Mato's birthday

What Matotea wanted most in the world for her 11th birthday was to swim with whales! Well that could be tricky elsewhere, but here it's easy enough, though mid-October is getting towards the end of the season!

So, off we went, it took a while to find them, and the girls went through excitement, to boredom to disappointment...
... until at last, off the coast, right in front of our home, we saw a mother and calf, we had to be patient, but Matotea was a star, and leapt right in as soon as she was able, Heimana was less happy in the water (well it was her first time swimming outside the reef, and I have to admit it was rather cool for my liking), but anyway it was a success... 
Matotea wants to go back next year!


Island Blues

Photo: Uschi Ringleb
At the beginning of September we made our biannual trip to Tahiti for the salon du tourisme. It was the usual social whirl with a bit of paper chasing, searching for this spare part and stocking up on luxuries. It was too good to be true, our cargo boat, the Tuhaa Pae, scheduled to arrive in Tahiti a few days before (laden with my jams) would leave the day after us - laden with goodies for the guesthouse, but, just like the best laid plans of mice and men...

The boat managed to break its rudder and has been out of service since! After a couple of weeks we were served by a small boat belonging to the local authorities, but with minimum supplies, some food for the stores, gas for heaters and cooking, as well as fuel! Things got pretty crazy, with people queuing to buy gas cylinders, within hours the shops were completely emptied - no rice, milk, sugar, flour, you name it!

Then a couple of weeks later the Mareva Nui a cargo boat that serves the Tuamotus helped us out, bringing a lot of our things, at last! Including the tiles, counter tops and new sink for my kitchen, hurrah.....but three of the containers of food were spoiled by a diesel leak, so there was still very little in the stores. What a cruel twist of fate!

Finally, yet another boat rotation was put in place to replace the spoiled food, using a boat belonging to the Territory. The news on the street, the Tuhaa Pae should finally be back in service, and leaving on November 4th.

It'll be a big relief for the stores here, though honestly, while a lot was made of the problems (particularly in Tubuai  where they ran out of chlorine to treat the tap water, and bottled water ran out too), we actually have enough to eat with fish, coconuts and taro, so besides taking cold showers and driving around a little less, we survived! it's not that long ago that the islands were plied by schooners, an even more irregular service.

If anything, it's a wake-up call to inspire me to keep going with the veggie garden, which I've actually been neglecting recently, though we have been eating salad, greens, tomatoes, christophene, squash, courgette, spring onions, herbs and string beans from there, as well as a few small carrots. Just got to keep at it!


The long holidays!

It seemed like they were going to yawn out in front of us forever, back in July, but in the end the long holidays were over in a flash, a colorful and fun flash.
There were the sights and sounds of the heiva. Amaiterai "oohed and aahed" over the fireworks, won more plastic toys at the the "duck pond" than we could every really need or want.

Matotea our Rurutu allstar, danced and weaved and declamed her way through it all, winning the competition for the best market bag and making headlines, presenting orero (Polynesian orator) and dancing with the dance school's group!

Heimana turned eight, another year, another cake!
Viriamu's horse cruised home easily in first place at the heiva race.

The kids enjoyed new friends, hiking, baking cupcakes and making sand mermaid tails on our favourite beach. And then it was over....
Mato started highschool and Heimana and Amai went up a class.

Now we're staring down another busy week of school holidays, the infamous week in September. It's always chock-a-block here in Rurutu, being school holidays and whale season. This year the season is a bumper one, so at least the guests will be happy, the pressure for there to be whales is fairly intense, though at the moment there are some twenty or more whales around the island on a daily basis. Which is a lot, for our tiny island!


Winter break

I've been neglecting the blog recently - let's call it a winter break. A combination of the cold weather laying us low with coughs and flu over the past couple of weeks, general busyness and the new garden sucking my spare time.
The girls have been preparing the school 'mini-heiva', here they are in costume with little bro' who just wanted to be in on the action too. Now with the long 'winter' holidays looming, the girls are rehearsing for the dance school performance.

It was also school photo time, so here they are, the changing faces....Matotea's last photo, next year it's high school.
Mother's day also passed, the girls wrote me both gushing poems, and I got lots of hugs so I felt truly pampered! In turn they got to go to the Mother's day bash with their aunties - Matotea won a fabulous hat.....which she promptly sold - she's trying to raise funds for the heiva! The girls are also being apprenticed in weaving by their tattie Dorianne, with an eye to selling their creations at the heiva's arts center, Matotea is even considering participating in the weaving competitions, for the prizes - an entrepreneurial spirit that I find admirable! Even if it is just to use to buy popcorn at the heiva.

In the garden, we have moved from pig tilling to brute force, the men put up a fence and dug out some paths, turning the beds. I've followed up filling the paths with gravel and starting to plant out some veggies and mulch. It's become a slightly obsessive thing, I can't believe how excited I am about it, it's silly really. Just hope we actually get some harvest, I have already got some string beans and christophene climbing up the chicken wire, tomatoes, peppers and aubergines in, with borders of greens and lettuce inter planted with onions, garlic and scallions, and a host of other seeds to plant.

I will try and be more diligent with the blog, and there'll be plenty of news to report with the upcoming heiva festivities...