On Tikopia

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Matt Fletcher
A man on the beach in a sarong, standing next to a boat
Klaus with Lapita Tikopia pulled high up the beach

The Finish Line

We made it. 4000 odd miles and we finally made it. In the end, with the winds against us we ran out of time and the boats split up. Lapita Anuta should be on Anuta by now and we arrived on Tikopia yesterday morning, coasting through the small gap in the reef with terribly light winds and a couple of people paddling. In the afternoon the stiff westerly breeze that repeated weather forecasts have promised finally arrived. Such is life.

A lake surrounded by trees and a beach
The lake at Tikopia from the beach. In 2003 Cyclone Zoe broke through into the lake. The rock-filled gabions were placed to seal the gap in the beach and make the lake fresh water again.

A Day Of Rest

By this time we had moved en masse into a house just behind the beach. But Sunday is definitely a day of rest on Tikopia and we took it seriously, lounging around the beach and catching up with the Edward, the chief, and some other old friends. In the evening some of the guys dived for lobster, which we BBQ'd outside our new home while Lapita Tikopia bobbed around safely close to shore.

Today we explored a little, climbing up the collapsed volcano for a view of the large freshwater lake on the eastern shore. It was quite a hike after 4.5 months sitting on a boat, but the view is something special.

An island from the distance against a sunset, viewed from the bow of a boat
Landfall at Tikopia
A lake surrounded by trees and shrubbery
The freshwater lake of Tikopia from the top of the volcano

Tomorrow the training of the Tikopian crews will begin and on Wednesday the boat will be blessed by a priest and we'll party. With luck in a week or so we'll be joined by Hanneke and crew, plus the Anutans she has been training to take charge of Lapita Anuta.

Four men in sarongs on the beach
The four Chiefs (Ariki) of Tikopia lead the ceremony for Lapita Tikopia
People relaxing in a beach house with low entrances
The crew and some locals gathered in the house. All houses in Tikopia have low entrances through which one has to crawl.

For us the journey is over, but I can't quite believe it. I'm still grinning like a Cheshire Cat. This trip will take some beating.

- Matt Fletcher

People on the beach wearing ceremonial mats, headdresses and body paint
Klaus in ceremonial mat and sacred Turmeric body paint