coconut trees and crystal clear waters. Fernando took us and showed us where he lives and helps with his grandmother, then we went to one of his uncles land and fernando picked green coconuts for each of us, chopped them at the top and gave us a taste of the sweetest coconut milk I've ever had--I don't like the mushy insides of the green coconuts so I went and picked a brown one, shook it up to see if it had any juice in it, he chopped it up and we ate the meat from this coconut--I love the raw, natural taste of organic coconut--I actually ate the whole thing--no sharing.
While we were exploring the ocean waters, just a few feet from me was a shark--ummm---I was running out of that water faster than I ever did in any race I've ever done, it totally freaked me out. Fernando laughed, I looked over at him and he was making everyone hats out of palm leaves--it was so sweet. Then he surprised us by putting his hands down these holes in the sand where crabs were living, after several holes were dug into viola' he pulled out a crab, crustaceans are just one of the things the people from Fakarava are proud of. In the village of Tetamanu stands the oldest Catholic church in Polynesia. This is also an amazing place for divers, drift diving is very popular here, the coral colors were beautiful. This Island only has a population of under 1000 people, I told Fernando "no wonder you can't find a wife, you may end up marrying a cousin" Eric had to translate it in French, I was glad he laughed, I wasn't sure how he would take it.
He drove us to places and showed us amazing scenery that I know for a fact no one else on that ship got to see--although this was a short day and we had to be back on the ship by 5 it was really fun.
|The Fakarava School Bus|
|flat land coconut trees everywhere|
|She chopped open a coconut and we drank|
|white sand beaches, full of seashells, and beautiful coral|
|driveway to the beach|
|Thinking of Vi|
|These rocks were stacked all along the beach|
|put a rock on top for goof luck--mine is on the top|
|how'd you like this to be your backyard view?|
|I'm actually in the water, and a shark is within a few feet|
|beautiful beach views|
|the crab Fernando dug up|
|The home Fernando shares with his Grandmother|
|can you see the shark?---I didn't realize it until it swam just behind me|
|what can I say?|
|He thinks if he holds a machete and 3 coconuts I'm impressed.....|
|I just loved this abandoned little port|
|I loved this homemade picnic table they made on the beach for the kids|
|Fernando's truck and the guys in the back|
|Fernando showing off the crab and the hats he made for everyone|
|I could sit here, in this place all day under a coconut tree|
Tuesday SEA DAY--more like SEASICK day for me by day 13, I was physically exhausted and really missing home, my children and grandchildren. I stayed in my room a lot of this day, not feeling well, not because of being seasick, I had a migraine, and was fearing another mini stroke. I looked out my window and saw a half rainbow--it reminded me of Haleigh and when she and I went to Hawaii just a week before I was diagnosed with cancer, and then the day I finished chemo, the most beautiful full rainbow appeared out of the window where I was sitting--Rainbows are always a sign to me that something good is coming--
|What a beautiful sight|
|Jesus and Conchi Antonio and Maria Eric and I|