05 April 2017 | Tahanea Atoll. Tuamotu's, French Polynesia
We did an overnight passage of 78nm from Makemo and arrived 06:00 and then waited a few hours for the outgoing tide to slacken to allow us to make the pass (Passe Teavatapu ) into the atoll - turbulent 2.5m upright waves when we arrived. At approx 0800 we made the passage favoring the east side of Teavatapu where water was more calm but we still had a few knots against us which was fine for maintaining steering. We anchored west of Teuakiri motu in about 3.5m with scattered bommies about. As usual I snorkeled out to see that our anchor had set and we didn't snarl around too many bommies. Tahanea has three passages of which the two western ones are easily navigable. The eastern one is narrower and shallower so why do this one?!
Once we had the anchor safely down we didn't waste much time getting the dinghy launched and headed over to Passe Motupuapua (furthest west pass) for a few hours of great drift snorkeling. It was an incoming tide thus clean clear ocean water pouring into the atoll - definitely the best time to dive or snorkel these passes. Later, at a coral field inside the atoll, I speared a few tasty groupers which we cooked up that evening.
There are a few Polynesian's on the motu's collecting copra. We met Melvina and her brother and grandfather from Faaite (the atoll next door). After chatting with Melvina about life she first gave me a handful of bananas and then later made us some bread and came by to give us two groupers. All with the biggest of smiles. I gave her a few goodies. The fantastic Polynesian generous hospitality still lives out here. Boy, could the world use more of this I thoughts!
The second day we did a number of long drift snorkels on the center pass (Teavatapu), again a fantastic view of the life and fish. And we experienced our first aggressive behavior from a Silvertip shark. Up until this moment, I hadn't known that SilverTip's were considered dangerous but our fish guide surely pointed this out. I first saw the Silveryip close to the bottom (15m) and then it moved to midwater, turned around and slowly came straight for me. I quickly glanced to see where the dinghy and Jeroen were - about 10m away - it was a quick backstroke while keeping my eyes on this shark. He got to within a few meters away, close enough to see the pupils of his whites eyes, before I made the fasted leap ever into the dinghy. It was Jeroen's fastest leap into a dinghy too. We later returned to this pass and sure enough there were four of them about and all came up to the surface around the dinghy. No snorkeling in this pass today!
Outboard Blues: "Carburetor heartbreaker, fuel pump had dumped me". I have a difficult time accepting that a mechanical contraption rules our lives! Our stay at Tahanea had been cut short as our Honda outboard has yet again let me down. We are house bound! After spending many hours and changing out a number of parts I haven't solved it. So we are off to find some service.
So after three wonderful days in beautiful Tahanea we headed to Fakarava which, besides promises of great diving and snorkeling, claims to have a few 'yacht service' providers. Lets go and find a 4 stroke outboard mechanic!