With Aldebaran anchored just outside Leon & Soraya’s house, we celebrated Sabby’s 33rd birthday on their balcony overlooking Makemo’s crystal clear water.
Here’s what a Tuamotan feast looks like:
- Grilled fish caught from the coral bommies in front of Leon’s house.
- “Poisson cru au lait coco”, which is probably the most popular dish in all of French Polynesia: tuna sashimi with veggies and coconut milk, tuna caught by fishermen outside the pass.
- Marinated pork was prepared from the pigs in the back fence (“Much easier than hunting boar in the Marquesas mountains,” laughed Leon).
- Taro, manioc-stewed banana, and white rice were the accoutrements.
- The most un-traditional items were the two fresh loaves of bread that Leon brought steaming from his wood-fired oven; usually there is just some state-subsidized baguette! Home-made whole grain bread was a huuuuge treat! Naturally plenty of butter is available, this being a French territory.
- And to top it all off, per his word, Leon made the most delicious cake any of us have ever eaten: Italian Pear Cake. He learnt the recipe from some Italians visitors that came thru his atoll years prior.
What did team Green Coco bring, besides our standard “house rum” from Ecuador? Upon departure from Marquesas, Leon called his friends in Nuku Hiva, who met us at the dock 9:30pm at night to deliver three huge bags of pamplemousse and limes, each weighing nearly 60lbs, that grew in their backyard. We were tasked with sailing these bags to the Tuamotos.
As prolific as Leon is with gardening, he still can’t grow pamplemousse, which grows in Marquesas like weeds but takes an enormous amount of water. Needless to say, these were like gold in the water-thirsty Tuamotos! We were glad to have something to bring as thanks for the extraordinary feast that Leon and Soraya made in their unique oceanfront home… a truly memorable birthday for Sabrina.