June 19, 2011

Onward from Tahanea

We woke the other morning to flat calm. No, that doesn't describe it. We woke to a morning where the division between sea, air and sky had disappeared. We could see the bottom, at 40' and all the fish that swam there as though we were looking at birds in the sky. And the horizon between sea and sky had faded until everything was the same shade of blue. We were floating in an infinity ocean.
The wind stayed down for the next few days and we began to wonder if we really could do it all: If we could see a third atoll, Fakarava (say that three times fast) and sail to Tahiti in time for the rendezvous. Yesterday though the wind started to come back and we slowly sailed down the Tahanea atoll to the deserted village of d'Oato where we took advantage of the water catchment systems and filled up with wash water. We also wandered through the village--checking out the ruined huts, visiting the graveyard and entering the tiny church: A building which looks like it was last used on Sunday.
Through the night we felt the wind gradually rise and early this morning we raised our anchor by moonlight. A half hour later we were at the pass and the sun was up. We were 30 minutes late for the predicted slack and the seas had started to build, but we punched out through them. Us first, followed by WGD (who rose so high on one incoming wave that I saw the leading edge of their keel) and Bluemoon last. They took advantage of seeing us struggle and found a slightly less turbulent path. We left behind Piko and Britannia--they wanted to take advantage of the water and catch up on laundry and boat chores.
The plan is to meet again at Papeete or Moorea next week--but first WGD, Bluemoon and us have one more atoll to squeeze in. And after a stunningly perfect day sail: 12-15 knots from astern over seas flattened from the days of calm wind we arrived at the pass at 2pm under a bright blue sky.
Pulling into Fakarave we understood at once why people told us not to miss it. One side of the anchorage is exposed reef--and has surf crashing against it, the other is a group of little motus separated by blue lagoons--we dove in the water shortly after arriving--and now we're watching on the sunset on what has turned out to be another perfect day.
Loving this.
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