Adventures of Maia | Blog
An adventure, sailing and cruising throughout the world with Laura, Dick and Ellie.
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As more high winds were forecasted, we decided to move to a possibly more secure anchorage. We snaked our way down the channel inside the reef. It became super narrow at one point, a fun challenge aboard Maia. We have one of us as a lookout on the bow, while the other is navigating through the waters. On one side of the channel there is the lush green island, towering with tall spires, indented with small bays, a resort with grass huts hanging out over the water and on the other side is the beautiful reef, with crashing surf and picturesque turquoise water. Quite a beautiful site.

We have been enjoying our cruising lifestyle. Today, however, it feels like we have finally arrived at a place where I could get super comfortable. We are currently in Avea baie on Huahine. It is a beautiful open bay with a large crescent white sandy beach along the shore side and with a big reef, ocean side with amazing blue and turquoise water in between. There is lush green tropical forest towering above the bay. We have around 10 boats anchored in the baie. It is 40 feet deep throughout the bay, with deep coral sand and great holding.

This morning the wind was fairly calm, we saw the sun for a bit and I was finally feeling good enough to go out in public (I caught a nasty cold). We dingyed to the Hotel le Mahana dingy dock and took a walk to check out the neighborhood. Within the first five minutes of the walk a beautiful rainbow appeared. There is a nice paved road with a flat grassy area on one side to walk along. We had a mixture of drizzle and clearing, we wore out raincoats for the first time in a long time. (Have I mentioned the weather has changed?)

We arrived at marae Anini and walked down a short road to the historic religious site. It is located on the water next to a white sand beach and we had a nice time enjoying the beautiful site. As we walked back we noticed many beautiful plants and flowers, along with birds and even a dragonfly.

Once back at Hotel le Mahana we sat down for coffee, tea and an Internet session (still slooow) waiting for the restaurant to open for lunch. After 10 weeks in French Polynesia, imagine my surprise when we looked at a menu and it has Gluten Free options! We each had a fully enjoyable meal: grilled fish on a bed of veggie curry with rice and a lovely salad; CHEESEburger, lettuce, tomatoes with crunchy french fries and a salad! We are two happy campers. It is looking like we will have to go back to the le Mahana restaurant as they offer a gluten free chocolate dessert!

We are in Huahine and we got hit with a storm today, winds up to 30 knots and major rain. Looks like winds will stay till mid-week. Huahine is lovely! This week there are lots of events with Bastille day coming up on Saturday. We are anchored in the Surfers anchorage, on a shelf in between the two entrances, passe Avamoe and passe Avapehi, near Fare. It has been a great spot to view the outrigger canoe races.

We have been here long enough to see boats from all over the world, some stayed for a bit then moved on, others have been here longer than we. It is mostly sailboats, but we have seen some super yachts and one of the National Geographic boats, “Orion”. It has been interesting to watch the ebb and flow. When we arrived both anchorages (town and surfers) were busy, not so easy to find a spot. Then over the weekend both anchorages seemed to clear out, especially the town anchorage. There were only 3 or 4 boats, when there had been 20 or so!

In Huahine’s main town of Fare there is a BIG Super U grocery store with just about anything you may want. (Groceries, office supplies, household items… We found a dish draining rack that fits perfectly!) Outside of the store there are also local vendors with fresh produce! There is a dingy dock at the Yacht Club, which has a restaurant (plus internet and showers, we have heard). It is a very short walk to the grocery store, the most convenient one we have found in French Polynesia.

There are also touristy shops, a hardware store and several restaurants. One is Izzy’s who has burgers: Cheese, bacon, veggie… We’ve heard the proprietor is from Orange County, California. We hope to stop in before we leave.

We are currently in Cooks Bay in Moorea, beginning our Leeward Islands tour. We left Papeete heading for Huahine, however as sailed a little bit away from Papeete the swell increased to 10 feet, a little over our (my) comfort zone. As it is an overnight to Huahine we thought it best to pull over in Moorea and wait a couple days for the swell to die down. (Plus Dick had a cold, so he could take a couple days to feel better.)

We decided to check out Vaiare, the eastern pass (where the ferries land). This turned out to be very exciting. Imagine heading into a pass that is less than a tenth of a mile wide, with coral and breaking surf on either side and threatening waves behind. Well, we made it and decided not to stay because the high winds that were blowing through the anchorage. (We heard it can be great in more settled conditions.)

We headed to Cooks Bay and as we started to enter the pass were contacted by the French Navy. They too were heading into the pass and we had to maintain a greater than 100 yard space from them. As we were ahead of them we continued to our pass entrance, and gunned it to keep the required distance. (Excuse the gun pun 😉 )

Moorea is stunningly beautiful. You have amazing views of the surrounding jagged peaks, especially with the boat is spinning around at anchor. We noticed that some of the massive peaks have holes, like windows in them! (Geologist friends, why is that so?)

The Aimeo hotel is located near the inside anchorage, on the west shore. They hosted the Sailing Rendezvous festivities. The hotel is boater friendly, has a dingy dock, Ponton bar & restaurant and offer internet. There is a car and scooter rental directly across the street. A big grocery store “Super U” is located at the end of the bay along with a Snack place that has a dingy dock.

On our first visit here, we enjoyed snorkeling inside the reef entrance of Cooks bay (near the PaoPao anchorage). We also rented a car to tour the island. We drove up to the Belvedere view point and looked out at the magnificent scenery, including Mt. Rotui, Cooks, and Opunohu Bay. We also took a little hike on one of the many hiking and biking trails in the Opunohu valley.

We have about 3 weeks left on our French Polynesian visas and are looking forward to seeing the rest of French Polynesia. We spent around a month in Tahiti and Moorea. It’s been fun catching up with lots of Puerto Vallarta’s Banderas Bay boats; Cool Change, Sea Casa, Harlequin, Nightide, Boo’s Blue 2, Patience, After Math, Anna, Muskoka, SuAn, Cedna, Summer, One Fine Day.

Manuia! (cheers!)

The Marinas in Papeete are busy now. Papeete Marina does not take reservations. However, the two times we have arrived, we have found a dock space, by just motoring up. They have a crescent shaped dock out front that you can temporarily tie to, if no slips are available.

Papeete marina is located across a busy street with tons of stores and restaurants on the other side. The big open air marketplace building with veggies, crafts, local foods is also nearby. (It has a great farmers market early on Sunday mornings, located outside the marketplace, on the far side from the marina.) There are a couple good supermarkets within walking distance. A Champion grocery store is about a 15 minute walk (good produce selection, we even found organic apples, very crunchy and yummy!). There is also a Carefour about an 1/2 hour walk or you can arrange a free taxi at visitors center (near the ferry landing). The Carefour markets are like a super-grocery store, with food, household, sporting goods….

There is an awesome waterfront park on one side of Marina Papeete and on the other side towards the ferry landing, about 10 food trucks set up for dinner. There are also lots of different marine, electronic and other stores within walking distance. Dick and others really like the Ocean 2000 marine store.

The marina has good internet for laptops in the lounge area. We were able do do basic internet tasks such as email and search the web. Ipad & Iphones auto-disconnect in a couple minutes (supposedly they are working on this). As a go around we discovered that you can hot spot your laptop and connect your I-devices. We also bought a vini spot card and we had good internet sitting on the boat in the marina.

We discovered an IridiumGo connectivity issue on the inside slips in Papeete marina. Another couple sailboats had a similar issue. When we were connected to our external antenna we did not have a signal. However, when we disconnected from antenna and set the IridiumGo up on deck, we had a connection and were able to send emails and SMS messages. Now that we are away from the marina, everything is working well.

We’ve heard good things about Marina Taina, (reservations may be possible). It’s a big marina, with super yachts on the dock. The internet is rumored to be pretty good. It has a excellent chandlery and a marine retail store on the property. There is also an anchorage outside the marina, and a dingy dock! Supposedly the biggest grocery store, another Carefour is nearby.

2018 rates at marina Papeete for a 14 M boat: high season (Apr 1-Oct 31); less than 6 night stay, 5012 XPF per night; one week stay (7 nights), 27337 per week, all additional nights after 1 week, 4556 per night; for one month (4 weeks), 109348 per month.

Low season (Nov 1 to Mar 31); less than 6 night stay, 1993 XPF per night; one week stay (7 nights), 11390 per week, all additional nights after 1 week, 1898 per night; for one month (4 weeks), 45562 per month. Water and electricity is separate, but rates super reasonable. We heard that it is not a safe marina for cyclone season.

We have been super busy with sisters Wig, Maude and brother-in-law Johns visit. They arrived on June 16 and brought us lots of supplies! We are finding it works well for our visitors to bring us things from the states. We made a list, shopped online, along with ordering a few boat supplies from vendors, and had them shipped to Maude & John. When YOU come to visit, we hope you will bring some needed goodies also 🙂

Maude, John, Wig rented a car at the airport which enabled us to explore the whole island of Tahiti. We spent one day driving around Tahiti nui and Tahiti iti. Dick had been interested in going to the Musee Gauguin, when we arrived it was closed for construction (with 4 people guarding the gate?). However, next door we were able to explore a beautiful botanical garden, created in 1919 by an American adventurer and ecologist, Harrison Smith. As we started to walk the grounds we felt a little sprinkle. We continued our tour and before we knew it, it was pouring! We were able to duck under some big trees to stay a little dryer. We found a pond with awesome lilies and lily pads.

The rain continued on our drive down to Teahupoo (world famous surf spot, unfortunately the surf was not happening) and on up the east coast of Tahiti nui. We turned off at a waterfall sign (Les troiscascades de faarumai). They had created a beautiful little park with a bridge heading up the trail. The waterfall was amazing with all the day’s rain and the wind generated by the falling water whipped it all about. It was dramatic and exciting.

We climbed back into the car and continued our drive up the east coast and we came upon a popular surf spot “Papenoo” with about 50 surfers out in the water enjoying the North swell. We took a short stop and continued on to Point Venus, that has history with Captain Cook and also houses Tahiti’s only lighthouse. The rain had stopped and we were able to enjoy this beautiful park, and see a marvelous Tahitian sunset with Moorea in the distance.

One afternoon we went to a great beach, “Plage publique Vaiava” with awesome snorkeling (located at Kilometer marker “PK 18″). From the beach the shallow reef stretches quite a ways out to the surf line and deep water. As you swim through the shallow reef, imagine small canyons between the coral, that you meander your way through. We enjoyed it so much we went back another day.

One day we decided to venture into the middle of Tahiti. We drove along a dirt road with puddles and more puddles and more puddles. We weren’t quite sure if we were doing the right thing, when we saw a small sedan going the other way. (We were in a SUV type vehicle.) As we made our way up the road we turned around a corner and saw some road workers who were in the middle of the road. They directed us up over a single lane bridge and below we saw a river running over the road with painted pillars that indicate water depth and when it is unsafe to cross.

We were driving thru beautiful green terrain, trees, shrubs, flowers all around. High mountain peaks above all covered in vegetation. The road signs were unreadable, as they were covered in lichen. We eventually made made our way up a hill and at the top we could see a dam with an elaborate debris clearing mechanism. Next to it was another crossing with the painted pillars and the road disappeared. We stopped the car and walked down to where the river was running over the road, we found a sign that informed us that they were letting out water for 10 days. The road ahead had turned into a spillway and was covered in about 18” of water. The amazing thing was we saw a small truck drive right across it!

As we loaded back into the vehicle we pulled over to adjust something and looked to our right and found a Marae (ancient religious site). So exciting, as we were not expecting it. It had several levels and as we climbed up into it, we started being attacked by mosquitos and more mosquitos. Once we piled back in the car we had a mosquito killing session (as they had followed us). When we got back to the main road we realized our journey had not really taken us very far at all, but it was fun exploring.

We are currently in Moorea, we cruised/ raced over from Tahiti to Moorea on Saturday with about 40 other boats (Tahiti-Moorea Rendezvous for Pacific Puddle jumpers). They offered some Tahitian meals and we were able to enjoy 3 different shows with native dancing, drumming, and singing. Yesterday, they had outrigger canoe races. We participated and got 2nd in our heat so we got to paddle in a second race. It was fun for all of us to see and learn more about the culture. We will head back to Papeete on Wednesday to drop of our visitors. Dick and I will probably stay a few days and then head off to see the remainder of French Polynesia, including Bora Bora.

Wow, we have been at Marina de Papeete for a week! Adjusting to dock and city life, checking out our neighborhood, seeing what is around and what and where we can re-stock our supplies.

We have had quite a few neighbors, most have been European. From Norway, Finland, France…  It’s been fun to see some familiar faces from Puerto Vallarta and meet others who are on a similar journey as ours. Papeete seems to be a cross roads; cruisers are either staying around the South Pacific Islands for a year or two, heading to New Zealand or Australia or a few are heading to Hawaii and back to the USA! We have gotten to know a few of our new neighbors, last night we went to see Solo (Star Wars) at the local theater that offers english speaking movies on Thursday nights. (French and Tahitian are the major languages spoken here.) We had dinner at the waterfront plaza that fills with food trucks after dusk. Yummy thai for me, and rib-eye and fries for Dick.

We have been working on a few boat projects and spending too much time trying to get communications to work properly. Our IridiumGo satellite device is having problems connecting and we purchased an internet card that works well most of the time. We spent a day on Amazon purchasing products that will be delivered to us by Dick’s sisters who are coming to visit, so we can check a lot of items off the list.

The coolest thing here in Papeete so far was the visit from a big Sea Turtle. Accompanied by several attendant fish, we had quite a group on the dock watching. And, it being Hannah’s last night in the South Pacific, we were thinking it was a nice going away present.

 

If you read the last blog post you might be familiar with the importance of entering Atolls at slack tide. Since our Tide Calculator worked well for Manihi, we assumed it would work well for Rangiroa. As we were nearing the entrance we heard Agnes from Ti Sento on the radio, we contacted them. They had looked at the tide table at the local dive shop and it said high tide was 30 minutes later than our information, so slack would be 1 hour later. We decided to enter anyway, and had 3 knots of current and some waves in the channel, it made for a little excitement. All was good, we made it just fine.

Rangiroa is the second biggest Atoll in the world. The Tiputa entrance was much bigger than Manihi, it even has range markers. These are markers that the skipper lines up the vessel, to get the correct boat location as you travel through the channel.

The most recommended anchorage is on the right of the entrance (in front of the Kia Ora hotel). We maneuvered our way through the 20 or so boats to find a good spot for Maia. We ended up at the back of the pack which was just perfect with our anchor and chain draped across the sand.

After our overnight sail to get to Rangiroa, we took a little time to energize before getting the dingy into the water and going to shore to check out things. Late afternoon we headed in and found things to be fairly quiet, as it was a Sunday afternoon. There was a Magazin (little market) open, so we were able to pick up a few things. We walked down to the pass entrance and viewed it at a less favorable entrance and exit time. There were lots of waves and you could see the water speeding through the pass. We dingyed by Ti Sento on our way back to Maia and our new friends invited up for a drink and they filled us in on the area.

Monday, Hannah went on a scuba dive with a Dive shop. Dick and I brought the bikes in and went on an Atoll tour. We road about 6 miles to Avatoru, the village at the other end of the motu (islet). We stopped at Gaugins pearl shop, to check out the local selection of pearls. This area is well known for its black pearl farming. In Avatoru we stopped at M & M restaurant for lunch. They served huge meals. Dick had a chicken sandwich that was on a 12 inch bagette and a “small” fries that was a huge pile on a dinner size plate. I had a large portion of tuna accompanied by about 2 cups of rice! Lunch was good, I had some leftover tuna to feed to a local mama dog that stopped by for a visit.

After lunch we checked out the little harbor and rode around and found a good vantage point for scouting this smaller pass. It had dense standing waves on the inside of the pass and we saw a sailboat that was shipwrecked on the shore across the channel. Yikes! On our way back we found a “Fare House”, a nice size grocery store with a good hardware section in the back. We also stopped at a local boutique, where “Madam” Laura found a dress. (The shop keeper kept calling me Madam. :).

Once we got back to Tiputa, we stopped at the magazin and were so excited to see a flat of lovely looking brown eggs! We decided to stop back the next morning for a fresh baguette and eggs. We ran into Hannah here, which was perfect timing.  After her “dive” she had found the “Pearl Lady”, (Kookoo Pareo Artisanat) that a friend had told her about and she had done some shopping and got some amazing deals on some pearl necklaces and bracelets.

Our last full day in Tiputa we stopped on shore and got the local tide times, and did our pass “scout” (it is so reminiscent of the old days of river running, scouting the rapids!) We found out our tide calculator was an hour off! We decided to use local tide times to head out during slack, (high tide plus 30 minutes)!

We also went snorkeling at the “Aquarium”. An amazing reef at Motu Fara, on the inside of the pass with mooring balls to tie up the dinghy. It was really awesome, we saw a variety of fish, the biggest being a black tipped reef shark. The coral was beautiful also. So fun to swim around in the underwater beauty.

On Wednesday, we were so surprised to see 2 Cruise ships enter into the Atoll. (Now, the range markers and the aquarium mooring balls make sense.) We were glad we were stowing for sea and getting on our way. When we passed by the “Aquarium”, it was crazy busy. (Yesterday, the three of us had it on our own for a while.)

Things are bitter-sweet aboard Maia. Our time with Hannah is coming to an end. We are on a two-night passage. We’ve had good wind to start (10 to 15 knots) with fairly mellow seas. Currently, it is light winds (5 – 7 knots) which works well as we are laying in wait for daylight, 35 miles from Papeete, Tahiti! We will be making landfall tomorrow. Excited to be heading into a marina and to be staying on a dock for a bit, checking out the big city of Papeete and possibly being able to wash clothes in a washing machine!  Oh yea, we expect better internet also.

Sad for this part of the trip to be ending. Hannah flies out to her home in Vancouver, BC in a couple days. It has been really nice to have her aboard for our passage and adventures for the last 2.5 months. We will miss her.

We are finally feeling revived after the big ocean crossing from Mexico! After 3 weeks in the Marquesas we had a four day/night sail to Manihi in the Tuamotu archipelago. We were able to sail the whole trip as we had 10 – 20 knot winds, with rocky and rolly seas, threatening clouds, but no real rain. (It appears we are getting more used to the rocking and rolling, as we complained less and seemed to be able to accomplish a few more tasks.)

We enjoyed three CALM days and nights moored in Manihi. An “Atoll” is a coral island consisting of a reef surrounding a lagoon. It is super beautiful here, bright blue, green and turquoise water, with lots of coral, white sandy looking coral beaches. Palm trees are the tallest things on the island. There are “passes” to get in and out, so you have to pay attention to the tides and plan to enter and exit during “slack” (when there is the least amount of water flowing). These passes from the open ocean into the shallow lagoons can flow like a river and test class II whitewater skills in our 40′ boat we call home!

Figuring out when slack is, took a little effort. Our chart plotters only show tides for an island nearby. We graciously received a tide calculator from the cruising community. This told us the best time to enter was 10:20. However, we had also received an email address for a local on Manihi, so decided to contact him. The times  he gave us was one hour later.  We decided to go with the local knowledge.  However, we arrived about an hour early and the pass looked calm, but we were waiting for “slack”. As we sat outside the entrance we noticed things looked like they were picking up, so we headed in about 10 minutes before the local knowledge slack time. We found the current running about 2-3 knots slowing us down, we did ok, but realized that our tide calculator might have had the correct time. On our second day in Manihi we “scouted” the pass at slack (according to our tide calculator) and found that we did have the correct time. Hooray! Now we know when a good time to leave will be. Running whitewater in Maia can be avoided if our timing is right!

On our way towards the anchorage we received a call on the radio from a boat that was already moored. They filled us in and said that the mooring balls were secure and recommended we attach to one of them. As we got closer they offered to help us out. They jumped into their dingy and threaded our line through the mooring ball. It was wonderful to meet Agnes and Boss, from Ti Sento. They filled us in on the other island information. The cruising community is really amazing.  What was also awesome was that there were only 3 cruising boats at Manihi. It is always nice to get away from the crowds.

Manihi has a lovely little village with two small stores (“Magazin”), a couple snack bars, one with a bakery, and a post office. Yesterday, Hannah and I went in to try to use Internet. The mayors office gave us the password to the villages internet. Very generous!

As we struggled for online access, we were visited by three young girls (8 & 10). Luckily, Hannah speaks French so she was able to converse with them. They were cute and silly and asked lots of questions. They would look over our shoulders to see what we were doing with our devices. I ended up showing them some of my pictures and video, they really liked the dolphins!

We had a wonderful time snorkeling along a reef near Maia this morning. We saw dozens of different kinds of fish. A black tipped reef shark got within 5 feet of Dick! Once they saw him they turned quickly away. Hannah saw three octopuses yesterday. It appeared one was protecting another or its territory.  She saw two and their color was blending into the coral. They swam and sat next to each other and touched tentacles. As a third came near the sparks flew and one of them spread itself out over the top of the other and snapped out it’s tentacles and turned colors. She saw white, red and purple!

We left this afternoon on an overnight trip to Rangiroa, another atoll in the Tuomotus. It is a beautiful calm night with an almost full moon. The swell has been mellow at 1-2 feet, although it has recently increased. The wind is behind us and has remained below 10 knots so our speed would be around 3-4 knots with a lot of flapping sails so… motor on! And, our batteries need the recharge. It seems really strange to not be sailing. This is the only leg of our South Pacific journey that we have moto-sailed extensively.

Looking forward to exploring Rangiroa!

We arrived in Baie de Taiohae on Tuesday afternoon after sailing from Anaho bay. We had a slow start as we took time to make water (partially fill up our water tanks) for an hour or so. We also had a short morning dingy ride to take a close look at the reefs and coral before loading up the dingy. It generally takes us an hour or two to get the boat ready to sail. Engine check, deck check, stow for sea… We have a check list that helps us prepare Maia for departure that we keep updating since sailing in Canada!

The town of Taiohae surrounds the bay and heads up into the beautiful hillside. It is a lovely big bay with plenty of room for anchoring. (So different from Tahauka harbor and Atuona on Hiva Oa.) It is open to the swell and can be rocky and rolly (are you seeing a theme here?).

An open air fruit and vegetable market is next to the harbor as well as a few restaurants, Kevin’s place (a yacht services business), a local craft market and visitors bureau.

The bay has a waterfront promenade with grass and trees. A close walk from the harbor is a bank, post office, a couple restaurants, 3 food stores. Up into town is a hardware store and larger food market. There is also a hospital, the only one in the Marquesas. There are several hotels and bed and breakfasts in town.

We decided to arrive on Tuesday as we were told Wednesday and Saturday was the big veggie market. As things get going early here we headed in around 7:00 on Wednesday morning. We were thrilled with the produce selection! Fresh lettuce, tomatoes, bok choy, green cabbage, green beans… bananas, watermelon, mangoes. We stocked up and then had breakfast at the nearby restaurant, tried to use internet (slooow). Hannah stayed with the produce while Dick and I took a walk and explored the markets and picked up a few more goodies. We had heard you could order eggs and tried to get on the list. Unfortunately, they appeared to be sold out, however our quest for eggs was satisfied by our friends Rick and Cindy on sv Cool Change. They had figured out how to get on a ‘egg list’!

We also enjoyed an evening out with Cool Change, having dinner at Moana Nui and went on a fabulous day tour of the East side of the island (the more luxurious part). Richard from Temarama Tour was our excellent tour guide and filled us in on island history, flora, fauna….. The scenery was stunning, the roads steep, windy and in good shape. It was great to see places that we did not get to on Maia. One of the highlights was the Ancient Ceremonial sites, Tohua Hikokua and Kamuihei Ceremonial Center. Richard explained some of the fascinating history as we walked though the sites. There were also several Petroglyphs we got to see.

The best internet was at Kevin’s place when there was just two of us connected to the web. Once others logged on things sloooowed down. It was nice to finally be able to access the internet and make a post to facebook. Still not able to post pictures. The good news is that we were able to connect to a couple sites that we had not gotten into before. In about two weeks we will be in Papeete, Tahiti and should have better access there. Of course we expect to be super busy with boat projects and getting things ready for a visit from sister’s Wig, Mary Maude and brother-in-law John. When does the vacation begin?

Happy Birthday Trevor! It is hard to believe 28 years ago Trevor was born and now Dick and I sailed to the Marquesas, never did imagine this amazing journey.

Our overnight sail from Hiva Oa to Anaho bay on Nuka Hiva was uneventful. We must be getting used to the rocky-rolly seas! Winds were 15-20 and on the beam. When we arrived Saturday afternoon, there were 5 other boats in the small anchorage tucked around a little point. Towering above us are tall mountains, soaring cliffs, and red rock mostly covered in greenery. There is a beautiful sand beach that surrounds 3/4 of the bay that is accessible through a little pass in a coral reef protecting the beach. A few structures on shore, a horseman, some copra work. The anchorage is calm!

Sunday morning I slept in as it is Mother’s Day. Dick made me a nice pancake and egg breakfast. (I love the way he spoils me on Mother’s day!) We have a nice relaxing day, spending some time studying for our next big destination, the Tuomotos.

Monday we had a planning session to decide on where we will go in the Tuomotos. This area is much different from where we are now. It is atolls, small low islands surrounded by coral. The Palm trees are the tallest things on the islands. You enter into the area in an opening in the reef where the water rushes in and out with the tides, so planning is of the utmost importance. Snorkeling is supposed to be excellent.

Later that afternoon we went for a walk on the beach. We negotiated the little pass in the reef and stepped ashore. We saw a (cute!) black tipped reef shark in the shallows and a large sting ray in the shallow water right near our feet!!