Survivor Aitutaki

Today we went into the town to Arutanga to check in with the
authorities. All our guides said that they would come to us, but they
don’t. Paperwork had to be filled in and our passports got stamped. We
changed money at the bank next door and sat down to wait for the Health
inspector Mataiti to come. He was a jolly guy and told us about how
abuzz Arutanga was about all the Americans already here and more due to
come in two weeks. The next version of the T.V. show “Survivor” is going
to start filming in two weeks.

After check-in Susan and I went shopping for groceries and Steve went
off to find out about diving. If we thought supplies were expensive in
French Polynesia, we were wrong. We decided several of the things on our
list could wait until Roratonga, which is supposedly much cheaper.

Steve ended up renting a car and we toured about every inch of the
island, including driving through the Survivor Base Camp. Lots of work
is being done in preparation for the show. We finally found the Marae,
or ancient holy site, The tourist maps they hand out have roads on them
that are no longer used and it was down one of these we went. Adventure
ensued. We got thoroughly stuck in the mud. A very nice local many
pulled us out and refused all attempts to compensate him

One of the highlights of our day was the Aitutaki Marine Research
Center. In large tanks, they had thousands of giant clams in various
stages. The center is trying to re-populate the lagoon. The clams have
been decimated by humans picking them for food. In another tank were
several small honu (green sea turtles). They were so cute. I’ve never
seen them so small. They probably weighed in at less than a pound. The
ones I baby-sit up at the North Shore of Oahu are from 150 to 300+
pounds.

Tonight we’re having dinner at Tauono’s a place where much of what’s on
the plate was grown in the gardens surrounding the restaurant. The fish
is local too. It should be a treat. The seating is outdoors and very
charming.

We also made reservations for tomorrow night to see the Island Nights
show. It moves around from place to place each night of the week. We
will see it at the Samade on the Beach “resort”. It’s a little place
with bungalows and the tables are in the sand right on the beach. We
stopped at several of the hotel/bungalow places and many are very
charming. We ate a nice fish and chips lunch at one call Te Vaka. The
British are the main influence here. They have crumpets in the grocery,
raisins are called sultanas and many other thing from the U.K. are on
the shelves of the store.

Tomorrow we hope to get in some marine adventures. Susan and Steve are
diving. The dive is a “wall” dive and deep, which I’m not quite ready
for. I’ll run off in the dinghy to find some snorkeling.

Thanks for all the well wishes coming our way. Howard has been keeping
us up-to-date with headlines. Just headlines. They ‘re very funny and we
enjoy them tremendously. Steve bought a paper today only to find out
later that it’s a week old. Oh well, we didn’t read the news from then
either. In reality, it’s been a very nice thing to not hear about all
the messed up places in the world.