Before leaving Fakarava, we explored the reef at the pass to the south entrance. A large amount of swift water moves back and forth in the passes, and with it comes fresh nutrient rich ocean, allowing the reef and marine life to thrive as they flock to the buffet. If one enters at the right time, a rapidly moving fascinating drift dive can be enjoyed. We drove the dinghy over, attached the end of the line to Danny, and all drifted down. Huge schools of grunts worked their way around and through healthy coral heads.
Every second of the dive, multiple sharks curiously watched as we dove up and down in the water column,
and on one of the reefs about 60ft down, 8-10 sharks were very interested in a particular coral head, swimming in and out, hovering and darting back and forth. We watched them for a long time but never discovered what held their interest.
I love to watch the creatures free dive. They are so graceful and controlled. My little mermaid creatures…this one in particular is the Jude creature.
We finally had to pry ourselves from the water and set sail for Papaette. Though we wanted to stay so much longer, we know our visa for French Polynesia is only for 3 months and we still have so much more to see.
The weather report stated that winds would be extremely light, and for much of the voyage it was nonexistent. The ocean is an incredible place, an entire world with life, rules and consequences of its own. So much of the time we feel like we are far more comfortable with the ‘ocean world’ than life on land, but we are never ignorant, losing respect for its rules and power. On this passage to Tahiti, it seemed that the ocean was tired, or maybe just feeling lazy – taking a break from movement and motion, all except for an ever so gentle rise and fall like ones chest in a deep sleep. Like the calm water of a bathtub, once playing children have been removed to dry off, the South Pacific was so calm that reflections from clouds lay like a Persian rug, spanning from our hulls to the horizon. (Thanks to Jude for this photo)
Tahiti is the largest of the Society Islands, and Papaette is the bright, pulsating center. As we approached land, Aidan got goofy and stepped outside to check out the view, on our port side we saw Tahiti and in the distance off the bow we could see Moorea.
Tahiti looked green and reminded us a little of Marquesas, though the mountains were not as dramatic. It was beautiful.
Closer in we saw the clusters of homes and towns,
and a large cemetery.
Tall spires on the horizon reminded us of the volcanic activity from days gone by and we tried to imagine witnessing the birth of this place, as lava flowed and gathered, forming a place where we could drop anchor to explore.
A local man paddled his canoe to position himself behind Tanda Malaika, and stayed with us for several miles.
We reached a designated anchorage and dropped our hook. We were home without ever leaving home, and our new address is Tahiti.