After a amazing time in Fakarava, we had to make headway as we needed to make it back to Tahiti to meet some new crew members, but not before visiting a couple more atolls in the Tuamotus.
Leaving the fast-flowing southern pass at 1am, fortunately under a full moon, was interesting to stay the least. With only a small gap for such a large boat, it was crucial we made the most of the spring tide. The next atoll was only an 8 hour sail away, known for being totally un-inhabited and for fevers of Manta Rays.
After dropping anchor inside the lagoon, we whiled away the rest of Sunday lounging in the sun to catch up on missed sleep – my favourite little spot on the boat is in the cradle of the mizzen boom – the perfect hideaway for doing so reading or having a nap. Early on the Monday morning we spotted the elusive rays swimming into the pass – we threw on snorkels and jumped in the water, only just quick enough to see them swim off.
The reef here was spectacular, probably more un-touched than the reefs in Fakarava. On the Tuesday morning we were treated by a pod of Dolphins swimming up to us in the shallows, before swimming over the ridge to play in the deeper water. We also saw some larger white – tipped reef sharks and an abundance of other marine life. However on the Tuesday afternoon a tropical storm hit, which was a case of battening down the hatched and spending the afternoon watching movies (singing in the rain, was obviously one of them). Being from the UK the intense tropical heat really took some adjusting too, so it was fairly refreshing to cool off in the rain.
On the Wednesday we carried on to the final atoll we planned on visiting in the Tuamotus, Raganroa. This was also a short but sweet stay after about 24hours hours of sailing, As we entered the pass a pod of Dolphins joined infinity, but sadly I was asleep from the night sail – this was shortly followed by a hammock falling incident (as a sailor I really should have checked the ropes!) which left me with a pretty bruised back. After a few days of relaxing we ventured into the small town and to explore the island – sadly most of it was closed except a bar, but an ice cold drink went down very well.
In the town all the houses were painted in bold, fun colours with beautiful shell artworks and monuments – it was also great to find some Wifi again after so long, hearing from the family and that I had a ticket booked to New Zealand, to continue my travels. After some more snorkeling and learning the basics of free diving from another crew member, the easterly winds were blowing in strong, so we set sail to our final destination, Tahiti