Saturday, November 18, 2017

Return to Tahanea

The atoll of Tahanea is protected and has virtually no people living there, so it is a true Pacific paradise. We decided to go back there for more diving. So at sunset, we sailed away from Fakarava.

We met up with two other boats there; Pakea Tea (Pack ee ah Teh ah) a Wharram 52 Polynesian style catamaran with Tom, Sonya (both ex Marine Bilogists) and their son Keanu who is 5. The other boat was a German family Hans and Eva with their 13 year old son Luka. We had a sunset bon fire on the beach with pot luck food. Keanu helps to collect the firewood.

Luka cut open several coconuts for us to drink. Keanu went first.

Am I doing this right?!? Trying not to spill it down the front of me!

We had two fires one for the adults and one for the boys.

I had bought marshmallows back in Tahiti for just such an occasion. Europeans do not roast marshmallows on a campfire, so we taught them how. Keanu took right to it.

Good job buddy! Yum!

Luka had built a fort to hold all of his captured hermit crabs. We had to do something because they kept trying to crawl into our food dishes.

He had quite a collection of them! But in the end, we made sure he let them all out before we left the beach.

Pakea Tea is a lovely boat!

They have a pilot house built to keep them and their electronics dry, but otherwise they mostly live outside. That is their Austrian flag wrapped around the pole. It reminded me of the Hokulea!

Mike and I decided to explore one of the motus. The coral rocks here are not easy to walk on!

Looking back towards Avatar anchored in the distance, the lagoon has a deep inlet towards the outer reef. And it totally amazes me that these plants can find nutrients to grow in these sharp rocks.

Mike stands on the spot where the coral is bleached white as snow, where the rest is all blackish color. The ocean is quite calm today.

This large chunk of coral had these pinnacles growing on it like high rise buildings in a miniature city.

This piece of coral looks like an alien foot print!

And this one reminded me of a baseball glove.

It was August 7th already and the full moon was rising over the motu.

The sun turned the clouds pink and the moon cast its light directly at us.

We dove both the West and East passes and saw lots of live coral and fishes. Blue fish explore the mini coral city.

Ignore the red in this photo and look at the long skinny Coronet fish.

A beautiful purple, blue and green Bumphead Parrot fish.

One of the live corals is really purple!!

This one was a deep turquoise blue with little nobbies.

The bottom is a full carpet of coral with a bunch of little black fishes with white tails everywhere.

This parrot fish looks like he is flying!

These two parrot fish were especially green colored with red trim.

The yellow striped parrot fish has an orange eye and a white tail.

The Emperor Angelfish is one of my favorites.

But then so is the Titan Trigger fish, which can grow up to almost 3 feet long!

Trigger fish swim using their dorsal and anal fins above and below their bodies.

He is actually quite colorful with a big white eye and black mustache!!

Over by the East pass, we found a temporary village where people come to live while they harvest copra (coconuts). This is an incredibly new and well made building!

The dock however, is not so well made!

Several fishing nets were strewn around trees and makeshift building poles.

There were loads of pearl buoys hanging in the trees and some other cruisers were using the fresh water collected to wash their clothes.

The sign announcing that Tahanea is a protected natural reserve is inside one of the shacks and not in very good of condition.

Most of the living quarters look similar to this one.

They have wood frames, plywood sides and tin roofs, with plenty of ventilation!

Just bring your mattress and this one is ready to move in, with a chair and desk as well!! Still, I am glad we live on a boat!!

The little church makes us think that possibly people did live here permanently at one time.

In the Tuamotus, they use every possible roof to catch and collect rain water when it shows up. Amazingly enough, this large systern was almost full of water, but there was not a cloud in the sky!!

When someone dies here, they are buried here. No way to preserve or save the bodies. Buried in the sand under coral rocks, the bodies are returned to nature.

Waiting out the wind

The wind picked up again out of the SE, so the anchorage at the south pass got a bit lumpy. For better protection we moved back to Hirefa. Looks like several other boats had the same idea!

The strong south-easterlys are known here as the Miramu winds. They are common from June to September. They bring squalls, but with rain, sometimes we get rainbows! This one is a double!

Rainbows above Liza's cruiser hangout.

The hangout looks very inviting in this light!

Squally weather also makes for great sunsets!

There are quite a few boats here waiting out the wind, but it is so flat inside the reef.

We do some chores like burning our trash. With no place to throw it out, this is the best option.

A pig's jaw was left in the window of the old house which had belonged to Liza's great-grandparents. Maybe to scare people away?!

We anchor the dingy in a protected spot on the more Easterly side.

Inside here, it is hard to tell how hard the wind is blowing on the outside.

So we take a walk to check it out. The tide is out, which shows dramatically on the outside of the reef.

And the surf is up! (3)

It is hard to see how big the swell is running out there, but you can sure see the white caps being blown by the wind! (2)

We coiled this two inch line we found near the trail head, so it can be easily spotted by others in the future.

Life is but a tire swing, until if falls from the tree!!!

Does anyone ever get tired of watching a beautiful sunset?  One of the great pleasures in life!  And yes the sky is purple for real!!