The trip from Amanu to Makemo was another ocean passage, and this time surely the unkindest. The wind was good, the sea was calm and the seasickness relatively under control, but on the second day I was knocked down by another problem: food poisoning. I threw up every fifteen minutes for about five hours, starting at 6am, and to add to the pleasure my guts decided to do a convincing impression of a milkshake maker. Both ends thus ruined, I survived on glasses of water and staying above deck, running over to the side to retch on an empty stomach, and shooting down below in that race-against-time otherwise known as Delhi-belly. The trip only took two days, but it seemed to drag on for eternity. I spent most of the second day sleeping, with the captain masterfully sailing the boat himself. Finally we sighted Makemo and its large navigable pass.
We entered the pass and tied up to the pier, because when we left Amanu the electric anchor winch fell to pieces, meaning we'll have to haul in the anchor by hand until it can be fixed. On the pier, though, there was precious little privacy, and every few minutes we'd hear a muted 'Hello? Bonjour?' down the hatch as we tried to snatch a little sleep on the now stationary boat. After a couple of hours' I gave up trying, and invited the locals on board.
The children, bless 'em, were as cute as cute can be, though Rob kept asking me to kick them off the boat, perhaps because he was as tired as I was worn out. Our visitors were Sebastian, to whom we'd talked to on the radio when trying to work out how to approach the pass and who turned out to be the local radio hack; John, who spoke English and therefore enabled the captain to ask his questions in his native language; Prospère, who lived up to his name by swanning over on his own little catamaran with his boom-box throbbing, a beer in his hand and wide boy written all over his face (he worked in the pearl industry, it transpired, not entirely to my surprise); and Simon, who had visited Los Angeles and Australia and as such was regarded with great awe by those around him. It was quite a party, and it was only when the wind blew up, forcing us to move the boat into the bay and drop anchor there, that the conversation dried up, which is more than could be said for the weather.
That night we went ashore to watch some Tahitian dance practice (the village was preparing for a festival in a few days' time), and explored the village a little before returning back to the boat. It was here that I spotted a growing problem: I was beginning to get seriously blasé about the whole paradise thing. All my French conversations were exactly the same, all the islands felt the same, all the food was the same, and all the shops sold the same things... it's a terrible thing to say, I know, but I was in danger of getting bored in paradise. And that's not a good thing when you're travelling, so we didn't hang around too long before heading north to the comparative metropolis of Tahiti.