Thursday, June 29, 2017

Fakarava, Tuamotus

Fakarava, Tuamotus
June 5 - 15, 2017

"I feel as if I'm living inside of a postcard." Phil.

Undoubtedly pictures of Fakarava make their way into the photograph trifecta every French Polynesian brochure uses. With Fakarava's stunning beauty it was no wonder we all felt trapped inside a screen saver. It was the type of screen saver I used to dream into while sipping low-budget office provided coffee in my work cube wondering, "How in THE hell did I get here?"

Highlights to this UNESCO biosphere reserve include the snorkel drift at it's south pass. A snorkel drift is when you use the incoming tide to push you over a mile (or miles) of a patchwork quilt made up of coral, fish and sharks. Simply dinghy to the entrance of the atoll via the pass and look for a dive buoy. Clip your dinghy to the dive buoy, get your gear on and once ready hop out of the dingy and drift with the tide. With one person holding a lead to the dinghy everyone glides over the sea floor. As the pass begins to narrow, the current picks up and pretty soon you feel like Superman flying over the ocean floor. About 40 minutes later, after you've drifted past dozens of black tip sharks, thousands of coral heads and endless schools of fish, you lift your head to realize the current has pushed you all the way back to your boat and that everyone is  ready to do it all over again. We snorkeled the south Fakarava pass 5 times!

During our stay in Fakarava we were lucky enough to enjoy a full moon. During our snorkel drifts the ocean floor was a blanket of grouper all spawning in conjunction with the full moon. It was borderline painful to look down at the hundreds of swimming 'fish tacos' and not be able to spear one. There was a special film crew floating around to video the black tip, grey and white tip sharks. They too were mating during the "special" full moon ~ something about the full moon nearest the solstice.

Just 5 miles north of the south pass is Hirifa. Hirifa is covered with endless stretches of white coral sand and swaying palm trees, the perfect backdrop for beach bonfires and kid camp out. Maybe it's because our girls have been watching too many episodes of Survivor, but they thought it would be fun to create their own shelters and have a beach slumber party with fellow cruising kids.

The white spit of sand seemed like the perfect place to throw up a regulation sized volleyball court and have a friendly competition. Team Daryl won.

After a few days of living in what felt like wall calendar photos, we, along with 3 buddy boats sailed to the north end of Fakarava. North Fakarava is where our friends on Coastal Drifter would be waiting for us to celebrate Captain Phil's 60th birthday. And what a celebration it was! There wasn't a boat in the entire anchorage who hadn't been invited and present for the birthday bash.

1 comment:

  1. I love the the story telling of each place...its like I am with you! Miss you guys