Dr. Katinka's practice

Ia ora na, nana

Good morning, a new, beautiful day begins. The wind rustles through the foliage of the trees that stand close together up the slope. I try to remember the last time I heard this rustling. It is not a rustling in that sense, rather a humming, a howling. I remember the forest that I had to walk through as a little boy, with grandma and grandpa. Every day after lunch, and when the dishes were done, we would walk through the forest for an hour or an hour and a half. If you listened carefully, the forest rustled, just as it does today. As a little boy, the sounds always scared me, later I was in the forest for hours and came home only late in the evening. The forest with its different trees fascinated me more and more. This has remained so to this day and I marvel at the mighty trunks that seem to stretch endlessly into the sky.

Parasitic plants in the jungle of Gambier

The dense foliage hardly lets any sun through and so we walk in semi-darkness along the path that should lead us to the other side of Mangareva Island. Parasitic plants grow along some tree trunks, their leaves enclosing the entire trunk. The wood is crisscrossed and in some places it is difficult to see the path. Jungle still describes the scene best. Everything remains pristine, most things are left as they are. It is fun to walk along here and gives you the feeling of somehow belonging. We come to a rocky edge that gives us a clear view of the anchorage in front of Rikitea. Our Katinka lies, next to a few other yachts, in azure blue water, at anchor. The coral reefs, shallows and finally the fairway are clearly visible from up here. The village of Rikitea is at our feet. We enjoy this view for quite a while, until we finally continue the way, to the crest of the hill.

Anchorage Rikitea, Gambier Islands

A small passage saves us from scrambling, over the ridge, on the last meters. On the other side, the impressive sounds of the wind are over. The crackling of dry woods, under our shoes, now outweighs the soundscape. We startle wild chickens that are roaming around in the forest in large numbers. The clucking is so loud that it drowns out the breaking of the dry twigs. After half an hour we reach the road on the north side of the island. Beautiful gardens with fruits and vegetables, bordered by ornamental shrubs, we find here. The houses and gardens are even cleaner than on the side where we are anchored. However, the bays here are used almost exclusively for pearl cultivation and therefore it is almost impossible to find an anchorage.

Pearl farming on the Gambiers, Franz. Polynesia

We are looking for the magazine that is supposed to be here. The beer is all gone, which is almost like the disaster of Hawaii, according to the song, "There is no beer in Hawaii...". Now whether there really is no beer in Hawaii I don't know, because we haven't been there yet, but maybe there is, like on the Gambiers, beer, only at unimaginable prices. For a six pack of Hinano, 33cl, I paid 23 euros in Rikitea. The beer is brewed in Tahiti, so is not subject to high import or transportation costs. It is simply a luxury good here. The problem is that with me, from 3.50 euros the can, the swallowing reflex fails and I have trouble, even, it is sometimes impossible for me to let the beer, thirst-quenching, run down the throat. A, as you can imagine, extremely unpleasant situation, especially when Gaby then makes a joke. Fortunately, this happens only rarely, so no major accidents have happened yet. On the other hand, one could say, drink something else. Unfortunately, the alternatives are not very large. A bottle of J├Ągermeister, 0.7l, costs 110 euros. A bottle of wine 35 euros. So the only options left are to switch to fruit juices without alcohol or to push the price of beer below 3.50 euros. That doesn't make the whole thing any more bearable, but it does trick the gulping reflex. Exactly, on this north side there should be a magazine, which offers beer at lower prices, than on the south side. We also find the store, but unfortunately the store hours are different from Rikitea. Here the lunch break starts already at 11.30 o'clock. Through our dawdling through the forest, we have missed this by five minutes. Now we could wait until 15.00 o'clock, or we move on without having achieved anything. We decide to try it another day and walk along the coast back to Rikitea.

Hot peppers extra hot

At one point I find a few perennials of hot peppers. The small red fruits, the juicy green perennial and the blue background of the sky, attract me to take a photo up close. "Ia ora na, nana" resounds from the garden behind. A friendly gentleman, Algerian as it turns out later, shows himself and addresses us in French. He invites us in and shows us his beautiful garden. He asks us if we like pamplemousse. In German we use the English expression grapefruit. Of course we don't say no and so he fills our backpack with several pamplemousse, papaya (green and yellow), starfruit and kaba. The latter is as big as a plum has a green skin and the fruit looks like that of a lychee. In the middle there is a pit. Last but not least we get a coconut opened and only now I realize that I am quite thirsty. We would have liked to give him something for the fruit, but he firmly refused. Very grateful we say goodbye and hope that we can return the favor in some way. We come back to Rikitea and walk in the direction of the boat dock, where we moor at the jetty, always our dinghy. Passing the community center we think back to the concert this week, which took place in the garden. We did not want to miss this event. In the process, we discovered that the pizza take away, which we thought no longer existed, does indeed still sell pizza. Just in the evening and only on weekends. We were about to leave after being told that the pizza we had ordered would take two hours to arrive due to demand. There one pushed us without further ado, with a smile, between purely and we got our pizza, half an hour later. When it was our turn, the pizza suddenly disappeared. Excitedly we shout after our predecessor, who was about to leave with her car. Quickly the right pizza is identified and they push it into our hands.

Concert in Rikitea, Gambier Islands

With filled stomach we go to the concert. Traditional songs but also well-known international songs are sung. The performer has a great voice and so the event is quite entertaining. Maybe it is because we are not used to it, but the outstanding friendliness of the people here, make it more and more difficult for us to get away from here. Therefore, there is no question of moving on in the near future. What we will do next week, you can read again here. Until then, always fair winds and keep a stiff upper lip.