Mazu II

Adventures on MAZU

14 May 2018 | Amanu French Polynesia
14 May 2018 | Amanu French Polynesia
12 May 2018 | Amanu French Polynesia
10 May 2018 | Amanu French Polynesia
09 May 2018 | On route to Amanu French Polynesia
08 May 2018 | Rikitea, Gambier Islands French Polynesia
08 May 2018 | Rikitea, Gambier Islands French Polynesia
06 May 2018 | Rikitea, Gambier Islands French Polynesia
05 May 2018 | Mangareva
05 May 2018 | Rikitea, Mangareva, Gambier Islands French Polynesia
03 May 2018 | Tauna, Gambier Islands, French Polynesia
03 May 2018 | Teravai
03 May 2018 | Teravai
03 May 2018 | Teravai
03 May 2018 | Teravai Gambier Islands , French Polynesia
26 April 2018 | Taravai, Gambier Islands French Polynesia
26 April 2018 | Rikitea, Mangareva, Gambier Islands French Polynesia
22 April 2018 | Rikitea
18 April 2018 | Tuamotus
18 April 2018 | Approaching the Gambiers

Fresh Fish Beach BBQ

14 May 2018 | Amanu French Polynesia
Sandra
The last two days in Amanu have been Glorious!

Robert and Peter went spear fishing along the reef and caught two groupers. They have to anchor the dinghy near where they snorkel and fish so that they can get the fish into the dinghy before the sharks steal it from them. The day before while Robert was spear fishing he speared an Octopus. A shark sensed the distressed Octopus and came for lunch. Robert had to release the Octopus to the shark. Poor thing. Peter saw an Octopus while they went out again but directed Robert to a different spot to save the Octopus. We have enough food we don't need to eat a smart little Octopus.

I am thrilled that Veronica also has a paddleboard. We paddled upwind across the protective reef which was hard work. It took awhile to get over the reef with the wind and waves against us. I rarely fall off my board but this time on the other side of the reef I had to bail. We opted to turn around and paddle up one of the inlets that head out to sea between the motus.

From our anchorage we are across from one of these inlets. There are two little sharks who seem to be patrolling back and forth in front of this inlet.

We drift snorkeled with our boards quite a ways downwind and then paddled back. Veronica has one of those full face snorkeling masks that she lent me. It is fabulous. I can breath easily through my nose and see great. I never have to lift my head anymore to clear my snorkel or mask. I've discovered that my snorkel has a leak in it so I am always getting a gurgling sound which freaks me out and I have to come up and clear it. I am SO much more comfortable snorkeling now that I can see and breath without worry. While on our boards a 5-6' span mantaray swam near us. We floated with his majestic movement downwind and then he turned around and escorted us back to our boats. Amazing.

At sunset we headed to shore for a romantic dinner of BBQ fish, left over glory bowl rice, and pumpkin/cristophane over a coconut husk fueled fire. Our little solar powered light and Robert's kerosene lantern set the mood. What a wonderful end of the evening.

We are now about to pick up anchor and head off to Tahanea, a two day journey with 20knt winds.

Glory Bowl

14 May 2018 | Amanu French Polynesia
Sandra
The small village in Amanu is adjacent to the pass where we entered the atoll. There is an old 1930s church and a newer version, a post office, community building, one store (which was closed on Sunday), some basic houses with curtains for windows and a little harbour where kids were playing in the water. There were 3 sailboats anchored in the harbour. The depth is less than 2 meters there and they were very close together. It may be protected but it is Not at all comparable to the private paradise that we have found. We stopped to watch the current gushing through the pass and found 4 leopard rays playing happily in the shallows. They are so graceful, such a pleasure to watch.

With East winds in the forecast we picked up anchor and moved to the SE side of Amanu. What a relief that our anchor came up without any difficulty. Our friends, on the other hand were not so lucky. Their anchor was hooked on some coral. Fortunately the water is very clear so when Robert got into the water with his snorkel and mask he could see which way they had to go to free the anchor. We had agreed to wait for each other to be free before we crossed over. I circled out deeper with Mazu as Peter took the dinghy over to see if he could assist Seven Seas.

As promised our new anchorage is even prettier than the first. It looks like one of those picture perfect post cards that cannot be real. We are anchored in turquoise water 24' deep and can clearly see the few coral spots in the sand below. This was a great opportunity to try the floating the anchor chain technique that is recommended to prevent the anchor from wrapping around coral with a wind shift.. Peter has been collecting rogue buoys for exactly that purpose. He clipped a line onto the anchor chain and tied a buoy to the other end. The buoy floats the chain above the coral. He set three of these along the chain and when the buoys are in line we are confident that our anchor chain is in the same line.

The crushed coral beach is lined with Palm trees and short brush that is easy to walk through. We took a stroll about 200 meters across the atoll to reach the outer edge where the open ocean crashes onto shore. Unlike many of the windward sides of islands that one sees in the Caribbean this shore was pristine and free of garbage. There is a small shallow pass between two motus where we stopped to watch the bright blue parrot fish and a small shark.

Sunday was mother's day. For the past 15 years or so we have hosted a family mother's day brunch for extended family and friends. I was feeling homesick but it was so nice to hear my mom's voice when I called her from the Iridium Go phone. Veronica and Robert came over for dinner and I made Glory Bowls, one of my favourite dishes. Thanks again to Cindy for sending me the recipe. I didn't bring it with me and started the dressing while we were on passage. I couldn't think straight while I was feeling green. I added the tahini, red wine vinegar, garlic, and oil but the acidic taste just made me feel greener. I had forgotten two key ingredients, nutritional yeast and soy sauce, which fortunately I had on board. I am really impressed with the shelf stable tofu that I bought two years ago. It was in perfect condition and yummy. And the canned beets were almost as good as fresh grated beets.

Speaking of Glory Bowls, Sunday was also my sister Jan's birthday. I got to talk to her on the Iridium phone too. She and her daughter Jessie are on a road trip through the Oregon coast. When Jan and her friend Corri were young and single many of their girlfriends were already married or had boyfriends. They did a self evaluation of all of their fabulous traits & wondered why they were the single ones. After all they were "Prime Rib", the choicest thing on the menu. So now Jan finds herself single again but I've told her not to worry because she is a Glory Bowl.

Today is Monday and we spent the morning on shore harvesting coconuts. Peter pulled these lovely orange coloured coconuts out of a reachable tree with the boat hook and hacked them open with his machete. I drained the delicious water into my water bottle and pried out the sweet white meat.

Our sundowner drink today was fresh squeezed pomplemouse, coconut, cinnamon and rum. A true sun salutation.

Amanu at anchor in an aquarium

12 May 2018 | Amanu French Polynesia
Sandra
Amanu is one of the first Atolls on our route that has a navigable pass to enter it. We decided to bypass Hao, where my plane did a quick stop on route to the Gambier's, for this less traveled atoll. It is incredibly beautiful but it's easy to understand why it is less visited.

The one pass between the motus is very narrow and at the current date there is only one time per day that a sailboat can get through the outgoing wave action from the tidal currents. Moving around the atoll and anchoring must be when the sun is high and there is good visibility to see all of the coral reefs and bommies. Spotting from the bow at all times and referring to anchoring waypoints provided by previous sailors is what we are doing. According to our INavX and Navionic Charts we crossed over land while coming through the pass.

Our current anchorage is in sand in a little bay protected by the motus (little Palm covered islands joined with sand/reefs forming the atoll) and surrounding reef. There are still scattered coral bommies on the bottom but hopefully less than in the shallower areas. Our anchor watch alarm went off last night during one of the 20kt gusts which blew us the opposite direction than the prevailing wind. It's quite nerve racking when that happens and it's pitch black outside. We are still here this morning though and crossing our fingers that our anchor is not wrapped around any coral bommies. Our new friends from Seven Seas arrived with us and we are the only two boats out here.

I was surprised to discover, when I tossed overboard the crumbs from my granola, that the two Ramora fish who were under our boat in the Gambiers are still with us. I guess Mazu is their new home now. I couldn't believe that they could make that passage but for sure Mazu moves slower than the sharks that they typically hitch hike with. We are imagining that these evolved Ramoras are vegetarians who prefer the compostable scraps that sailors throw overboard as opposed to a fish diet.

Anxious to see what other fish we could see we went for a short snorkel yesterday afternoon. This mermaid was armed with a short pole in anticipation of any sharks getting closer to me than I would like. We only saw one black tip shark and it kept it's distance. There are so many fish around this beautiful coral and clear turquoise water. It's like swimming in an aquarium. The coral is jewelled with multi coloured soft coral with feathered feeding fronds that suck back into barnacle like holes when you touch them. Peter likes to touch everything and got his finger snapped by a big clam with bright blue zig zagging lips that closed a lot quicker than he was expecting.

We had a lovely dinner over on Seven Seas with Veronic and Robert. They are avid fishers and caught a skip jack tuna on the passage over. They are a great set up for fish cleaning, a big vinyl bag drapes over their cockpit table and seat to catch the blood while the fish hangs from the binnacle and a nice lower swim deck where Robert can strap himself on and clean a fish while underway. They taught us how they preserve the fish by drying it in a sugar/salt coating. They also served us delicious chips made from the bread fruit and a cristophene squash that they found growing on a tree vine on Mangareva. We have a lot to learn from all of these experience sailors. We did bring over some peanut butter banana oatmeal cookies and some wine to complement the meal.

The wind is meant to change to SE tomorrow so Peter and Veronica went across the atoll (5 miles) in the dinghy to check out potential anchorages on the SE side. He just came back so excited that the SE side of the atoll looks even more idyllic than this spot which is hard to imagine.

We are heading off in the dinghy this afternoon to visit the Villiage. There is a population of 200 people around the entire atoll. The village has a few buildings, a church, one store and a few houses. Apparently the young mayor (28) likes to give free tours. We shall see.

A Bientot

Amanu

10 May 2018 | Amanu French Polynesia
Sandra
AHHHH, What a beautiful idylic anchorage. We are are tourquoise water tucked behind a protective sand spit, near a shallow outflow from the atol. The shore is white sandy beach lined with Coconut palm trees. I wish I could send a photo but you will have to google earth it.

We arrived in Amanu this morning. It is a very narrow pass involving tricky navigation to time the tides and the wave current. The bottom has lots of coral bombies making anchoring a challenge.. We've just cleaned the boat, launched the dinghy, done the laundry and made water.

Time for a swim and a rest, Phew!

The colours of Passage

09 May 2018 | On route to Amanu French Polynesia
Sandra
Yesterday was a very green day for us in the big waves.

the skies were grey

Today is a blue day. Saphire blue big Pacific ocean waves with turquoise blue tips in the sunlight. Sky blue and sunshine.

Blue bruises showing up too. Still feeling a little green.
Vessel Name: Mazu II
Vessel Make/Model: Sinek 43
Hailing Port: Victoria, BC
Crew: Peter Cosmann and Sandra Watts
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