Sunday, June 13, 2010

Birthdays, Visitors and Paddling

Well good grief, we are late bunnies this month. Too much paddling I'd say. When we are not on the water paddling (on alternate nights) we are establishing the Oe Vaka Aitutaki blog, editing and uploading regatta photos and compiling race results. The rest of the time is spent with correspondence school and work.

May/June has been a slow month for tourists on Aitutaki - due mainly to the misconception that the island has not recovered from the cyclone. The truth is that the place is looking great. The has been remarkable recovery in the vegetation and everywhere is looking green. Local fruit and veg is coming back and the weather has been superb for the last 2weeks - glorious sunshine, cloudless skies and perfect 25c - 28c most days. With the clear days the night time temperatures have dropped so the early morning scooter riding locals are now wearing overcoats, scarves and beanies!!

But while work has been quiet, the Shahs have not. Of course there was a birthday at the end of May (and the discovery of a few more grey hairs) and an impromptu visit by Nana Lorraine and cousin Harrison. They came for a week with a weeks notice, and it was lovely to have them. The kids especially enjoyed having Harrison to play with and went wild. Coincidentally there was a regatta on the day of Jen's birthday, so she was serenaded all day long. Michael organised a spread at the Fishing Club in the evening and we partied all night long. (Thanks to Nana the baby sitter)

The following weekend, after our visitors had left, the Vaka Maevatini regatta was held over two days. It was the first time this new, annual regatta had been held, and we were happy to be a part of the organising and the paddling too. Saturday saw the long distance races - 12km, 6km and 4km, as well as a traditional warriors welcome and canoe blessing which was awesome. Michael's Masters Men's team won their 12km race in 1:04:33, also being 2nd in the Open Men's category. After vowing not to do any distance races, Jenni ended up doing 2 x 4km races with the Masters Women (1st) and Mixed Masters (2nd). Prizegiving that night was one of the best nights we have had on the island, but the sore muscles and hangovers on Sunday (when Michael had to work) were just awful.

On Monday we had sprint races for the V6 (6 man canoe) and V1 plus some V1 distance races. Jenni spent most of the day doing timekeeping, while Michael's races ended up bunched together in the afternoon. None-the-less, Jen's crew won the Masters women in a tough race, and Michael took a 1 second win with the Masters men. There was another prizegiving, but we took off early with the kids.

Since then, it has been more of the same and more of the same.