Monday, October 10, 2011

Toau - what a place!

The cruisers are right - Toau is a very special place and Gaston and Valentine are excellent hosts and have been sharing their island with us.

Friday nights Trash Burning party turned out to be a cruisers potluck hosted by Gaston and Valentine. Besides Moondance and Evergreen, there are two other boats moored in the pass (Elan and Kindred Spirit) and we all joined in on the fun. Lots of good food and wine were consumed and lots of storytelling (in 4 different languages) and lots of laughter.

Saturday, we all got in our dinghy's and followed our hosts through the lagoon to the motu/island where they have their pearl farm. We helped them clean up the island; they provided fresh fish for the picnic. We know the fish were fresh, we watched Gaston spear them in the fish trap - quite a show. Besides the pearl farm, the motu is a nesting place for the boobies, frigates, and other birds. The motu is also a good place to snorkel and cool off after working so hard - hah!

Sunday, we spent the day snorkeling in the pass where we are anchored. We have to say, Toau has the best snorkeling and the most fish we have seen in French Polynesia - by far - just incredible. Lots of big fish - over 4 footers, plus lots of little guys (my kind) - snappers, big Napolean wrasse, grouper, parrot fish, and lots of moray eels and wonderful coral.

Gaston and Valentine's fish trap is an amazing site - like looking into a big aquarium - sharks and all. The fish swim in, but can't get out - perfect. There are too many fish to count and too many different types to identify - just mesmerizing.

Josh and Dennis on Evergreen did some spear fishing and stabbed a parrot fish and a grouper - very tasty. Spear fishing is a challenge here. After you spear a fish, you have to get it out of the water immediately because the sharks start circling. Spooky! Doug wants to try it today. I would prefer to just do some fishing.

We also did some bartering with Valentine for black pearls and jewelry: tomato juice, champagne, wine, TP, soap, engine oil, etc. Gaston and Valentine live approximately 2 hours (by boat) from the nearest village that has a store so they are always needing provisions. It was a very successful trade for all.

Tonight, we are invited to their restaurant for dinner - we think we are having lobster. Yum! Plus, we want to do some walking around some of the islands. Busy day!

Can't wait for you to see the pictures - as soon as we have internet!

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