Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Nana Namaste

Immediately after dropping off Nichole and Adam at the Papeete airport, our Maui friends arrived and another entertaining escapade began. We had a 32-hour, 180-mile sail from Tahiti to Rangiroa in the Tuamotus, with seven people onboard - Rusty and Kim, their daughters Cassidy and Jesse, and Kim's mother Lynne. It was quite an experience for the 
The swell from the south reached 11-13 feet, and the current in the pass entrance clocked up to 5.5 knots. We had to run the motor at full speed to make 1 knot of progress and an hour passed to travel 1 mile.
We dropped the hook and settled into Tiputa, breaking out all the toys and setting up the full awnings.
The pass drift diving was phenomenal, and we took full advantage of the 150-200+ feet of visibility. The reefs are amazing, and the sea is absolutely teeming with life. Rusty, Chris and I have been taking turns breathing underwater and driving the boat. We've spotted giant Napoleon fish, eagle rays, manta rays, dolphins, thousands of fish, and of course...hundreds of gray sharks at the corner of the pass, where they gather during the incoming tide to feed.
The kids loved wakeboarding behind the dinghy, as well as snorkeling, kayaking and paddleboarding. Kim, Jesse and Cassie did some scuba diving in very shallow water and enjoyed the sensation.
We hauled anchor and sailed east to motu Mahitu, where we found a long, picturesque sandy beach and turquoise-blue waters. The beachcombing has been very successful, and we're all loaded with incredible shells.
On Tuesday, we motored six miles into the lagoon to motu Nao Nao. The coral island was littered with cowries and surrounded by beautiful coral heads. The rest of the crew snorkeled, while Rusty, Cassie and I dove in shallow waters. We found a huge octopus tucked in a rock, as well as eagle rays and blacktip reef sharks.

We spent the next couple days hiding from a southeast wind at motu Tapuaa. We met the uncle and nephew whose family has owned and worked the motu for generations drying coconuts. Vaki took us for an awesome stroll on the coral rocks and sandy patches on the ocean side of the motu. He has an amazing eye for discovering perfectly polished shells.
Our Maui friends flew home and we packed up the boat for a tough upwind beat to Apataki. It took us 24 hours to go 80-miles, including tacking up the lagoon to reach the protected side of the atoll and the boatyard.
After almost two days of organizing food, packing up toys, cleaning, and preparing the boat, we hauled her Tuesday morning. There was 20-22 knots of wind blowing in the anchorage, but their motu is perfectly positioned and the winds dropped to less than 10 knots at the haulout ramp. We had a small problem with the fit of the hydraulic trailer on the hull, but the Lau family worked hard to correct it. Everything turned out fine, and Namaste is nesting in her new home. It's amazing to have that service at this remote location, and we're thrilled to have the boat in the Tuamotus upon our October return.
On July 20th, we said goodbye to friends and flew from Apataki to Tahiti. After a spectacular day lounging at our good friends oceanside house, we took the red-eye to Los Angeles and then home to Tahoe.
We've had the most spectacular seven months on the boat, and it feels a little disorientating to leave our floating home. It's such a simplistic and beautiful life to live for us, and we cherish our times at these incredible, remote locations. We are of course, super excited to rejoin the world and reconnect with our family and friends, who we've missed so much. It's true - absence does make the heart grow fonder.
We spent a whirlwind five days in Tahoe, and are currently in Charlevoix, Michigan completing our awesome trifecta for the year! As always, more to come...