Saturday, May 14, 2011


This afternoon, Ruthie and I took the dinghy over to the north shore of the lagoon and walked across the narrow atoll to the Pacific shore. No idyllic beach scene here. Instead of sand there's only miles of broken coral, some of it's the size of gravel and some the size of basketballs plus all sizes in between; all of it very sharp and difficult to walk on. The coral that's still in the water is dead and brown. The surf is small as the prevailing winds are from the east or southeast - only storms bring a north wind.

Which is why all the jetsam is strewn near the tops of the coral berms. In a way, it almost looks like a garbage dump except that it follows a fairly narrow path. The vast majority of what we saw was plastic bottles with the throw-away water bottles the most common. Next most common was the one-quart containers of motor oil. In a way, it was heartbreaking to see this primitive, isolated atoll polluted by trash that has probably traveled thousands of miles, this rugged pristine shore the end of it's line. What we found curious was the number of shoes with flip-flops the most common and ordinary tennis shoes taking the runner-up position. Of course, there was lots of polypropylene rope (because it floats) and other fishing industry-related junk. We found a very heavy duty basket (about the size of a large laundry basket) and some good floats. I have no idea of what we're going to do with them but they seemed like a good find at the time.

We're planning on leaving tomorrow but we still don't know where we're going to go. It might be to Tahanae, which is only about 50 miles from the entrance to Makemo or we might go on to Fakarava which would require an overnight passage but we have friends there we'd like to see. I don't know when we're going to make the decision - it doesn't seem to be too important.

No longer are we laughing at ourselves for the amount of provisions we put on before we left Mexico. While we still have plenty of food, we only have five pasta dinners left from the mountain of pasta packages that we stowed. The lockers that were once packed so tightly now have plenty of space. Whereas we used to say, "Why'd we buy so many of these?" we now say, "We're down to our last package of this." All the cookies are gone as are all of the cinnamon rolls. There aren't any Trader Joe's treats left. Regardless, we're still having some excellent meals. The other night I dipped some butterflied chicken breasts in egg and bread crumbs, sautéed them in butter and olive oil, served them on top of a pile of pasta topped with an Alfredo sauce. Not exactly your typical low-calorie boat meal but we don't eat like that very often. Tonight we're having dinner on board Merkava. Yuka is making sushi rolls.
At 5/15/2011 3:09 AM (utc) Rutea's position was 16°31.01'S 143°49.26'W

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