Kai celebrated his 9th birthday on Tuesday last week and we were fortunate to be with five other kid boats – 12 kids total – anchored next to an idyllic pink sand beach at the Southeast end of Fakarava. There were a few abandoned homes and four wild pigs roaming beneath the coconut palms.
At two o’clock, after boat school we gathered on the beach for the party. The first chore was transporting the cake and the party favors to shore without getting them wet. The strong north wind made the task a little more challenging.
As we approached shallow water, ten year old Andrea from the catamaran, Stray Kitty, hopped out of the dinghy and I handed her the chocolate cake. “Make sure to keep it upright,” I said.
She waded through the water and placed the cake on a flat sandy section. In the meantime, we unloaded our dinghy and within minutes a big black pig meandered quietly over towards the cake. We noticed him just as it started nudging the cake top with its snout. Tim fended him off in the nick of time.
“That was close! I didn’t think we had to worry about pigs!” he said.
We walked towards the sand spit at the end of the beach where birthday Kai and some of the guests were already there playing in the coral colored sand and the pig followed us, still keen on getting a piece of cake.
“He’s not invited to the party,” Maya said.
“It’s not just one of them, but three more pigs who want to come,” Andrea said pointing at the three black pigs and one brown one.
“Let’s eat the cake first and then we can play games,” I suggested.
We gathered in a wind protected area and sang Happy Birthday to Kai. As he blew out his candles, we fended off the hungry pigs with our kayak paddle. Each child gave Kai hand-made cards, most with pictures of the sea creatures surrounding us. Ryan had made a bow and arrow out of pieces of wood and strings that he found on his boat. “It’s really amazing how creative boat kids can be,” Behan from the boat Totem, exclaimed.
Next came the games: pin the tail on the shark, throw the coconut into the atoll, tug-of-war and a sand castle contest. Kai loved the sand castle contest the best. He and Simi from Tyee teamed together and took some sea cucumbers from the sea to guard their palace. Austin from Capaz built a castle where hermit crabs could venture into one hole and out another. Austin’s brother, Bryce worked with Niall from Totem and built Isengard, from the Lord of the Rings. They used sticks to reinforce the castle so it wouldn’t tumble down and on the top, they staged a battle between two hermit crabs, the white one was Gandalf and the darker one was Saruman.
Maya and Andrea had made individual prizes, like personal bookmarks, knitted clothes for stuffed animals, a Harry Potter wand, and an artistic crown for birthday Kai. Each participant received a prize.
At sunset, we had a bonfire and roasted marshmallows.
Kai said when we got back to the boat, that this was one of his best birthdays.