Thursday, August 20, 2009

Traveling French Polynesia by Supply Ship Part 2

Before the sun was up we could hear the crew starting to unload supplies. Jasmine and I got up at first light to find most of Tikehau out on the quay waiting for their fuel, boxes of food, furniture, bicycles and just about anything else you could think of, to get loaded down. The lagoon was a silent early morning blue, and Tikehau, the atoll I believe to be the most beautiful in the Tuamotus, was gleaming in calm, palm-fringed perfection.

I was very eager to get on land even though the boat was hardly moving at dock, so Jasmine and I got off the boat and wandered around the pretty, flower-filled village. I'd been to Tikehau before on assignment for Lonely Planet so knew my way around already. First stop was the bakery to get some fresh pastries, the store to get drinks and then we headed out to the dock again to watch our crew throw items so heavy that they really shouldn't be thrown, off the side of the boat and down to very brave, strong other workers of the boat crew on the dock below. Really big items like cars and pallets of cement are unloaded with the crane. I saw a few familiar faces, none of who remembered me (Tikehau is fairly touristy but most of the lodging options are very local style family run pensions where no one has heard of, or could care less about Lonely Planet), but everyone was friendly and acted happy to see me anyway. We waited hungrily for the only small restaurant in town to open (we'd been living on snack food for 36 hours at this point) and had a quick lunch of chow mein and a very tasty poisson cru at 11am before getting back on the boat just before its departure.

It was a little sad leaving land and the graceful curves of Tikehau but the sea was calm, we were well fed and knew that the next stop, Rangiroa wasn't too far away.

Note: photos this page by Celeste Brash

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