la Orana et bonjour Boatbloggers®,
And welcome back to another action packed edition of The Boatblog®, this time being sent to you direct from Fakarava (be careful how you say that) in The Tuamotus, a series of atolls in the heart of the South Pacific. This is of course where Rogers & Hammerstein’s great musical was set, and as a tribute we will be gratuitously shoehorning in as many song titles from the show in this blog as we dare. Dites moi how many you can find. (See what we did there?) Answers at the end…no cheating!
All in all we spent nearly two months in Tahiti, as travel between the islands was banned because of Covid 19. But on the island itself most restrictions were lifted, so there was plenty to do. We went to an evening of traditional dancing…
Our night at The Belvedere Restaurant up in the hills turned out to be some enchanted evening…
Even the view from the loo was pretty spectacular.
We found time to go surfing. We’ve never done it before, but Lyn is quite a cock eyed optimist…
so we jumped straight in. It’s harder than it looks.
But lots of fun.
There is nothing you can name, that is anything like a dame – or better still, four dames surfing.
They look like they’ve been washing men right out of their hair all morning. (OK – stick with it, that was a difficult one.)
Finally the restrictions on travel between the islands were lifted, and most boats left Tahiti straight away to go exploring. It’s amazing to think that French Polynesia actually covers an area bigger than Europe, so there’s quite a lot to explore. Unfortunately we still had some engine trouble, so we had to wait to get that fixed before we could set off.
Quite a big job, but soon it was back in and working, and we were ready to set sail. First stop Moorea.
This is where they filmed South Pacific.
And this is Bali H’ai.
We climbed up the hill, and we think you’ll agree it’s a fabulous sight.
And the scenery’s not bad either (Boom! Tish!)
After only a few days we saw a weather window that could get us east towards the Tuamotus, so we set of for Fakarava – about two days sail away.
It’s a beautiful atoll, and in normal times can get quite crowded with tourists, but we pretty much had the place to ourselves. Where better to relax with a bloody Mary or two after a hard day eating?
Or enjoy some happy talk on the beach with our friends from the World ARC.
Or as we now call ourselves since the ARC was cancelled, Sailors of the Lost ARC.
It was a bit disconcerting when we arrived to hear about the storm which hit the atoll a few days before we arrived. Lots of boats were damaged – some more than others. This nearly was mine, but we were lucky. If we’d arrived only two days earlier…
But the main reason to come to Fakarava is the diving, and in particular the “wall of sharks.”
We are told that sharks don’t eat divers because they don’t like the taste. Apparently we have too much iron in our blood, so if you ever decide to do this, eat lots of spinach before you go.
The water is gin clear.
And there are more sharks than a lawyers’ convention.
Ju then made tiny error of judgement. He agreed to go on a night dive, while the sharks are out feeding. Quite what made him sign up for this, he is still not sure. It was like being in a shoal of fish except it wasn’t fish – it was sharks. Black tip sharks and white tip sharks.
And they were hunting.
There were sharks in every direction, and the torch just picked out millions of eyes as they went on the prowl. The were at least 300 of them, and Ju was in the middle of the pack. Then just when everything seemed to be slowing down, suddenly they would all go berserk as they saw a fish and went after it. It was fantastically terrifying, or terrifyingly fantastic – one of the two. But either way, it was very exciting. Though Ju is not sure he’s going to do it again. It didn’t help to find out that when they filmed this exact same dive for the Blue Planet, all the divers wore chain mail.
Thanks to Jeremy from Next Step for all the underwater photos.
BTW – do you know what a pack of sharks is called? Answer below…
We had a lot of parties. We have a better social life out here in the middle of nowhere than we do in the middle of London. This is a bootleg recording of one of our boat jams. All the players were very carefully taught by maestro Ju.
We celebrated Petra’s birthday.
I’m sure we all agree that she looks younger than springtime. And that bloke wearing the traditional Fakarava table decoration looks like a wonderful guy.
So – just time for the arty farty competition, both submitted by Lyn. The first is called “I’ve Got A Lovely Bunch Of Coconuts,” which wasn’t from South Pacific, but perhaps it should have been.
And the second entry is called “Amazing Roots.”
And the winner is Lyn! Well done Honey Bun!
That’s all for now Boatbloggers®.
Ju & Lyn
How did you get on with the South Pacific song competition?
Here’s the answers…
Dites Moi, Some Enchanted Evening, A Cock-Eyed Optimist, There Is Nothing Like A Dame, I’m Going To Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair, Bali Hai, Bloody Mary, Happy Talk, This Nearly Was Mine, Carefully Taught, Younger Than Springtime, (I’m in love with) A Wonderful Guy, and last but not least Honey Bun.
A pack of sharks is called a shriek – presumably after the noise a diver makes when he sees one.