Don't worry about the elephantitus- I am pretty sure that if I was going to get it I would have already. It is spread by mosquitos and it makes body parts swell up... as I am sure you know. I guess a lot of people here have it, but I thought it was the natural build of the Polynesians to have giant arms and legs. If I get cankles I will blame it on the elephantitus. Yikes.
As for the sharks, I had my first 100% positive "you are a shark" encounter this morning while waiting for Mom and Dad to fill the jerry cans at the fuel dock. It was scary even from the dinghy. And then, this afternoon I had my second 100% positive "you are many sharks" encounter when all the fishermen came to the wharf to clean their daily catch. No sooner did a guy throw a chunk of fish in the water that it was snatched up by a ravenous shark, and then fought for by three ravenous sharks. The water was murky but when the sharks surfaced for food I could see their big fins, their nasty little eyes, their gills, and on a few occasions, their teeth. A friend said that the sharks even bit his paddles as he rowed into shore. Yikes.
You see, sharks are much more dangerous in murky water because they can't see what they are biting. They only perceive that something is there, so they might mistake my foot for a nice little fish. While there are tons of sharks in the Tuamotus, this (hopefully) won't happen because the water is crystal clear. The water is crystal clear because the Tuamotus are coral atolls, and there are no mountains to create runoff and cloud the water.
This also means saying goodbye to the bountiful land. We have stalked up on bananas (pun intended), pamplemousse, oranges, limes, fresh bread and brie. As far as I know the only food that grows naturally in the Tuamotus are coconuts. We provisioned well because there is very little industry and it is not easy (or cheap) to get food and fuel.
The passage is 500 miles and will take 3 or 4 days. Mom and I did a bunch of cooking today so we will not have to do much to eat while underway. Hummus, chili, granola, and hard boiled eggs? I think we will make it. This is cake compared with the crossing from Mexico to the Marquesas!
I tried to post a picture along with this because the internet has been good, but I don't think its going to happen. I was able to get a few on Facebook, so if you want a visual, check 'em out!
At 5/4/2011 11:36 PM (utc) Rutea's position was 08°54.89'S 140°06.32'W
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