30 August 2010 | Seattle, WA
30 July 2010 | Seattle
28 June 2010 | Friday Harbor, WA
27 June 2010
25 June 2010 | Friday Harbor, WA
24 June 2010 | Off Washington
22 June 2010 | Off Washington
18 June 2010 | Northern Pacific
14 June 2010 | Northern Pacific
10 June 2010 | North of Hawaii
05 June 2010 | North of Hawaii
02 June 2010 | North of the Equator
28 May 2010 | North of the Equator
26 May 2010 | North of the Equator
22 May 2010 | North of the Equator
18 May 2010 | South of the Equator
13 May 2010 | Southern Pacific Ocean
11 May 2010 | Southern Pacific Ocean
10 May 2010 | Southern Pacific Ocean
10 May 2010 | Southern Pacific Ocean

Civilization and Spear fishing

01 June 2009 | Rangiroa- Tuamotus
Greetings from Rangiroa. Once again, we are back in civilization. We have been anchored in what I believe is the second or third largest lagoon in the world for the last week. There are villages, paved roads (6 miles) and many more cars than seem to make sense. The cruise ships stop here and there is a very nice hotel with those cute little bungalows with thatched roofs built out over the lagoon. ($800 per night, by the way.)

I say civilization, but there is only one small store that sells wonderful baguettes for $.62 apiece. Fresh crunchy baguettes have become one of our key staples and we have missed them terribly on the more remote islands. Very excited, I went into the store and discovered you need to buy them a day in advance and then they will be delivered the next morning from a bakery in another village. Except for last week when there was no bread, apparently due to a problem with the oven. The wonderful woman at the store smiled calmly and estimated, "maybe later, maybe tomorrow" leading to the very lightly publicized Polynesian bread riots. We did find highly prized canned butter on the small shelves of dried and canned foods and Timothy wanted to buy all 10 cans. Cheese? Sorry - all out, the supply ship should come on Wednesdays and no one is quite sure why it did not come this week. Eggs? No sorry - all out, might be a delivery, but no one knows when. And the final straw, despite the large Hinano Beer sign over the store, no one at this end of the island sells beer. I was asked a couple of days ago if we have been able to find ice and was tempted to break down and cry.

One of the benefits of all the tourists is an area set aside for diving called The Aquarium where the fish are absolutely fearless and will eat out of your hand. Hundreds of smaller fish swarm the surface, I hung onto the coral about 15 feet down while holding a hunk of bread and was engulfed by a ball of large perch, trigger fish and groupers so thick that I could not see the surface. I was wearing gloves, but it was very creepy to have my hand being rattled about by so many sets of teeth. When one of the 25 pound Titan Trigger fish came in for a bite, I happily dropped the baguette and fled. Just to remind us that we are still in the ocean, there are regular appearances by black tip and silver tipped sharks. Today, we were snorkeling with Susan and Wayne, of the Canadian boat Daydream, and a roughly 5 foot silver tipped shark was very persistently circling underfoot. Susan knew that the shark was around but was above the schools of fish and did not see it until her fins parted the fish and the shark appeared right under her. For biblical scholars around the world, you can indeed walk on water!

I have found a new obsession - spear fishing. Turns out it is much harder than it looks. The fish are happy to swim slowly past as you snorkel, but put a spear gun into the water and they are gone in a flash. So far, I have fallen from ambitious sportsman to just plain hungry. I borrowed a spear gun and have been hunting big grouper and tasty looking spotted fish called coral trout in the depths. Failing miserably, I fell back a couple of notches and speared a really big ray. I must admit that I shot it from the dingy in two feet of water and it resulted in an epic battle bringing to mind the Old Man and the Sea. Imagine blissful tourists relaxing in their comfy deck chairs out over the water, watching the rays float by poetically beneath them as they sip their first cocktails of evening. I completely horrified them by rowing in and shooting one with a speargun from point blank range. "Gotta feed the kids", I told them - and it was very tasty indeed. That was the high spot in the underwater fishing. Yesterday, I was further reduced to trying to pry the giant clams out of the coral with the dingy anchor. Unfortunately, that too is harder than it looks. The fish have a serious advantage of being able to breathe underwater.

We have been hunkered down here 20 - 25 knots of wind blowing day and night. It is very rough in the anchorage and spectacularly rough outside, with the big swells breaking chaotically on the reef. In a single afternoon of crazy rain squalls we caught 25 gallons of water off our tarp. Today, the sun is back out and the wind is settling down. The weather forecast, while not great, shows what should be an acceptable window for us to reach Tahiti. We are planning on leaving in the morning.
Vessel Name: Whisper
Vessel Make/Model: Tartan 37
Hailing Port: Seattle
Crew: Scott, Mary, Timothy and Finn

Who: Scott, Mary, Timothy and Finn
Port: Seattle