We've now been in the Tuamotus for over a week and we are loving it here. The atolls are drastically different from the Marquesas and we are enjoying a different type of cruising. The lagoons are totally protective and we sleep well, the snorkeling is great, and the boys are enjoying the spear fishing. Yesterday we enjoyed fresh ceviche from some grouper Porter speared. We've also been making our own coconut milk, so our fish curry's are pretty awesome. We just learned how to make coconut crab stir fry, so we are looking forward to catching some coconut crabs in the future. We've been told the next atoll has lots of them. The stores are pretty bleak for provisioning, so food is often on our minds. Although we stayed in a village on Makemo an extra two days to meet up with the monthly supply ship. From the ship we were able to buy produce that while the selection wasn't very diverse, the quality was awesome. Often, in these small villages, the only produce in the store looks like it has been rolled down a street before making it to the supply case. We haven't bought an apple or pear in 4 months and yet yesterday we saw refrigerated apple boxes straight from New Zealand. Today we are savoring the long lost flavors and unexpected produce quality and trying our new stash last as long as possible.
Yesterday the boys did some wake boarding with another boat and had a great time, although our new favorite thing to do is drift snorkel the passes. We hope to dive a few of them, but snorkeling is pretty incredible, it requires far less gear and we can do it over and over. On a flood tide we take the dinghy out to the entrance of the pass, we all dive in with our snorkeling gear and drift over the coral beds at 5-6 knots, we then clamor back into the dinghy after our 10 minute ride to do it all over again. The boys dive down and they can stay down for so long its fun watching them do tricks, float upside down and mimic flying over the coral. Both boys have a lung capacity that Michael and I envy. Zander in particular has been practicing his free diving and can stay underwater for over a minute. We see butterfly fish, angel fish, larger grouper and parrot fish in addition to sharks and rays. The minutia of the reef is lost at that speed, which is a personal favorite of mine, but the larger species are awesome to watch and quite frankly it is just really fun to have the sensation of almost flying.
The atolls are mostly uninhabited, so we can have bonfires on the beach and we have unlimited access to coconuts. We miss the fresh fruit of the Marquesas, but otherwise the atolls are quite idyllic. The clarity of the water is like gin and the color changes depending on depth, sun and time of day. The multiple shades of blue are almost indescribable. There are a dozen shades of blue; azure, aquamarine, cobalt, midnight, turquoise to name a few. When we pass through the lagoons we have to be diligent about watching for bommies, coral heads that come up from 75 feet to a foot below the surface almost instantly. In good light they are easy to spot, but in late afternoon light they can be nearly impossible to see. We also have to watch out for pearl farms which may have the telltale buoys attached, but derelict pear strings can be 5-10 feet below the surface and not marked at all. Raroia was particularly bad, but Makemo seems to have fewer farms.
We will stay in Makemo for another few days, wait out a northern wind pattern, and then head to the next atoll. Life is quite blissful at the moment and we are trying to take it all in and store as much of this fun as possible to sustain us through the next long passage.
The following pages chronicle the journey of the sailing vessel Pelagic and her crew. We are a family of 5; Michael, Amy, Zander, Porter and Anakena, taking our 42' Hallberg Rassy as far as we can comfortably go in three years. We left Oregon in September 2014, participated in the 2014 Baja Haha, continued on through the Panama Canal, into the Caribbean, up the coast of the US to Maritime Canada and from there crossed the Atlantic. After an arrival in Ireland we toured Scotland, then sailed down to France, Portugal and on to Morocco. In January of 2016 we slowed down considerably and enrolled the kids in a local Spanish school in Sanlucar de Guadiana for a few months. In the spring of 2016 we crossed the Atlantic towards the Caribbean. We are now in the Pacific, officially on our way home, albeit via a very circuitous path. We are currently in French Polynesia and looking at weather windows to Hawaii before finally making landfall back in the Pacific Northwest.
Currently our exact location is not available. Our spot coverage will pick us back up in Hawaii towards the end of May, 2017.
Our favorite sailing quote:
"If anythings gonna happen, it's gonna happen out there boss!" Captain Ron