A great way to spend a P-Day. We were invited to join the Moroni Ward on a campout on the island of Biketawa (where we went last May for the husband-wife retreat). We had no desire to lie on the ground all night fighting the mosquitoes, but we did want walk there and enjoy the day. At 6:00 this morning we went with Elder Youngberg and Elder Robison and drove to Buota where we parked the car and began our journey. We walked across the channel to Abatao as the tide was low and the water was only knee deep. On the other side of Abatao, instead of crossing the ‘Broken Bridge,’ we walked to the east of the island where tide was still low enough that we were able to walk across to Tabituea without the elders changing their shoes. I had just worn my Tevas so I didn’t bother to change every time we came to water. This was the longest of the islands and we found another broken bridge which we did cross to the next island of Nebeina. On the other side of Nebeina we walked across the channel that again was only knee deep to the island of Kainaeba. It is a very small island and only took us about 15 minutes to cross.
|Top left: The island of Biketawa, Lower left: Rich swimming|
Right: Walking across to Biketawa
Now we could see Biketawa, our island destination on the other side of that channel. However, the tide was coming in the water was quite deep crossing over to Biketawa. The path Rich and Elder Robison took found them both swimming and I didn’t want to get my camera wet. Elder Youngberg found a shallower path so I followed him. I still stopped and put my camera and i-phone in a plastic bag and wrapped them in my hat. Holding my backpack and hat over my head I walked across. The water came up to my chin with me on my tip toes but my camera and
i-phone are still good. According to google earth we estimated it was about a 5 mile walk but it took us three hours by the time we stopped for pictures, let the Elders change shoes, and make it across five channels of water. I was grateful for a coconut frond mat in the maneabwa for a cool rest out of the sun. After a short nap we went swimming in the beautiful, blue, crystal clear water, but the current was so strong we didn’t stay out long. Rich retrieved water from the well so I could use the toilet and shower. Sister Tune prepared us a great meal of rice with chicken curry and mild soy sauce chicken. After lunch Brother Tune brought us back to Moroni on his boat, arriving at home at 3:00 pm. As we walked through the villages of grass huts and bouias along a dirt trail surrounded by coconut palms and pandanus trees with a blue sky over head and the amazingly blue ocean, I am truly humbled at the creations of our Heavenly Father. What a beautiful world we live in. I was also surprised at the large number of people living on the island of Tabiteuea. Brother Tune says there are some who are members there and they have their own gathering on Sunday. They are members of the Buota Branch but that would be a couple hours walk one way just to get to church.