17th of December 2018, Nassau Island
We spent two days on the coast of Manihiki, offloading cargo and organizing Kwai store in the villages of Tauhuno and Tukao. There was again a lot of interest in the items that we brought from Honolulu, probably due to the nearing of Christmas celebrations. On the first day the whole crew was invited to have lunch at Laurencia’s new dwelling. Manihiki is known for it’s active black-pearl farming, and Laurencia is owner of the family pearl business. Obviously, on the menu we found the delicious meat of the pearl-oyster.
Next I’d like to tell you the story of “Guppie”. There once was a 14-year old Dutch girl, by the name of Laura Dekker, who sailed around the world single-handed on her yacht called “Guppie” (tiny aquarium fish). She ended up in the South Pacific, and never left. The yacht was recently donated to a Canadian organization (for education purposes), and a delivery captain was hired to sail the vessel 5000 nm across the Pacific Ocean. The Guppie found herself becalmed for several days, and the delivery captain decided to stop at Manihiki Island for bunkering fuel. She dropped anchor at the designated anchorage in the lee of the island. During the night, the wind changed from prevailing SE through the North, to the West. A considerable swell lifted the Guppie up, and put her on the reef, right in front of the main village Tauhunu. The relief captain found herself badly hurt and in shock because of the incident. The next day I happened to arrive on my yacht and witnessed what had happened. The local islanders had already begun to try to salvage the yacht. With only our 150 HP inboard diesel available, we were not able to pull the ship off the reef. All we could do was assist the locals in salvaging the equipment on board, and bringing it ashore, thus relieving the vessel from its load.
The story continues:
Arriving on the Kwai, I learned about the yacht’s destiny. Several attempts had been made to pull the yacht off the reef, to no avail. The Guppie ended up, torn to pieces, and brought ashore to be disposed of. All I found was the mast and the keelson.
The closure to the story:
Like a modern fairy-tale, this tragic story took an unexpected turn. The relief captain was treated in the local clinic, and the island community embraced her. After full recovery she found herself a Manihiki husband and took him to the main land US for their honeymoon.
The moral to this tale: whatever happens in life, truly trust and the universe will provide.