Namaste has cast her anchor in the uninhabited atoll of Tahanea, and none of us want to leave anytime soon. We sadly waved goodbye to Apataki and the Lau family last Sunday, after a week of prepping the boat and celebrating with new and old friends. The group scavenged beach crabs, baited soldierfish with hermit crab tails, hunted down marbled grouper, and made coconut germ bread roasted in a fire during our week of feasting.
We logged a quick motorsail to Toau and the cove of Anse Amyot, where we linked up with our friends on Dreamtime and briefly checked in with our onshore acquaintances. We'll return to this unique bay in our final weeks before we haul the boat in early June.
At the crack of dawn, we set forth to Fakarava's north pass and Rotoava village. The supply ship arrived last Tuesday and we delicately maneuvered Namaste alongside the metal beast to fill up our diesel tanks. We also stocked the fridge with as many fresh veggies we could find. The following day, she pounded to weather for a few hours, with short, choppy waves that reminded us of sailing in the Great Lakes, before reaching the fabled south pass. Three windy days followed and Chris advantageously captured it and found some serious fun on his kiteboard. He helped out our good friend Neville, whose a kiteboard beginner and needed a bit of extra tutoring.
Once the air currents calmed, the heat set in and the only repose to be found was in the sparkling turquoise waters that average around 83-degrees. Water temps in this region are slowly rising as the El Nino ocean current event races westward. With calmer conditions, we paddled and ventured into the south pass for diving and snorkeling among the hundreds of grey and blacktip sharks, mellow giant Napoleans, schooling glass eyes, different species of butterfly fish, emperor angelfish, and groups of blue-lined snapper and goatfish. The purple, yellow and white coral flourish in the pristine channel, and colors are erupting at the surface as we float over or under the heads.
On Tuesday evening, we capitalized on calm winds and seas to motorsail upwind overnight to Tahanea, snagging a sweet 18-pound mahi-mahi, our first one since leaving Mexico! Our friends on Dreamtime named us the official winners of our unofficial offshore fishing competition.
We spent just one night anchored on the east side of the island, but we squeezed in a snorkel/dive at the north pass under cloudy and windy skies. Upon our arrival at the dive site, a school of 25 common dolphins appeared as we hurried into the water. Typically, these athletic mammals will come in for a quick look before making a rapid exit, but this group stayed with us for almost a half hour - incredible! We observed their playful behavior as they corkscrewed around each other, chirping excitedly, before showing bursts of speed and launching themselves out of the water for acrobatic flips. To watch them jump from below and above is quite a sight to see, and for once, I wasn't jealous of the divers below me. I can only hope this little girl growing in my belly could hear that unique communication that reverberates underwater as dolphins play. After the dolphins left, we continued drifting towards the lagoon watching whitetip sharks, schools of giant snapper and coral gardens.
With the wind direction changing, we motored under dark skies and raindrops to the beachy southeast corner to hook up with some other friends and check out this part of the island paradise. The rose sand, our friends and their kids, epic spearfishing, bonfires and tasty coconut crabs have been keeping us entertained and well-fed.
Stay tuned and until then...Namaste