Monday 22 April 2019

Easter Weekend in Rangiroa

Rangiroa is the largest atoll in the Tuamotus, with a population of
about 3000 spread out among the islands that sit on the coral reef.
We waved off Lizzie, James , Bridget and Paddy at the
airstrip on Thursday after a memorable and wonderful time together on

We have cycled around the motu and spent time watching the dolphins
leap from the waves in the pass. A pod of about 60 dolphins live here,
together with the sharks, manta rays, moray eels, barracudas and
millions of amazing fish. Each time we go snorkeling I see another
incredible colourful fish that I am sure I have never seen before. And
more different vivid corals. Or am I the goldfish forgetting it all
after one lap?

On Friday and Saturday there was an outrigger canoe regatta across the
anchorage - the first race went out through the pass to the ocean, and
the fleet of about 20 canoes spread out over the long distance. Support
boats with outboards created huge wakes - more challenges for the crews
at the back of the field. There are 3 men in each canoe, very fine
narrow boats with an outrigger on the port side to help stabilise the
boat. The best crews were amazing to watch, their timing perfect and
steering minimal.

The best part of our Easter weekend though was our visit to the local
Catholic church yesterday morning. 11km away at the other end of the
island, the church is perched by the other pass into Rangiroa, Avatoru.
We were advised to arrive early for the 8am service, and were glad we
did; at 7:30 it was almost full. All the people were dressed in white,
women and girls with flowers in their hair, the best easter bonnets we
have ever seen.
The service was conducted in a mixture of French and the local
Polynesian language, the priest changing from one to the other half way
through his sermon. Most of the singing was in Polynesian but luckily
for us, they had a screen with all the words for us to follow,
and Alleluia is the same!
The singing was amazing. Harmonising beautifully, the voices raised the
roof. There were 10 christenings and 4 first communions folded into the
When we left the church there was a bus outside, so we jumped on with
everone else. It was taking islanders who live south of the Tiputa pass
back to the wharf by our anchorage to catch the ferry home. All the
way , there was amazing singing in the bus, and laughter, and such joy.
We were made so welcome.

We have been joined on board by Andrew and Swade, ARC organisers,
with us until Tahiti, and by Pim van Hooff, with us for longer! It is
great to have their company. Plans are to move on tomorrow nivht , next
stop Makatea.
All is very good.

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