Aitutaki – Hunt & Gather

Dear F&F,

July 6, 2010

Aitutaki – Hunt & Gather

Scott finds out via cell call that Rarotonga Customs is holding our package
for 1 day. No, there is no fee, nor any reason they just are because they
can. They understand we are a yacht in transit. But nonetheless, it will not
be on a plane to Aitutaki until tomorrow. He becomes sick. He complains he
is hung over from the lousy fruit wine (which I avoided). I give him aspirin
with his tea & yogurt. He uploads email & weather as usual. I fry our eggs
and assemble my shopping bags. I have an opportunity this morning to hunt &
gather from every market on the island. Sadly, one crane of the cargo ship
is broken so offloading is taking extra time & the stores do not yet have
all their goods on the shelves. I have to make do with what they have. The
car must go back at noon.

At the nearest market we see they have just started to stock their goods, I
can return later. It is even close enough to walk.

Bonnie\’s fuel station mini mart produced a carton of unrefrigerated 2% box
milk upon my request. I also bought a couple mystery wines from Australia &
NZ to try.

Next stop is the Free Range eggs lady. Her sign is not out on the street,
but we pullover & give her a yoo-hoo anyway. Her screen door opens quickly &
she presents one dozen. I ask for 3. She hesitates, but when I explain we
are on a yacht & I cannot store the refrigerated ones they sell in the
store, she comes forth with the requested amount. We gush about her grown
daughter’s restaurant Koru & have a pleasant exchange. I hope she does not
feel I have had my \”share\” because I\’d love to score another 3 dozen before
we leave here, likely next weekend.

We zoom over the hill to Neeibah’s Market. The name we think is a kind of
pidgeon English for neighbor. I get vacuum packed white rice (no brown to be
found), canned beets, and several bottles of experimental wine. Scott cannot
bear to look at the wine, so it is up to me & I forgot my reading glasses,
so can\’t read the descriptions on the back. Oh well. Nothing is over $15 US,
so worth the gamble.

We stop at a warehouse that advertises frozen fish & meat. I score nice
fresh onions plus about 6 beef rump steaks.

Another store gets produce via airplanes. I scooped up 6 precious oranges, 5
kiwis, feta cheese & sliced salami.

Swing by the first market a 2nd time to see if anything new has appeared on
the shelf: they don\’t have their wine stocked yet, but one worker convinces
me that the frozen sausages are good. I also pick up what is labeled bacon,
but looks more ham shaped. She convinces me it IS sliced bacon but in more
bulk package. I spring for it, knowing I have freezer space. What the heck?

We load the dinghy with our booty, I refrigerate & freeze the appropriate

I almost got there without getting lost. I had one mini glitch, knew I was
very near but didn\’t want to lose time guessing, so stopped at Koru
restaurant to have the egg ladies daughter steer me in the right direction.

I had paid the extra $10 to get a ride back, but when I handed the keys to
the local lady at the desk she told me she was too busy & huffed off. But I
heard her report my presence to the nice mechanic (we think proprietor) who
had rented the car to us yesterday. A door to another building slammed, I
patiently waited 10 more minutes & he appeared freshly showered & dressed to
drive me back. I made small talk & he stopped at a take away to order his
lunch on his way back. Happily the car did not smell of diesel, voila! A
successful outing. It is really important for me to go out without Scott
sometimes, whether by dingy or car or foot, to keep my independence & not
become a helpless Ninny. He was very happy to have some rest.

I saw an ambulance at the dinghy dock & noticed several people staring at a
sailboat with attendant small fishing boat coming into the pass. I zoomed to
“Beach House” to rouse Scott that \”something\” was going on. Turns out it was
our solo French friend Bernard, from the last island. Scott & I see he is
anchored to one side of the pass. Out of the path of the barge & other
vessels & blessedly not further crowding our cozy 3-some near the wharf. We
give him a hearty welcome, and learn that during his 3 day passage from
Mopelia he lost his footing with a big wave & hit his ribcage on a hard
edged surface. Youch! Both Scott & I have suffered a broken rib in the past
& there is nothing but time to heal it. It\’s been 2 days for him…only 5
1/2 weeks to go. We gave him a ride to shore & learned that HE was the
reason the ambulance was there. His French-accented English requesting help
to winch up his keel for the shallow pass due to a sore rib, resulted in an
ambulance. Neither the police nor medical services have a boat of any kind.
They just radio anyone in the area to please render aid. A small fishing
boat helped him & he was safely anchored by the time we showed up on the
scene. The Customs & Immigration guy is out sick today, so Bernard hailed us
to fetch him from shore & I ferried him back out to his boat for a much
needed rest. He can clear customs tomorrow.

The afternoon was quiet: Scott resting & me writing. Near 5:00 p.m & we
noticed the wind direction had changed & placed our stern uncomfortably
close to the bow of the Swiss monohull. Anchoring maneuvers again, with rain
this time! I managed the dinghy tugboat, Scott the big boat. Soon we hear
Jerome ashore hollering for Natalie. Once he drops her & Leo off, he comes
to our aid. Jerome takes over tugboat duty with his dinghy. Scott takes the
stern anchor in our dinghy to reset it & I control “Beach House\’s” direction
front, back & spin with the twin engines. Let out bow chain, while Scott
moves into position to set the stern. We are not sure if the stern anchor
really dragged, or it is just that we had more chain out than the Swiss boat
& with the change in wind direction it put us too close. We were grateful
that they were not aboard during these shenanigans. Scott is still swearing
at them for anchoring too close, but life is too short to hold grudges.
Surely they noticed the change of our position upon their return, but said
nothing. There was a rainbow during anchor maneuvers & now a gorgeous golden
sunset. I DID enjoy happy hour – so life is good.

I am amazed at how much I write sometimes. I hope it is not too boring.

Cindy & Scott