We all left Apataki bright and early and it turns out that once again Dan timed our passage through the entrance perfectly. We had a little rocking and rolling but still nothing like Fakarava. Looks like he’s getting to be a pro at this and I couldn’t be happier.
Ed & Linda lead the way through the pass and we are Rangiroa bound. The passage will take us less than 24 hours. The weather is good and the winds are right for some nice sailing.
We arrive at the northwest pass to Rangiroa first thing in the morning. The sun is coming up and the waves are crashing upon the coral sand beach outside of the atoll with great force. As they reach the beach white foam shoots into the air and looks as if it is as high as the coconut palms.
We keep moving until we reach the northeastern pass, Tiputa. The pass looks a bit turbulent so we take a few runs by the entrance to access our next move. Ed & Dan are on the radio discussing what they are seeing and whether or not we should go in. They decide it looks okay so I head to the bow, clip my tether into the jack line and ready myself to be on lookout. As we begin our entrance we are being hit with just a couple of knots of outbound current. We rock back and forth a bit but it seems like this one will be pretty easy. Suddenly off to the port side we see several dolphins swimming and jumping in the waves. They are known to ride the surf at this entrance and we are fortunate to get to see them. It’s almost as if they are here to welcome us.
After ten or fifteen minutes we are through the pass and the waters are calm again. Another fairly smooth entrance….NICE! We make our way to the main anchorage on the northwest side of the pass. It’s full of sailboats, maybe thirty or so. On the shore is the Kia Ora Resort with its quintessential tropical huts over top of the water.
We spent several days here and enjoyed each one. One day we took the dinghy down to the south end of the atoll and stopped at the Paul Gaughin Pearl Farm. There my honey bought me a beautiful Keshi black pearl that we will have made into a ring when we reach New Zealand. If you are not a pearl expert or don’t know what a Keshi pearl is, let me explain. Almost all pearls in the world these days are farmed. The pearl farmers plant a nucleus inside of an oyster and then put it back in the water for a few years. Sometimes the oyster rejects the nucleus which means the nacker, or the shiny substance, doesn’t form a round pearl, rather it’s very unique and oddly shaped. Keshi pearls tend to be some of the most beautiful as they have the most luster. Being one who doesn’t typically like to go with the masses, I chose a unique and beautiful Keshi.
One evening we, along with Ed & Linda, decided to visit the Kia Ora Resort. On Sunday evenings they have a wonderful Polynesian style dance show. We started with sundowners on SV One Fine Day and then headed to the shore to have cocktails on the deck at the resort and watch the sunset. Prior to the main event we were entertained with live Polynesian music at the bar. One of the really neat things about this place is the windows in the floor. They have lights below the deck to attract fish and we were even able to catch a few glimpses of some black tip sharks as they chased the smaller fish.
The sunset was perfect and the drinks…$14 a drink.. $6.50 per beer, were served with beautiful, fragrant flowers as garnish. It was perfect! At 2000 they started the Polynesian dance show by the pool. It was awesome! The dancing and music made you feel like you’ve lived here your whole life. It just crept into your soul and grabbed hold. On the way back down the dock to the dink we saw a couple of large white tip sharks swimming in the lighted water under the bar. THIS is truly a tropical paradise! We concluded the evening with a nightcap aboard One Fine Day. Yep…a pretty nice day.
We woke up to yet another spectacular day. We picked up Ed & Linda around 0900 this morning to go snorkeling at the “aquarium”. That’s what they call this snorkel spot just inside the pass. They have mooring balls there to tie the dink up and there’s not a lot of current. The water is so clear you feel like you’re looking into a pool. Even before we got out of the dink we could see hundreds of fish below us. Oh my gosh! It was everything we’d been told it was. I’ve never seen so many colorful fish. We saw thousands of fish, a couple of moray eels and a few black tip sharks. I got great video on the Go Pro of me chasing a black tip shark through the shallows. What an amazing experience. The tour boats come in every so often to feed the fish and let the tourists swim amongst them. We got to watch this first hand and swim in a ball of thousands of fish. They were surrounding us….too cool!
Before we knew it we’d been here five days. Time sure does fly by out here. And there’s that dang ol’ visa clock still ticking in the background. This is our last atoll in the Tuomotus. Tomorrow it’s off to Papeete, Tahiti. We sure will miss this place but are looking forward to more adventures in paradise.
Until next time,
Jilly & Dan