An epic sailing adventure of surfing, skateboarding, kiteboarding, and exploration aboard the “Natural Mystic” header image 2

Ben’s Tuamotu Tale of Swashbuckling Pirates

March 27th, 2009 · 3 Comments

Arrrrhhh maties. So you want to hear about me pearls?? This here’s a tale of four mangy, plundering seamen, one boat wench and a feline more frightening than any creature from the Deep.

Our time in the remote Tuamotu atolls in the South Pacific was totally unforgettable. In Faaite we had dropped the hook in the middle of the crazy reef pass, so this time we were going into the lagoon’s more placid waters to anchor. We made another memorable arrival when we finally sailed into Kaitu. After trusting Charlies Charts for guidance through the sketchy reef pass, we dragged our skeg and rudder across the coral to mark our arrival. reef mystery_meat Local’s welcomed us with BBQ and warm Polynesian charm. While in Panama, we had stocked up on “rare provisions” to trade in the Tuamotus. So we went to work with them to harvest the treasures of the lagoon.hao_pearl_dive1 We started bright and early when Tikhei and Hao came to pick us up.oyster_boat  With our local liaison’s navigating our way to the secret buoy laced with blackened gems, we suited up for the dive. They told us that a good 13mm black pearl will grow in about 5-6 years. So, with morning eye-boogers still clogging my vision through “foggy goggles”  we plucked our ripened booty from the pristine waters of the lagoon. At first, I figured these oysters would be on the sea floor 30 meters below us and the dive would be brutal especially for Hao who had polished off most of the bottle of Rum from last night’s BBQ. bbq The harvest was smooth and went surprisingly well. We hooked our anchor around the buoy and pulled the oyster bags up to a good level to dive so that we could get them in the boat before asphyxiation set in. A near tragedy occurred when Dizzy attempted to untie the oyster bag but sent it hurling towards to sea floor. Luckily Kyber was there to make the save. The entire process ended up being streamlined with help from the experts who taught us a few tricks of the trade. By 11am we were back in town and ready to rock.

pearl_farm pearl_farming cleanin_oysters hole_drilling ky_oyster pearl_clinic

We brought a boatload back to the farm where we scraped off the crusted shells, extracted the black pearls then seeded them again w/ white pearls so they could grow for another several years. hao_pearl-extraction

black_pearl tikhei We swapped our booty of electronics and  booze for bilges of black pearls… pearl_selection  tina_pearls 

” keep yur scurvy-crusted lil’ hands off my pearls ya scalawag”

 beach nattym_docked strollin handstands piggy b_ball girls puppy mini-playas hoisting_main kaitu_wave pluneria banana_hammock sunrise diving_deep cooler-o-fish kids_catch tindy group_shot reef_passin

kaitu_beach trio kaitu_beach2

nattym1 me_bowsprit pkiddy_napping



Tags: Ben's blog

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Charles Logue // Mar 27, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    Hey there Pearl Pirate Great photo essay! Most enjoyable! You place the viewer/reader right in the action. Was sorry when your post ended. You look at the pictures and all they display, and you wonder why so few people live there. I mean what is the appeal of Kansas or N. Dakota, San Bernadino or a million other places. There simply is no comparison! Guess that is why I love the N. Shore of Hawaii so much. Take Care, Charles

  • 2 Tinana // Mar 29, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    Benny bo bo, I love your hammock picture! Is that also a buoy-tree to the left there with only a single buoy hanging from the tree to give it away? I think it is and I think it is wonderful! Also I think you might have captured the essence of the toamotus right there. I hope all is well and that you are still enjoying your life as a landkrab. Love Tina

  • 3 Ben // Mar 30, 2009 at 1:51 am


    Hey there matie, still got your pearls?

    Thanks but I always think about the shots I didn’t get… like the kids there loving you, chanting your name and coming by the boat spying on you while you slept! You could be president of the Tuamotus if you wanted.

Leave a Comment