We had a good time in the atoll Toau. Pretty island, but it wasn’t too sunny. Plenty of wind for our new sport of wing foiling. It seems a bit safer than kite boarding, but tricky to learn.
We also invited a sweet local copra farmer out to the boat for crab and pasta dinner. He is 30 yrs old, lives alone and beach walks with his dogs a few miles to the neighbors hut up the way. Marten’ also often goes out lobstering at night which is still on our ‘to do’ list. I her it’s tricky on the outer reef with sharp coral. He said he would carry the lobsters back in his backpack.
It was also very cool to meet young sailors on SVGenesis and Garrett on SVHulligan both sailing here from Hawaii. We had them over for sunset conch blowing and spaghetti dinner. We always like to share our Mexican cruising traditions.
Garrett is 19 years old. He recently sailed solo 30 days/2300 miles from Hawaii to Tahiti on a 27’ boat. At 16 he had saved enough money to buy his boat and then spent 18 months getting the boat ready to sail. After learning how to sail it around the Hawaiian islands he made the “big jump”. His last 3 videos have had quite a few views (1.9 mil) and now he enjoying French Polynesia on a few YouTube dimes. We hope to see him often as we have a similar plan to sail west in the next year. No goal is too big!
Here is link to one one of his videos below. A bit raw and unproduced compared to many YouTube publications but he’s keeping it real.
And, of course, we took many beach walks, it’s always fun to try to identify the strange new creatures. The black worm looking things are actually sea cucumbers. The second photo is yet to be determined. Both were found in the coral tide pools on the outer reef. Kathy’s favorite shelling place.
We had terrific sailing experience inside the largest and longest (50 miles) atoll of French Polynesia: Rangiroa. It has 415 sandbars and motus, which are mini islands. One highlight was hanging out in the inside South corner. Motu Faama is quite far from the village and extremely remote. Our good friends from Mexico; Joanne and Scott on SVFundango, took this fun drone vid when we dinghied to the outer reef.
These above ground coral heads are thousands of years old, were once flourishing just underwater then were pushed up 10 or so feet. This atoll like all the tuomotus were formed from volcanoes 50 million years ago. Once exposed to the elements (heat, constant trade winds, cyclones and pounding surf) the outer coral reef left these strangely jagged natural wonders!! Kind of cool!
Now we are off, sailing 120 miles SE to the next atoll, Toau.
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.
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.
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.
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!