Sunday, July 22, 2007

July 21, 2007 - Apataki

Hello, motu. It is days like the past few that we were hoping for when we set out on this adventure. We spent our first two days here tucked behind a small reef, about a mile from the pass.

We took advantage of the close proximity to the pass to drift snorkel it three times. We saw plenty of fish, including Napoleon wrasse, grouper and tuna, moray eels, and sharks, mostly black tip, but I did have one large grey reef shark swim out of the depths to check me out - I quickly waved Sten over for a dinghy extraction.

Late in the afternoon on our first day here Sten did some fishing on the ocean side of the reef. He landed a nice 10lb jack on the first cast but released it due to Ciguatera worries. He also hooked a large Barracuda but managed to get it to spit the lure out before things got too dicey. It was pretty exciting as he was using a surface lure, which he could see the fish follow through the swells, backlit by the setting sun.

Yesterday we were joined in our anchorage by a French couple on a brand new trimaran that they had just sailed down from San Diego. Their boat folds up. Seriously. The side hulls fold in so it can be trailered or shipped in a container. Their main engine is a 10hp outboard. Their dinghy is an inflatable kayak. They pee in a bucket. It just goes to show that there is no one right way to do this kind of trip. However, drift snorkel extractions in a 4 knot current would be a bit difficult in a kayak (and I don't even want to imagine provisioning trips . . ). So we piled them into our big dinghy (whose outboard engine is more powerful than their main engine) and took them off to do the pass. It was really fun to share the experience with some other people.

Today we headed across the lagoon to anchor in the south east corner, in the lee of a motu, protected from the prevailing winds. Our trip over was a bit slow. We had to tack back and forth to make any progress upwind to the anchorage. We also had to tack around reefs and pearl farm buoys. As the afternoon wore on, the wind petered out. It is frustrating enough to have to approach your destination in segments, 45 degrees off your target, but to do so slowly is just annoying. To keep our spirits up and help us stay awake and focused on spotting bommies and buoys, we turned up the tunes and had a dance party on the deck.

Our new anchorage is as beautiful as the prior one.

What a stunning end to the day.

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