02 May 2008 | Rangiroa Atoll, Tuamotus Archipelago
30C, Partly Cloudy, Wind E 12 Knots
02/05/2008 2215UTC 14 58.187S 147 38.313W Days 327-328 Up this morning at 0600, 27C, Partly Cloudy, Wind E 5-12 Knots.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~NAO, located in Wind Dancer's homeport, specializes in the waterproof gear you'll need to enjoy Southeast Alaska. However, NAO expands the theme beyond the basics and offers men's and women's clothing that reflects our Southeast sense of style. At Nugget Alaskan Outfitter you'll also find gear and gadgets that come in handy for life in this neck of the Woods.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[The Photo Gallery (Phase V - The South Pacific) has been updated with pictures from Rangiroa Atoll in the Tuamotus Archipelago. Above, local Rangiroan men get some exercise rowing an outrigger in the lagoon.]
[Note: this is a combined entry for yesterday and today.]
You'd think we had nothing but time on our hands, but there are days when there's just one activity after the next. And so it was yesterday. Following morning coffee in the cockpit on another simply stunning South Pacific day, I went to the village with John and Mandy to try and help them sort out their wireless Internet problems. We spent about two hours searching the area for the people who run the local Wi-Fi service, but to no avail. However, we did get to see a section of Rangiroa -- the village of Tiputa -- that we hadn't before.
Around noon we dinghied over near the coral reef and went snorkeling for a couple of hours. The breathtakingly clear water was filled with myriad tropical fish, rays, moray eels, giant oysters and so forth. You talk about a field trip for our students! They are getting a really good hands-on education on this voyage, no doubt. Couple the wildlife with the local culture and it's real-life learning they can't get out of textbooks.
When we got back to Wind Dancer, everybody was starving so it was time for a big ol' fashioned barbecue: hotdogs, potato salad and pork'n'beans. We'd just cleared that away when it was time for our evening trip to shore to watch the dolphins play in the pass. They leap, sometimes in perfect pairs, as if they were trained, high into the air performing backflips, frontflips, rolls and loop-d-loops. I can think of no reason for their antics other than play.
Another dazzling sunset and our company arrived. John and Mandy dropped by for a viewing of "Six Days, Seven Nights" -- the Harrison Ford Ann Heche film -- set in this area. In fact, the focal point of the story is on an island in the Tuamotus not far from here called Makatea. We will pass it close aboard on the next leg of our voyage.
This morning about 1030, John and I are going to the pass viewing area to see what the current is like at this time of day. We plan to leave Rangiroa tomorrow about that time and want to make sure the pass will be, well, passable when we run it. Much of the rest of the day will be spent preparing for our passage to Tahiti, which is next. It's only about 200nm -- two days and two nights. I'm plugging in the routes in our chartplotters and otherwise preparing for sea. Tonight we'll load up the dinghy and get everything in place for cast off tomorrow. The next blog entry will be from on-passage between here and Tahiti. I'd like to anchor there in the lee of Venus Point at Cook's Anchorage where Captain Cook spent several months in the late 1700s establishing a base to monitor the transit of Venus across the sun. His observations greatly enhanced the field of astronomy, morphing theories into fact.
1st Mate: Yesterday was wonderful. I felt like we actually were on vacation and could relax and have some fun. We had no major repairs or chores to do and we were not planning on leaving. I made some real cooked oatmeal for breakfast. The kids were told they had to finish their lessons before 1230 so we could go snorkeling. It was a great snorkel -- we wore our Lycra suits and headed over near the hotel and saw a lot of different fish and coral heads as well as very large sponge. We spent over an hour and we all had fun.
When we got back Captain made a big batch of his potato salad and we had a big picnic lupper of hot dogs and beans. The kids gave us both back and foot rubs at a small price at their new massage parlor. We went back to the dolphin lookout around 1630, as each day the dolphins jump in the tidal current. The kids played on the beach and we felt as though it were a dream. I can't imagine seeing and doing all they are getting at their age. We felt like lifestyles of the rich and famous getting to experience the wonders of this little island and all its beauty. We spent most of the day doing all these things with John & Mandy and asked them to come watch "Six Days, Seven Nights" on our boat. It is a great film that supposedly takes place in this area but was really filmed in Hawaii. Today we will check out the other side of town and get ready to make another overnight passage to Tahiti! Our first stop will be Captain Cook's cove.
2nd Mate: Wildlife seen yesterday and today: frigate bird, remora (we've seen these before, but we didn't know what they were; see quote below from my uncle George Fitzgerald), Fraser's dolphin, convict fish, saddle butterflyfish, clown wrasse, big bellied parrotfish, trumpet fish, golden jack, king angelfish, Cortez angelfish, scissortail damselfish, giant damselfish, Cortez damselfish, Azure parrotfish, bluechin parrotfish, whitecheek surgeonfish, bluespotted surgeonfish, yellowtail surgeonfish, barrel sponge, elegant coral, purple lip rock oyster, Moorish idol*, coachman*, emperor angelfish*, vagabond butterflyfish*, filament butterflyfish*, diamond stingray*, checkerboard wrasse*, rainbow wrasse*, Napoleon wrasse*, clown labrid*, yellow surgeonfish*, convict tang*, flagtail blanquillo*, yelloweye croaker*, Mexican goatfish*, clarion angelfish*, wounded wrasse*, chameleon wrasse*, stareye parrotfish*, bumphead parrotfish*, purple surgeonfish*, chanco surgeonfish*, black durgon*, spotted sharpnose puffer*, sulphur sponge*, red epizoanthid*, encrusting stony coral*, gorgonian*, robust gorgonian*, yellow gorgonian*.
"I think the fish you're describing is a remora. There are several species in the South Pacific ranging in size from a few inches up to about 3 feet. They all have an oval disc on top of their head by which they attach to fish, turtles and especially sharks, allowing them to get towed to new feeding areas. Natives sometimes use them to catch other fish by attaching a line to them and throwing them back into the water to attach to a fish - then reeling them in!"
Woke up around 0600 yesterday. We did a lot of school to catch up. We ate breakfast and worked until 1230. We snacked a little and then we hopped into the dinghy. We followed John and Mandy in their dinghy to a coral reef in the lagoon. My foot is all healed up! So, we slipped on our Lycra suits, AquaSocks (shoes made for swimming), and snorkels and dove in. We found almost instantly that some of the coral itself was dead (brown in color), but that didn't mean that there wasn't any fish in it. First thing we saw was a giant sponge. We searched around a little, but we only saw a lone trumpet fish. We swam over to a big, live coral head; and got lost from each other in schools of hundreds of fish! We saw yellow ones, blue ones, green ones, pink ones, and multi-colored ones. We even saw a giant stingray on the ocean floor. We enjoyed splitting up, finding each other unexpectedly, pairing up, and getting lost again numerous times. One time, I swam off by myself following a stingray. It swam too fast for me to keep up. I swam over a coral head and go lost in the rocks. Suddenly, all of the fish came out and swam next to me. I enjoyed the fish and then I met up with the others. We hopped back into the dinghy and went back to the boat.
We had an early dinner and cleaned up the boat. The Gingi crew came over and watched "Six Days, Seven Nights" with us as John has never seen it and Mandy came close to John: she saw it on an airplane. We had a good time and planned the next part of our journey. Today, I woke up around 0655. We had breakfast and did some school.
Cabin Girl: The weather yesterday: partly cloudy, light wind, the high was 28C, the barometer was 1013 and rising, the moon is waning towards new. Yesterday, I woke up and had oatmeal for breakfast. I did some schoolwork. I read "Chirpy Cricket" and wrote a paragraph and I drew a picture about it. Then we went snorkeling at a coral reef. We saw 5,000 fish! We went back and had hot dogs, potato salad, and beans for dinner. Then, Gingi came over and we watched "Six Days, Seven Nights" together. Gingi left and we all went to bed.
The weather today: partly cloudy, moderate wind, the high was 30C, the barometer is 1013 and steady, the moon is waning towards new. I woke up and had corn beef hash for breakfast, which tasted like ground up sausage. I did some school, which was fun. I learned about the food chain and I wrote about all of the landmarks in the South Pacific. Mom read "How to Eat Fried Worms" to me.