Skip to content

We are in Tahiti

May 23, 2013

Persephone is med-tied to the docks in downtown Papeete, Tahiti, after a rolly two-nighter from Fakarava in the Tuamotu. It is strange to be in a large city with street noise, more than one restaurant to choose from, and lots of needed services.

Our last posting was from the village on the northeast end of Makemo. While anchored there we are met by our friends Mark and Christine from Gray Matter, a very cool couple on a power boat who show us some great diving spots. We spend the morning diving before raising anchor and heading across the atoll.

After dodging the many coral heads in the atoll, we find a quiet anchorage behind a reef and islets with beautiful white sand beaches. The next two days are spent snorkeling the reef and walking the beaches. The coral formations and fish are fantastic, but the best is yet to come.

In the morning we move the boat up to the northwest pass in preparation for leaving Makemo and spend the afternoon snorkeling the pass with its crystal clear water and incredible coral and fish. There are dozens of curious sharks that come close to us but quickly swim off when we chase them. This is the type of diving that you see in travel brochures and we have it all to ourselves!

We leave the next morning and sail in light winds the 50 miles to Tahanea (lat 16 51S, long 144 40W) where we have a thrilling time transiting the pass filled with breaking waves. We are content to snorkel the reefs within the atoll since the trades are blowing water into the atoll making the passes too dangerous to dive.

Two days later we enjoy another day sail to the atoll of Fakarava.(lat 16 31S, long 145 27W). The pass has not seen an ingoing current for several days due to the strong trade winds and we must dive within the atoll.

In the morning the dinghy is missing and we raise anchor and go searching for it. We find it on the reef about 5 miles from the anchorage. It is filled with water and the propeller is destroyed, but it is otherwise unscathed. It’s a bit of a job to get the dinghy through the breaking waves and into deep water where Persephone is waiting, but everything goes well. We determine that the incident was the result of a “knot” that had come undone and Wayne introduces us to a number of real knots that he uses in mountain climbing and we religiously employ them when securing the dinghy.

We have dinner with Manihi who runs a low-key resort on a motu by the anchorage and are joined by our friends John and Kathy on Mystic Moon. They too have a power boat and are good people, so maybe it’s time to bury the hatchet on “stink pots”. The dinner includes pizza which is divine. Afterwards, Manihi offers us baked bread that he has made in his kiln. It’s a great evening.

In the morning the winds have subsided and there is an incoming tide; the first in many days. We break out the scuba gear and head to the pass for the drift dive of a lifetime. The water is clear and we drift past a “wall” of at least 100 sharks. The coral is brilliantly alive with fish and we see manta rays, spotted eagle rays, barracuda, and turtles as we leisurely drift along.

We spend three days diving the pass. Sandie and Brian scuba dive while Randi and Wayne snorkel on the surface pulling the dinghy. Then we fill the tanks and change places. Fakarava has really lived up to its reputation as one of the primo dive spots in the world.

We finally grow restless and raise anchor mid-afternoon and head out the pass for Tahiti. The afternoon has light wind and we enjoy dinning in the cockpit as we sail along. But during the night the wind and seas build and we spend the next 36 hours trying to slow the boat down so we don’t arrive in Papeete in the dark. At 08:00 on the third day we tie to the public dock in downtown Papeete. We are 3,500 miles from Puerto Vallarta and 3,650 miles from San Francisco and truly on our way around the world.

We find our lost dinghy on the reef

We find our lost dinghy on the reef

After serving us dinner, Manihi offers us fresh bread from his kiln

After serving us dinner, Manihi offers us fresh bread from his kiln

The new dive compressor works great

The new dive compressor works great

Enjoying cocktails on Mystic Moon with Kathy & John

Enjoying cocktails on Mystic Moon with Kathy & John

Tied up to the docks in downtown Papeete

Tied up to the docks in downtown Papeete

Having dinner at the Roulotte in Papeete

Having dinner at the Roulotte in Papeete

Randi in Fakarava pass with hundreds of sharks

Randi in Fakarava pass with hundreds of sharks

Brian & Sandie scuba at on Fakarava reef

Brian & Sandie scuba at on Fakarava reef

Snorkeling at Makemo

Snorkeling at Makemo

Sandie snorkeling at Makemo

Sandie snorkeling at Makemo

Makemo reef

Makemo reef

Sandie glides through an arch at Fakarava reef

Sandie glides through an arch at Fakarava reef

Nice grouper

Nice grouper

Snorkeling Makemo pass

Snorkeling Makemo pass

Sharks are always present

Sharks are always present

Coral head at Makemo

Coral head at Makemo

Makemo pass

Makemo pass

Persephone off the reef inside Makemo

Persephone off the reef inside Makemo

Reef at Fakarava

Reef at Fakarava

Clams & scallops share a coral head

Clams & scallops share a coral head

We join up with Christine & Mark on Gray Matter

We join up with Christine & Mark on Gray Matter

Beach inside Makemo atoll

Beach inside Makemo atoll

Sharks patrol the ankle deep water next to the beach

Sharks patrol the ankle deep water next to the beach

Three hermit crabs in a social setting

Three hermit crabs in a social setting

Looking for shells on the motus

Looking for shells on the motus

Fiery sunset

Fiery sunset

From → Travel

4 Comments
  1. Jan permalink

    We want to be there – soon -:)

    But lose the sharks!

  2. sounds like a great trip, welcome to Tahiti.

  3. Dave Wong permalink

    Hey Brian,

    In the picture of you and Sandie snorkeling, I recognized you by your hair.

    Nice pictures. Where to next?

  4. TOD D ASMUSSEN permalink

    Hello Brian and Sandie,

    Wow, this latest blog was awesome!  The diving sounds great.  That must have been fun to swim with that many sharks.  The underwater photos are really fun to look at and that picture of Sandie swimming through an underwater arch was really cool.

    The beach inside the Makemo Atoll looks like something out of a travel brochure.  Well, I have to run and keep up with the boys.  Fair winds and following seas.  

    Cheers, Tod, Cari, Sammy and Zane

    ________________________________

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: