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.
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.
Featured on BBC’s series “Blue Planet II,” the coral reefs of French Polynesia host a very rare spectacle to see. Up to 18,000 Marbled Grouper fish migrate to the atoll Fakarava every July, at the full moon high tide. 1,000 grey reef sharks fill this Tuamotu archipelago in search of one thing: these marbled grouper, who have come to spawn. The sharks’ typically feed at night and gentle swim at rest in the day. The sharks live here year round, as it’s an easy place to rest, gently floating in the 3 knot current of the incoming or outgoing tides.
Sharks feeding behavior becomes unpredictable and erratic as darkness falls and the hunt begins, making for an extremely complex, exciting scuba dive. Some fish are lucky to escape the hungry jaws of the sharks.
Marvelous Mantas!! A group of local manta rays were feeding just outside of Atuona, Hiva Oa, Marquesis. What an awesome experience to have these large, graceful, plankton feeders come gliding right by.
Its safe to snorkle right near their feeding path. These 15′ wide giants would feed ladder style, one on top of the other, to catch the most plankton. Then, they would somersault or do an about-face and return on the same path.
Don’t almost seem to smile and laugh? When they got near us they would just glide right under. So spectacular!!
You can sail from Hiva Oa to the southern most Marquesan island, Fatu Hivu (the beatiful Bay of Virgins). It was named something else, you can guess.
Fatu Hiva! Prettiest place on Earth.
The flora here in Fatu Hiva is breathtaking. Take a look! Since the Marquesa Archepelegos are the most distant from any continent on the globe, the endemic fauna are quite limited. Only 41 or so species of birds here, most are tropicbirds, small bluish doves and some kingfisher.
There is a wide variety of insects, large yellow wasps, but we haven’t been bothered by any in the least bit. The greatest number of species are the butterflies and moths, some only found around these Islands. The rest of the land mammels seen were introduced by the Europeans in the 1800’s. We have seen these domestic wild animals: pig, goat, horse, cow and chickens. Strange that there are no snakes at all really no other endemic mammals.
How do you describe a place you never imagine existed?
This anchorage is
Yosemite + Gillian’s Island + The Garden of Eden
The mountains sore 3000 feet surrounding this bay and are covered with coconut trees and tropical plants. Most of these plants you’ve only seen in your moms potted terrarium. When you go to shore you are welcomed by the locals that only want to cook for you and provide you with the most lush fruit you’ve ever seen. The few paved roads are over grown with flowers, breadfruit, limes, oranges and Pamplemouse.
The weather is as perfect as a late summer day, where you need to keep the sun off but the sunset is quite welcomed with a fresh breeze that keeps the boat cool and fresh.
In the bay we work on the boat and wait for the Mantas to swim by or pick at the Ukulele. We are greeted often with visiting boats from France, Denmark, Canada, Switzerland or other areas that challenge our language skills. There are very few Americans here and somehow that just feels perfect.
I’m not sure what we are going to see next but all I know is that in all the years of travel and sailing I’ve never been to a more beautiful place…..and what’s better is this is the road less traveled. You just can’t get here any other way.
Oh yeah, Kathy and I celebrated our 12 Anniversary the other day in a bay almost as perfect. We were happily all alone on a beach with a hut, coconut trees and a fire with Hot dogs!!! The most perfect Anniversary we could ever hope for.
What’s next? Who cares…….
….we’re stickin’ around here for a few. (But the Tuomotus are calling)
BTW, trading amongst the locals is alive and well. Maybe even a little black market. PM me if you heading this way next year and you want to know what these folks need or want. 😕