We are currently here in Tahanea and are getting ready to leave tomorrow on Friday 5/15 for Fakarava... We will be entering through the south pass and anchoring outside of it for a few days... It is a really special place and well known for its reef dives. The south pass is suppose to be most mellow and beautiful so we will be making our 50 mile passage over there to hang out with the pelagic species for awhile... The Tuamotus are known for their fish and sharks and they never seem to disappoint. We have seen more marine life here than we have seen since the Sea of Cortez. It is really just amazing and the kids are loving it.
I would have thought that Alina and Amaia would have been more concerned about swimming with the sharks but they don't seem to phase them... if only I could feel that way. It is always a little unsettling for me to sit on the back of the boat steps and look into the water and see the beautiful school of purple and blue fish that Amaia is feeding our old bread and crackers to and then look about 10 feet away and see 5 black tip reef sharks just swimming back and forth, back and forth... I am not just talking about for an hour or so... these sharks are constantly circling our boat like they are just praying we fall in. They were here when we anchored 3 days ago and they are still here... making the same swim patterns around and under our boat. Huh....
We met another boat from Switzerland yesterday and they have been cruising the area from New Zealand to the Marquesas for about 3 years now. They have been to many of the islands that we are hoping to go to and have also made many of the passages that we are planning to take. So we invited them over to pick their brains for a little while. They are a retired couple, and anesthesiologist and a gynecologist from Switzerland. They are a wonderful couple and were able to give us many insights as to where to anchor and things to do on our entire route to new Zealand. Some of their advice may have steered us onto another route but that will be determined after we leave Bora Bora... We are trying to decide whether to go to the Cook Islands or go to a little island called Suwarrow and then Niue and then Tonga and then Figi... I know its a hard decision but someone has to make it... It usually boils down to weather, wind direction and swell direction... what makes the most sense.. and then of course how wonderful the islands are and anchorages... also how hard it is to clear customs... New Zealand has very strict policies... they take everything on the boat that may be able to grow something... all beans, rice, seeds, meats, dairy, any food that basically is not in a can... The cook islands are under New Zealand Government so that means that I would have to get rid of all my supplies prior to entering Tonga and/or Samoa... and I am not sure I am ready to dump my food storage that I have worked so hard at getting... I would prefer to eat my way through it...
The couple from this boat love to do the drift dives so I thought it would be great if Chris was able to go with them and check it out to see how to do it. They both said that these dives are not for children because of the current and the fact that you go down about 30 meters... so with that in mind I sent the biggest kid of all with them. While he was drift diving Tristan, the 2 girls and I went to a little island next to the pass with the kayak and explored this tiny little sand spit that was completely crawling with hermit crabs of all sizes... the girls had a great time with this and we have ended up with a few new little pets... Maybe they will just get relocated to a new island in Fakarava...
After Chris got back we headed out to a coral reef that Tristan and Chris dove 2 days ago. They really enjoyed it and wanted to bring everyone back. We have been trying a number of combinations with the 2 small girls as to how best to keep them somewhat afloat and not drift away... Their masks often leak, or they lose a flipper, or they just need to get the water out of their mask... so we have tried giving them noodles to take with them, didn't work. Today we tried life jackets... they don't work because for one, the life jackets push against their masks and create water leaks. Secondly and most importantly they can't dive under the water. Both girls love to go deep down so they have tossed their snorkels and are just little free divers... they love to try to get as close as possible or pick up shells on the bottom of the floor. It is really cute but they also have a tendency to get tired and then are trying to climb on top of me for a break... NOT working for me...
This little reef was really fun because it was pretty deep on the outside and you could swim all around it. All the kids were having fun swimming around and checking out all the little baby fish, then the bigger fish, then the pretty big fish, and then of course the spotted eagle ray and the black tip reef sharks. The food chain is all right in front of you. It is really amazing how the fish start small at the top of the coral and then the farther out and deeper down you go they just get bigger. The spotted eagle ray was really amazing and fun to watch but Chris had startled it and it took off really fast right at me... I can say that is scared me... I am not as fearless in the water as the little ones... Just not my environment and I am a nervous nelly watching all these giant things swim around me.... I am really glad that the girls are not phased by these things and truly appreciate seeing them. When we got back to the boat I guess the girls weren't done swimming yet... Even after seeing the 5 sharks circling the boat for the last 3 days, and I mean coming in so close you could touch them, the girls all jumped in and starting playing around the boat... Alexia, Amaia and Alina were all swimming around and I guess it goes to show that even the sharks know when they are out numbered and when they should be afraid.. They all scattered and didn't come back until it was getting dark..
We ended the night with a few of the floating lanterns (think of the movie "Tangled") that we had bought at Christmas time. The wind was perfect, lightly blowing away from us and shore. When we had bought the lanterns, we didn't realize how little opportunities we would have to be able to use them... it always seems that the wind is to strong, we are facing toward land, or other combinations that are lets just say not right... Tonight we were able to successfully send off 5 out of 7 and the kids had a really good time with it. They are truly beautiful to watch and it is crazy how they can illuminate the water for so long.
We are looking forward to Fakarava "new favorite word". We are hoping to go to a pearl farm, see the village, find some WIFI... hopefully, more snorkeling and of course the sharks... The dive shops in Fakarava, "If you don't see a shark, the dive is free!" I don't think they have ever given away a free dive. Hee Hee.
Hugs and Love to all,
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