October 26th 2011 (day 1,609)
Quick Fix: 16° 26.8 S / 145° 21.9 W

Conditions:  Wind: 20/ESE     Sky: M. Clear
                    Boat SPD: 0.0 Kts  (anchored)

Doing Nothing
Doing nothing has a bad rap. To some it's considered lazy, to other it's boring. But for us, doing nothing is one of the highlights of cruising.

Sure, we like adventure, we like to explore, to seek new experiences, to hike, socialize and scuba, but at times our most favorite pursuit is doing nothing at all. Like now; we're anchored alone in an empty lagoon spending our days taking lazy walks on a warm beach, napping with an open book, and soaking in our surroundings - because let's face it, when they look this good, doing anything else would almost be a pointless distraction. - NH





   
 


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Day 1,597 - Fakarava, Tuamotus (16° 03S 145° 37W)
19:08hrs - October 14th 2011
Myth Busted!

Our supply of potentially dangerous cargo (at least to those of a superstitious nature) is dwindling, and as the last ten days, since we set sail from Tahiti with 50 lbs of bananas swinging from our wind generator, have been without incident, I think it's reasonably safe to assume that bananas don't present a risk to mariners. (Fishermen, however, may want to note that we did not catch
a single fish on our passage. But then again, as that's not particularly unusual on Dream Time, no concrete conclusions can be drawn either way.)

We've spent the last eight days anchored in the Tuamotus' second largest atoll, Fakarava - an impressive ring of coral measuring over thirty miles long and fifteen miles wide. The barrier of reef and sandy islands (motus) around its perimeter shelter the shallow lagoon from the prevailing east-southeast tradewinds which have been blowing steadily since we arrived. The anchorage is flat calm, and when compared to our 2009 visit during the height of the cruising season in these parts, is practically empty - most cruisers are well on their way to New Zealand or Australia by now, and only a few 'local cruisers' (French yachts) remain.

Unlike our previous visit, which felt transitory and a little rushed (we only spent four months in French Polynesia in 2009), we're settling in for a long haul this time around. Our European passports allow Catherine and I to stay indefinitely, and Dream Time is granted a generous two-year tax free visitation. If she stays longer we'll have to pay import fees, which I believe is somewhere in the region of 20% of her market value.

I've already gone on two drift dives through Fakarava's famous passe,
Te Ava Nui, gliding sixty feet below the surface, over and through colorful coral canyons, being swept along silently by three knots of current around and amongst more reef fish and sharks than you could possibly count - an experience that feels more like flying than diving.

But our stay here will not be all fun and play. I've begun taking daily French lessons and hope that, at least by the end of our two-year visit, I'll be able to say something other than, 'Je suis désolé. Je ne parle pas français. Comprenez-vous anglais?'

A bientôt!

Dream Time: Removed & rebedded life raft cradle. Installed new mounting bolts, nuts & washers for head. Serviced all cockpit and mast winches. Changed outboard and generator oil.

 
 


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Day 1,592 - Fakarava, Tuamotus (16° 03S 145° 37W)
10:43hrs - October 9th 2011
Second Time Lucky

This is our second visit to Fakarava. We were here for a little over a week in June 2009, when we were
on the kind of schedule that allowed only a brief stop on a speedy Pacific crossing that ended in New Zealand, and cyclone shelter if reached by November.  Back then it felt rushed, and we left wishing for more, so this time, as we are heading in entirely the opposite direction, we have the luxury of a whole month to really enjoy everything this coral atoll has to offer.

We have been here 2 days and while it looks the same, it's just a little different.  Some of the people we met before have gone. A building that was just breaking ground when we left in 2009 is now a rather good boulangerie with a New Zealand owner. And the small but well attended and deliciously good sandwich van that used to be parked on the side of the road on the edge of town, has turned into a great little outside restaurant, but with the original sandwich van still attached! So it’s all different, but the same in the way that makes it just as lovely.

The colors are still spectacular and the Frenchness is still enchanting, and Neville will I’m sure discover tomorrow when he goes on his long anticipated drift dive through the pass Te Ava Nui, that the sea life is as exciting as it was when he last saw it.

 



October 3rd 2011 (day 1,586)
Quick Fix: 17° 35.12 S / 149° 36.95 W

Conditions:  Wind: 6/E     Sky: Overcast
                    Boat SPD: 0.0 Kts  (anchored)

Bananas on a Bus
Leaving Tahiti tomorrow, sailing over to the Tuamotus, a banana-barren region, where all they seem to harvest are coconuts and black pearls. So we took a bus ride into Papeete to stock-up on essential supplies, including enough bananas to corner the market.

Some claim they're bad luck to have onboard - something about the yellow fruit harboring poisonous spiders, discharging methane gas, or repelling fish. Or, as they believed in the 1700's, during the height of Spain's banana export business, that they sunk ships. We're going to split these myths apart! Stay tuned. - NH