The Gambier Islands, with Mangareva being the main island with Rikitea as the capitol, are some very beautiful islands surrounded with a coral reef. The water inside the lagoon is relatively calm and makes room for many pearl farms, where special oysters are producing primarily the famous black pearls. This production pollutes the water with black algae so it is impossible to eat any fish caught inside or close to the reef. The local people (approx 1000 inhabitants) are very friendly and gave away their surplus of fruits to the few visiting boats.
There is airplane connection to Tahiti twice a week.
Pacific passage, Gambier to Marquesas.
This passage was blessed with light trade wind from an easterly direction and calm sea most of the way. The 805 Nm were made in 5½ days without any motoring on the passage. We met one ship and saw the light of two others on the way. The fishing was unsuccessful, because we lost all the four fish which stroke before we got them onboard. We were compensated when three sperm whales the same size as the boat intercepted us coming from behind. Apparently they were curious and wanted to check us out. The boat speed at that time was 6 – 7 knots. They followed us and came alongside at a distance of 1½ boat length for approx 1 hour. It was very impressive
to see these huge animals and hear their powerful spout so close. Later they increased their speed and were quickly far ahead of us.
We were sorry to learn that Pedro Gecko somehow must have got frightend on the way and “lost” his tale; however apart from that he seems to be in normal shape. We look forward to see him tailed again.