Quick Fix: 16° 31.45 S / 145° 28.43 W
May
25th 2013 (day 2,185)
Conditions:  Wind: 14/SE     Sky: Clear

Buried Treasure
It may not not be pieces of eight or gold bullion, but during a recent drift dive into Fakarava with friends Chris and Jess on Namaste, I found a gem buried at the bottom of Passe Tumakohua. Like an eye staring up from the depths to watch the silhouettes of sharks circling against light above, just the very top of the orb was visible, and when I brushed away loose coral and sand, expecting to uncover just a shard, I revealed an unbroken sphere of handmade glass. It took our last few pounds of oxygen for Chris and I to excavate the old buoy, but after carefully digging and chipping away dead coral that had grown around its surface, we had freed our prize. I don't know how long it had been buried there and it probably has no real value, but to me, at least, it's treasure. - NH






 

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Day 2,172 - Tahanea (16° 58.11S 144° 35.88W)
17:13 hrs - May 12th 2013
Lagoon Living

We're living off the lagoon, well, to be exact we're living in, on, and around the lagoon, a lagoon that besides its slow and inevitable descent into the sea, is the same today as it was when pioneering sailors from southeast Asia first crossed the Pacific over two thousand years ago, long before any Europeans 'discovered' these islands.

If their double-hulled canoes visited this remote region, they would have found an atoll unchanged from where we're anchored today, one that provides not only temporary respite from the open ocean, a safe haven, but a lagoon teeming with natural resources - an abundance of fish, the ubiquitous coconut palm, lobsters in their thousands marching over the reef, and perhaps even coconut crabs, although I'm not entirely sure how or when they found their way here.

With friends Chris/Jess on Namaste and Carol/Livia on Estrellita we've been modesty enjoying the bounty of lagoon living. We've hunted for lobster at night during low tide, wading just feet away from the drop off on the limestone reef edge, camping out on an island, our hammocks rigged between trees. We've opened coconuts using traditional Polynesian spikes that we carved from iron wood - selecting green nuts to drink, brown nuts to eat, and newly rooted nuts to bake into sweet coconut bread. We're free diving, too, down to depths of over sixty feet now to spear fresh grouper, jack or parrot fish. And, for a special treat, we caught three of the thousands of coconut crabs that roam these uninhabited islands, roasting them over an open fire on an unnamed pink coral-sand beach.

For the three weeks we've been anchored to the same patch of white sand, it feels as though we've had the world to ourselves. Our VHF radios have been silent, the clear night sky is lite only by moon and stars, and we all feel a natural connection to this lagoon, one that is simple, primitive and unforgettable.

 
 

 

 



Quick Fix: 16° 58.09 S / 144° 35.86 W

May 10th 2013 (day 2,170)
Conditions:  Wind: 23/ESE     Sky: Mostly Clear

Rush Hour
Cruisers, by their very nature, usually don't move very fast, we're either waiting for weather, sailing at speeds slower than your average golf cart, or lounging in the shade out of the heat, typically, in Polynesia at least, with a cold Hinano never too far from reach. But recently our quiet, remote and serene corner of Tahanea has been a flurry of activity. You see, the trade winds have been gusting to 25 knots, so for an hour this afternoon snorkels, paddleboards and scuba gear were stowed, replaced with kites, boards and harnesses. With friends from Namaste and Estrellita, we've been carving white wakes across a turquoise lagoon, and skimming over champagne sandbars at twenty knots. The wind's forecast to only last one more day - so I gotta dash. - NH



 



Quick Fix: 16° 58.09 S / 144° 35.86 W

May 4th 2013 (day 2,164)
Conditions:  Wind: 7/E     Sky: Mostly Clear

Swing Room
Back in our days of summer sailing around NY, anchorages could get pretty busy - it wouldn't be uncommon to have a few hundred boats crammed together so close you could literally hear your neighbor snoring. And if the wind strengthened or shifted, which it often did, you would see boats swing, drag and collide in spectacular chaos. On one occasion a five-boat raft up dragged down on us in Port Jefferson, and on another, in Block Island, when the wind built to over twenty knots, we counted no less than five yachts dragging through the anchorage. But we're in Tahanea now and we're sharing the entire lagoon with just two other boats. The wind's forcast to build, but as we're spaced almost a mile apart, there's more than enough room to go around. - NH