Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

by Maya

Wow, it’s been a big year. We’ve done lots of things. But where will I start?
Let’s start at the beginning of last year. We visited our paternal grandparents in Virginia. There was snow at their home, which doesn’t happen too often. Kai and I and our cousins built a big igloo in the snow. We had lots of fun. But soon we had to fly back to the warm tropics.

Panama. There we met our good friends Stray Kitty and Tyee. We almost adopted the cutest little kitten named Mochito. His tail was cut off. But we realized that he would be a lot better off on land.

We had just moved from Ecuador. Fortunately, there was another ‘kid boat’ called Victoria with two boys my age. In our little town, Bahia de Caraquez, there lived a big Galapagos tortoise in the schoolyard. His name was Miguelito. We traveled inland a bit, to Cuenca where we ate at the best meat ever at a restaurant called Tiestos with chef Juan Carlos. Then we went to Quito, where Kai’s old Spanish teacher Pilar lived.

Next up is the famous Galapagos. The wildlife there is amazing. There are penguins and sea lions,

marine iguanas,

land iguanas,

finches, albatross,

and the giant prehistoric tortoise, which I saw in Ecuador. Galapagos Archipelago is a very touristy place as well. The tour boats have taken over the islands, and several months after we left, a new law had been passed that allows cruising boats to stay no more than 20 days. Fortunately we were not caught up in that and got stayed almost two months.

We made the big crossing from the Galapagos to the Marquesas. With one movie night, one chocolate day, and one baking day, we were doing pretty well food- wise. It took us 16 ½ days before we finally sighted Fatu Hiva, French Polynesia.

Did you notice the word ‘French’ in French Polynesia? That means clean streets and good food. Fatu Hiva, and the rest of the Marquesas are all very lush and mountainous. There are beautiful hikes, and pretty waterfalls. The only downfall is the water is a tiny bit murky in some spots.

One of the best experiences in this island group would be snorkeling Tahuata. There are small Manta rays, only six foot wingspan, and we jumped in the water with them.
We’ve also seen bigger mantas, like the ones we saw in Maupiti.

But soon we had to move on to the Tuomotus. Our first stop was Fakarava.
Ever heard of The South pass of Fakarava? Sound familiar? Have you been reading the blog long enough to know? For those of you who haven’t, I will explain.
Fakarava itself is an atoll, a circle of land with water inside and outside. But there are holes in the circle, and strong currents flow through. These gaps are called passes. Rich nutrients flow through the passes. Nutrients means lots of fish, tons of fish means abundance of sharks.
These passes create beautiful diversity. There are the blacktip reef sharks, the grey sharks, the silvertip sharks.

There are also very pretty reef fish.

One of the most amazing fish is the humphead wrasse, also known as the Napoleon fish. That name is a joke. These fish are as big as a shark, and could eat my brother Kai!

Just kidding, they don’t actually eat people.
The cool thing is that the current runs really fast, and you get swept by the reefs without swimming.

But enough about Fakarava, let’s go to Toau. The reason I love Toau so much is because there are a bunch of dogs. One dog called Rubi has five puppies. There’s another big golden retriever who’s a really nice dog.

Next is Tahiti where we sailed 40 miles upwind with Oma and Poppa Nate to see the full solar eclipse. It was so impressive that we now count years AE for After Eclipse, instead of AD.

If you ever go to Bora Bora, make sure you do the hike. There’s an amazing view.
Suwarrow in the Cook Islands is full of sharks, and two really fun park rangers. Their names are Api and James. Once we went coconut crab hunting with them. They host parties onshore, with big bonfires. Suwarrow is a lot of fun.

Then there is Tonga, with all the whales that we didn’t see. Tonga, like Galapagos, has a tour boat problem. Instead of touring islands, these boats whale-watch.
They tell cruisers it’s against the law for them to get in the water with a whale. Then they cut between the yacht and the whale, and put their swimmers in.

Next Kamaya went to New Zealand, where people talk in funny English. They have different words for various things such as these. Take a guess at what they mean.


But I forgot all about resolutions!

My last year’s resolution was to read 100 books. Then I calculated my goal and found out that I would have to read 3 books a week, so I changed it to 75. But that still seemed too much. It became 50. But I read that many early on, so I changed back to 75. Now I’ve surpassed that goal, and it’s back to 100. I’m at 83 books today and I have one day left. Can I make it?

Probably not. But I’ll try anyway.

Well, I still need some resolutions for this year. I was thinking of these, but it’s not enough.
1: learn to do a quadruple flip halyard swinging.
2: read 100 books. (again.)
3: … I don’t know, what do you think?

Please comment.


Jim and Heather on Meerkat said...

What an incredible year!

Scurvy said...

My resolution is to write some New Year's resolutions before the end of the year. But that won't work for you since you're way ahead of the game. Sounds like you had a great year, you could resolve to come stow away with me on Silver Lining and do it all over again next year;)


Maya said...

I read your Christmas post on your blog, very funny. I really like your blog stories and I think you should write one about new years, or something. Thanks for commenting,

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