_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Marcy home Walvis Bay Angling Club club AFASyn Ushuaia Marcy and crew

Friday, May 25, 2007

This is it! Fakarava 5/25 3:15P 16deg30'S, 145deg27'W (Ginger)

We're here! We left our anchorage at Makemo with every intention of heading to the pass at the west end and staying for a couple of days. We were anchored in 50' of water with big nasty coral heads everywhere. There were also reefs and shallow spots right where the designated anchorage was to be. We put down the hook, this involved a not so successful foray in the dinghy with radio communication that should have just been shouted rather than the captain having to go below at a critical moment
to converse. There was a close call with a coral head (the little paint scrape is on the keel to prove it) and much sweating from the Marcy crew. Once we got the anchor set it was immediately tangled on the coral making us nervous that we might have to swim to free it. OK, we were willing to wait that out but then the flies came! They came in hoards. Hopefully it's not a comment on our housekeeping. We swatted flies for a couple of hours as we got the boat really ready to go to sea and then
headed out the pass. It was great to be back at sea. We had an exciting pass exit with some current and heading into the sun (which obscures the view of the reefs and the bottom) but uneventful and smooth. Our passage was to be to Tahanea but we decided to head to Fakarava as we're low on fuel, propane, fresh food and ready for a more urban experience. Not that this will be urban but Tahanea is reported to be uninhabited and definitely has no services. Here, at Fakarava, we could catch a ride
to town for fuel or supplies if necessary. Anyway, we had a slow overnight passage to Fakarava but managed to eek out about 3 knots most of the way. We arrived just in time for slack tide to enter pass Tumakohua at the SW end. The swell was huge yesterday so it was exciting with 2 - 2.5 meter swells but completely uneventful. We're grateful for the two cruising guides on board because they assured us that though the pass looked shallow it was deep enough. The water is incredibly clear here and
so far it's living up to it's reputation as a fantastic snorkel site. We could see our anchor an hour AFTER sun set last night and the moon shadow of our boat on the bottom was impressive.
We went ashore this morning to see the old town of Tetamanu. This was at one time the capital for the entire Tumatou island group and though only about 10 people live here now there are lots of old buildings and two perfectly straight coral roads leading across the small motu. We met a man named Raymond who lives here and helps run a pension. He told us which fish are OK to eat here and then he gave us a bag of fish. The only problem with his generosity is that Peter won't be able to take advantage
of the knowledge and catch dinner until we eat what we've been given. We came back to the boat to cook fish for lunch. It's easiest to clean fish into the sink which drains directly overboard and the sharks were all whipped into a feeding frenzy by the time the fish were cleaned. We tossed the heads and guts in and 6 black tipped sharks came for the snacks. The largest ones were at least 6 feet long. Definitely the biggest sharks we've ever seen under our boat. Needless to say we aren't swimming
from the boat this afternoon.
Peter did invent a way to keep the sharksuckers (Remoras) away when swimming. As one gets into the water they approach ready to go for a swim. We've heard they don't try to attach to people but the one that brushed by stomach made me think it had other plans. Anyway, if you grab their tail they swim away and don't come back. So, Peter grabs their tail to get rid of them and I stick with Peter! We found out the other day that poking at them with a stick just gets them excited and they come back
for more.
We plan a drift dive through the pass tomorrow morning. We'll take the dinghy into town and then snorkel with the dinghy in tow as the current flows in and carries us back to our boat. We've heard some very large fish hang out by town and are used to being visited by swimmers. What we could see from the dinghy has us excited for tomorrow.



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