Pacific Ocean

Ylang Ylang: under the spell of Mopelia

Published on 01 february 2017 at 0h00

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At Maupiti, we loaded some parcels for Mopelia, finally fewer than planned: “a cargo ship passed last week.” We arrived in the morning in front of the pass; it isn’t wide, but at slack water, we only had 3 knots of current against us. We anchored in the north of the atoll. Eighteen people live on Mopélia. As soon as we arrived, Marcello and Albert came to take delivery of their parcels and took advantage of the occasion to invite us to eat at their houses, in turn. In the evening, we ate with Albert. He offered us freshly-opened coconuts as a welcoming drink. On the menu: grilled lobster, raw fish salad and cucumbers (which grow on the atoll!) with tern eggs, and grilled chicken. The tern eggs taste very similar to those from a hen. To collect them, you first have to mark out a perimeter, then throw away all the eggs you find within it. When you return, 2 or 3 days later, the birds will have laid new eggs, which will inevitably be fresh. Not very kind to the birds, but effective. One of Albert’s cousins arrived in a ‘potimarara’ from Maupiti – 5 hours to cover 100 miles. He caught an enormous 40kg Spanish mackerel; the fish would be shared among everyone, ourselves included. At the end of a final meal, Adrienne gave us necklaces of shells, which she and her girls had made. After 18 months, we are leaving French Polynesia, where we have been dazzled by the scenery, enchanted by the ...

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