Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Drifiting at sea... heading to Tahanea Atoll in the Tuamotu

Hello everyone,

We had a really wonderful time at Makemo. The last couple of days have been the best snorkeling we have ever done... The kids were so amazed at how much life there was on the reef that we had anchored close to. We were fortunate enough to find 3 octopus, several new species of reef fish, oysters, and lots of curious black tip reef sharks. It has been beautiful weather with little wind and sunny skies... this makes the reef and all its colors so vibrant. It literally is like swimming in an aquarium... I kept thinking I would turn around and see a bunch of faces smooshed up against a large glass wall as if we were in the California Academy of Sciences tropical fish Aquarium exhibit... but the only thing that I would see is more fish. The fish don't seem to be bothered by us either. Often if you just float there they all come out and do their thing and you can watch them forever it seems... It did surprise me how easily we got used to swimming with the black tip reef sharks... This was one of my fears because it just seems unsettling when you think about swimming with sharks that are 4 - 6 feet long... sometimes bigger. The best part of these guys is that they are curious but they really do keep their distance and swim away when you turn to watch them... when they see you looking at them I guess it loses the sport of the sneaking up... I think the one thing that is so amazing down there are the clams...! It is weird to say but they are so beautiful and in so many colors... now I am not talking about their shells but the muscle inside. They are all neon colors of blue, green, purple, orange and such... they look like inviting 70's pillows... When I see them I keep thinking of the movie, "Little Shop of Horrors" and the Plant that comes to life... Feed my Seymour! They look like lips that open and close when you swim by... and some of them are a really good size...and then you can swim up to a coral head and they are all imbedded in it so when you swim by the whole coral head is moving with the vibrant colors... its really amazing!

Right now we are at 16.36.147S and 144.22.078W, heading is 232 degrees going 3.8 knts (with motors) and true wind speed is Zero!. We left Makemo through the pass today at 2:00pm... the wind was blowing 11 knts and it was pretty calm waters... There was cloud cover today so it was pretty hard to see the coral reefs inside the lagoon... I didn't like that, especially when I missed one and saw it on our starboard side right next to the boat... they really are hard to see if the sun is not showing them... or if it is creating a glare on the water... so you really do have to move about the atoll when the sun is high. Going through the pass was uneventful... Chris timed it as good as he could with this silly Pass Guestimater... we still have 2.5 knots of current so it wasn't exactly slack tide... but at least it has been under 4 knts and smooth. When we got out of the lagoon the wind shut down... to 4 knts and the water was pretty flat... We only need to go 40 miles in 17 hours so we are just drifting along until we get to the pass and then we will wait outside of it until it is time to go through. I just woke for my shift tonight and when I came out... it was literally dead calm out here... ZERO wind, the stars were reflecting off the ocean like you were on a lake and the only ripples on the water were from me when I turned the motors on to just get a little air in my face... this is the first time I have experienced this out on the ocean. Last night in the lagoon it was like this, it was so beautiful that we tried over and over again to capture it with a time delay on the camera... the boat felt like it was on dry dock, we could see the bottom of the sea floor when we put our dive lights on.. and that was at about 30 feet... at night! When I first turned them on a giant manta ray had swam under our boat and then away... but after that we realized we aren't in the sea of cortez anymore and unless you are snorkeling a reef... there isn't any thing to watch... so we turned the dive lights off and watched the twinkling in the water from the bio luminescence... or phosphorescence...

We are all doing great... the kids are getting some home school done.. the pace has slowed down so we can get into a somewhat of a routine, breakfast, school, snorkeling/diving, dinner and bed... not much else to do... maybe a movie in there somewhere... for the most part the kids are getting along great... except tonight as we were underway... Amaia and Alina had an argument over what movie to watch on the computer... I am sitting outside talking to Kaela and all I hear from Amaia, in her grumpy sarcastic voice, as she walks by to go downstairs is, "Why do we keep her anyway?"!! Like Alina is a pet or something.... Hee Hee...

We are all a little home sick and often find ourselves sitting around the table after dinner talking of home, the house, funny stories with friends, and all the good things we like back at home... Alina said, "I can't wait to sit by the heater in the morning" which is one of their little routines when I wake them up for school... I can't even remember what it feels like to wear pants let alone sit by a heater... It is fun for us to reminisce about what we miss and what we will look forward to when we get home... It seems like a long time until that happens and we miss everyone so much but we know it is going to go by so fast (already has, 7 months so far) and we are enjoying everything else about the trip, of course there are no regrets from any of us...

Life is good!

Hugs and love to everyone...

Heath

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