Scuba Divers Dream in Tikehau, French Polynesia (August, 2023)

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. See the black blob? It’s the gigantic bait ball we dive with…take a look at the video!

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.

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

Sail to Tuomotus. French Polynesia: Makemo, Amanu and Tahanea Atolls

We dropped Anchor in the small island of Makemo. A big 2 day squall was coming, so we tried to shield ourselves from a weather. This quite difficult to do since the Tuomotu Island are flat sand beaches with no hills to block the wind. The ensuing winds definitely challenged the hardest of crews and the electrical storm did cause some damage to the generator and wind instruments.

Sea Bell is anchored at the Red Arrow.

A nice villager lived on the island behind our boat. Yes, it’s a desert isle called a Motu. A coral island in the shape of a ring with a huge lagoon on the inside. His name is Uribroa. He has lived on his little island for 28 years!!! Deserted? Good question.
No power, no running water, no wifi or phones and very few visitors. Uribroa only had on an old shirt on and wandering around on his beach…..
He took us to his home (camp more like it). Uribeoa was an amazing gardener. He also is different kind of interior decorator. His island is designed with everything he has found washed up on the island(s) over the last 28 years. We brought him many items off our boat, as he has almost NOTHING. Coconuts and crabs are his diet. We gave him some shirts, hats, lighters and some food. Dog food was also given for his skinny dogs.

Locals are so kind and very generous with coconuts and smiles, but only speaking native tongue and French.

Makemo, French Polynesia. The local villagers were practicing drums and dance for the upcoming festival in Tahiti. Heiva! Once again we were swamped with kids and we felt totally accepted in the community.
enjoying time with cruisers is always routine. Campfires and music on the beach is common. Island life!

Tahanea, French Polynesia is coming up next. It is a nature preserve and we hear the scuba diving and snorkeling in the pass are supposed to be better than what we’ve seen. That is hard to believe!!! The coral, sharks, octopus, Moray Eels and thousands of tropical fish keep us in the water frequently. It seems every time we get in the water, it gets better!

Amanu Village Children, Tuomotus, Pacific

Cute as Buttons

I was in heaven sitting in the sand playing with the local children for hours. Without knowing their Tahitian language or French, which they now learn in school, socializing takes a different approach. Bringing heart lollipops help in starting up an interest, friendship, and trust. However, there is an art in this ‘giving’. If you simply hand over a lollipop, the child may just run off and eat it. You haven’t gained a thing. She may even bring back a friend to get a lollipop as well. But, if you play a little game like tic tac toe, or do a little whistle for them to copy, hide a coin, or turn take humming a little tune, now that builds a fun connection for both parties. This little 6 year old girl in the red dress stole my heart. She was so playful and engaged me in a drawing game in the sand. She also insisted on giving me a taste of her lollipop. The 3 year old boy in my lap was a bit more shy, but he was happy to give me a snuggle. Fun was had by all.

Simple games, communication, learning, teaching….heaven for sure!
Love at first sight.