Explorer Jon Bowermaster sends dispatches from the deep South (Pacific).
Dispatch 5: Anaa and Faaite
October 8, 2002
[Note: Nationalgeographic.com does not research or copyedit field dispatches.]
We left Papeete, Tahiti on a cargo boat a couple nights ago and we met up with Alex [Nicks] and [photographer] Pete [McBride] here in Faaite, a tiny little atoll about 300 miles (483 kilometers) east. Our kayaks are strapped to the roof.
We are going to use this ferry, this cargo boat, to visit the far, far eastern edge as a way to get us from atoll to atoll through the rest of this trip which will take us to the least seldom seen and least populated atolls out here. As the boat captain said this morning, le plus sauvage, the most wild of the islands, are out this direction.
This morning we stopped in Anaa and the most phenomenal thing we saw there was the fact that the lagoon is filling in and getting more and more shallow which reflects green into the clouds as they come across the lagoon. The sailors all know when they are approaching Anaa because the clouds above it are green.
Now itís sunset in Faaite and Iím watching the little balinieses, the little whale boats, bring in supplies off the cargo boat. Faaite gets visited once a month by cargo boatso this is a big deal. The entire 200 person population is out on the docks. And the boats are bringing them everything from food to gasoline and they are handing it out individually from family to family as they ordered it.
And just beyond that weíve got surfers. Thereís a really nice left break out here which takes people away from the coral, which I understand is pretty shallow, close to the surface.
So, we are watching the sun go down, watching surfers, watching the scene on the dock and by nightfall, we will be paddling back to the cargo boat and continuing east. And we will check in from further out there.