Monday January 25, took the dinghy over the other side of the pass to the village of Tiputa. Tried to purchase a Travel SIM card at the Poste, but they didn’t sell them. It was a peaceful walk, very few cars, several bikes.
Later back across the pass we had a wonderful lunch at the resort Les Relais Josephine, on the deck overlooking the water. WiFi was good there too, able to upload a blog post and some photos to Facebook.
For dinner we made reservations for dinner at Hotel Kia Ora Resort and Spa. We believe it’s the “fanciest” place on Rangiroa. The meal was exquisite!
Tuesday January 26, with rented bikes we first rode to Gauguin’s Pearl Farm. It was a very comprehensive tour on how oysters are grown and pearls are cultivated. The farm utilities many acres of lagoon water.
The technician is working with two small batches of oysters as they can only be out of the water for up to two hours. With one batch, he’s inserting a mother of pearl seed “nucleus”, on which mother of pearl will grow to make the pearl. With the second batch, he’s removing a pearl. If the pearl is acceptable quality, he will insert another nucleus. If not, the oyster is used for other purposes, like eating and the Mother of Pearl shell is sent away for buttons and other jewelry. They will use the same oyster up to 5 times as long as it continues to produce quality pearls.
The nucleus is a bead of Mother of Pearl. They harvest thick shelled crustaceans from the Mississippi River. These shells are shipped to Japan, where they are sliced, cubed and shaped into spheres.
“Black” Pearls are unique to the Tuamotus and Gambier Islands. White pearls are cultivated in Japan, grayish pearls in Australia.
And of course there a boutique where you can purchase loose as well as mounted jewelry with pearls.
Afterwards we continued to the village of d’ Avatoru.
Then rode back to Les Relais Josephine resort where we returned the bikes and had lunch on their patio by the water.
Sundowner with homemade pizza on our boat with Kate and Will s/v Seneto from the UK and Arianne and Michael on s/v Joy from Holland.
Wednesday January 27, we missed yesterday as a chocolate day, so it’s today, number 4. Dan worked on the water maker plumbing, cleaned strainers, tightened the rudder post packing, lubricated the refrigerator drain pump and more… most of the morning. I was moral support and tool getter. After lunch we planned our next 3 atoll anchorages and timing getting into and out of the lagoons.
Atolls have narrow passes, and should only be entered at or near slack tide (or little current), as water can flow as much as 4-10 knots.