Pacific Ocean

La Cigale: in the footsteps of Kon Tiki.

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The memorial to Thor Heyerdahl has been erected at the centre of a small motu, barely an acre large where he ran aground on the reef exterior to the atoll. It is a small plaque with a couple of beams from the Kon Tiki raft propped up in front, and a few Norwegian flags in the trees around. As we approached two dozen fairy terns, like white dove with black beaks (where was the olive branch? wondered Isabelle), part hummingbird, part seagull, circled above our head. Island spirits flitting above, they conjured up an ethereal atmosphere, a midsummer (well, nearly!) day’s dream. As the sun set on the island, we built castles and flamingos in the rose-coloured coral sand. And the light. An artist would have a field day here. As we passed over the transparent water, as still as a millpond, I spotted a splash of royal blue and called a halt. I thought that we had somehow dropped our swim towel and manoeuvred round to pick it up. On closer inspection we realised it was coral, deep azure. In other parts, violet.

We had five days in Rairoa with 3 boat friends, and it was so much fun. Each evening they would get a bonfire going on the beach, and, keen on spearfishing, barbecue the catch of the day. I imagined Thor Heyerdahl looking down on his fellow country-folk, there in his honour, and ...

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