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.
Kathy here, I did it! Finally I conquered my irrational fear of scuba diving! Yesterday I dove 93 feet! Years ago in college, while in the cold waters of Southern California, I got certified to scuba dive and I hadn’t put a dive tank on in 30 years. My fears hadn’t been of the unknown or scary creatures, it’s been more about breathing and claustrophobia while scuba diving. It became kind of a big “thing”. I have been enjoying snorkeling so much these last few years, I just put it off. Finally I just went for it. A few practice dives under our boat in 20 feet of water and I realized that all is well and to stay focused on the beauty. Well, French Polynesia is the perfect place for scuba diving. So clear, such beauty, I love it! Fakatava South Pass is a famous dive location and Top Dive filled our scuba tanks daily. Most friends back home are amazed at the hundreds of sharks and overwhelming amount of healthy coral! Our scuba diving friends and bloggers on We Sail showed us a cool cave, too. Going back for more today.