Tikehau, Tuomotus. Scuba Diving Dream

This feels like our Little Private Island…diving the wall outside the pass was breathtaking. We Sailed from Moorea and enjoyed a beam reach sail for over 175 miles. Beautiful, relaxing and pretty simple.

Tahiti and the big city feel were nice for views, boat work and a bit of tourism, but we are now back in “our” sweet spot. Tikehau has about 500 residents, some of the best snorkeling in the Tuomotus…….and less tourists.

Thank you friends on Idefax for the drone pictures.

Playful Manta Rays, French Polynesia.

Our snorkeling adventures in Tikehau brought us to a a small coral area where the Manta Rays get a dental cleaning. These are definitely our new friends. Today off the old Pearl Farm in Tikehau, Tuomotus, we encountered these gentle giants being cleaned by small wrasses and remora which rid them of the parasites they have on the skin and mouth.

Although some cruisers prefer to scuba dive, we find the best colors and the most animals are within the top 20’. We have all the scuba equipment (including the compressor) but we rarely find scuba is worth the time and effort.
Believe it or not, the water is getting colder, it’s winter here, in August, and the locals don’t like getting in the water (80f, 27c) lol. We are even wearing shorty wet suits. A bit spoiled we are. It’s supposed to get down to 77 by the end of September. Burrrrrrr, it will be even colder South of here. I never thought I would say we need to go more north to get warm(er) Ha! We even have a blanket on the bed.

A few facts on Mantas:
Kathy is intrigued by the Reef Manta Ray. Learning about these new friends; he can grow to a wingspan of 16 ft! But we have only seen these 3 of about 6-9 ft. You can see at the front of his face, he has a pair of cephalic fins which can be either rolled up in a spiral for quicker swimming or they can be flared out in front to channel the plankton filled water for feeding. I watched today that he has a small dorsal fin and a long black tail without a spine or barb like his cousins have.

Mobula Alfredi (Reef Manta Ray)

These Mantas are not afraid of us at all and often turned to look and see where we went.
The Tuomotus never fail to amaze us and this atoll Tikehau is no different. We will poke our way around this atoll for a week or so before moving on. We are adventuring French Polynesia, one island or atoll at a time.

This checks off another box of “things we want to swim with”. Lol Adventure never seems to be far away….I can’t tell you how cool it is not to be in a hurry.

Papeete, Tahiti

The Epidemy of Tahiti Photography. I must have walked 100 miles all throughout Papeete these weeks. Photos really sum it up well. We were lucky to witness a small wedding ceremony and dance. Downtown every corner has either a Tahitian Pearl shop, a pub selling Hinano Tahiti Beer or possibly a cute Grandma lady hand crafting floral headgear. Country Pride is evident with many flags flying and banners announcing the Summer Olympic surf event next July. Resorts are primarily thatch roof huts over crystal clear aqua waters with views of the surrounding coral reefs. Typical fauna includes fragrant pulmeria and vanilla plants, banyan trees, mango, breadfruit and of course coconut. Its typical to find pastel colored churches and yummy fruit stands along the road. Unfortunately the wall art isn’t what we saw in Mexico, and there is quite a lot of Graffiti, as Papeete is a big city of 136 thousand people.

Surfs Up! Teahupoo, Tahiti.

Multiple surf breaks at Tahiti! The world famous Surf spot Teahupoo is a few miles drive south of Papeete. But, this similar break is only a 5 minute dingy ride from Marina Taina. Motoring about half a mile off shore on the outer reef that protects the inner channel of the island. There is always a break from the swell, but usually it’s too close to the reef to surf. Sometimes there are doable surf spots around other spots at this Society Island in French Polynesia.

The surfers are brought out by a speed boat, then they swim to the break. We sat safely just inside the break precariously watching for rouge waves. Lol. (Hand in the throttle and in forward at all times)

Only the best of the best and not the faint of heart, these surfers are in a bit of a different class. They come from all over the world to surf these reefs and a few in Moorea, just a quick ferry boat trip away. Most of the other atolls we have been to do not encourage a lot of surfing because how dangerous the reefs are. The reef in this video is literally right on the other side of those waves!!!!!!
We are told this was a very small swell this day. The surfing Olympics (hosted by France) will be right near here next year.

Papeete, Tahiti

Boat work in Tahiti, Marina Taina

Boat work in Tahiti :
-Repair Generator (Diodes) (lightning)
-Mast repair (Vang Bracket)
-Transmission Clutch
-Replumb boat freshwater system to Pex
-Repair Tohatsu (ignition system)(lightning)
-New Anchor Chain

Whoa! What a two weeks on the dock. Sea Bella went under the microscope and the knife as we needed to address some of the deferred maintenance.
Cruising isn’t all sunsets and cocktails. A good rule of thumb is the maintenance on a cruising boat can cost an average of 10% of the boat value. We got off pretty easy the last two years but we definitely spent some $$s this time.
Some of the items on our list was due to damage we encountered by a lightning strike that happened about a hundred yards from us on shore. Diodes fried in our generator, battery operated fans, B&G wind instruments including the wire in the mast and the ignition coil in the outboard motor, all fried. Crazy as the boat did not take a direct hit.
These are all the items we checked off the list! We even made it to the dentist and dermatologist, all good!

-New Snubber (backup)
-Two new dock lines (2 chaffed through on the concrete dock we were on)
-Oil Change Perkins
-Sand/revarnish Freezer lid
-Spare Genoa Halyard
-Replenish Dyneema reserves
-Anchor Depth markers
-Repair/replace fans (1 lightning)
-Clean/Lube port staysail winch
-New furler for Staysail
-Repair Dinghy Chaps
-New Canvas for forward dodger
-New phone for Kathy (old one didn’t like the saltwater bath)
-Find/repair all deck leaks (about 3-4)
-Rebed 2 cabin port holes (more leaks)
-New Faucet in main galley
-R&R counter top

-Sand/repair varnish hatches
-Repair/replace port water tank level sensor
-R&R multiple wood finish in cabin
-Launder all cushion covers inside and cockpit
-Replace Watermaker timer
-Food Provision for next 6 months
….and dozens of small stuff to small to list