Tuamotu Catchup

Bonjour et la Orana Boatblog® fans,

Welcome to our Catchup from Tuamotu.

Here we are again, reporting back from the very heart of the centre of the middle of nowhere; the Tuamotus a series of coral atolls somewhere deep in the Pacific. They really are the quintessential tropical islands with turquoise waters, coral reefs and palm trees.

Ju  Lyn

Our first stop after Fakarava was one of the smaller, less visited atolls called Kauehi (pronounced Kah-oo-eh-hi – it’s quite tricky, but you say all the vowels in French Polynesia).

There are only about 100 people living on the island, so it feels very deserted. All of the young people get sent to school in Tahiti, or make their way to Papeete for work, so there are only very old people and children left here.

High Street

(Not saying these are very old people. Actually it is Jeremy from Next Step and Andy from Kari of Lymington.)

The only industries here are tourism which has died because of Covid, copra – which is getting oil and other things out of a coconut, and black pearls which they farm. Not a lot of people know this, but a black pearl starts it’s life being seeded on a tree.

Seed Oysters

Who’d have thought this is how a pearl earing begins?

It is sad that when you get to the windward side of the island, the beach is absolutely covered in plastic. This is not from the locals, but has drifted here from civilisation.

IMG 4678

 “Sunview – The Best From The West.”

We did our best with Caroline and Andy from Kari of Lymington to clean it up a bit, but it’s a daunting task.

Picking up plastic

It’s very expensive here. If it’s not a fish or a coconut it has to be imported. For example, a bag of crisps is thirteen dollars. OK, so that was a big bag, but even for a dedicated crisp-oholic such as Ju that’s a bit much, so we had poisson cru instead. Which is raw tuna marinated in coconut milk. Very tasty, and sadly a lot healthier than a bag of salt and vinegar.

Unfortunately, for much of our time in Kauehi it was raining, and we spent a lot of it on the boat sitting out a storm. 

Rainbow 2

And when it rains, it rains.

When it rains it rains

But at least it’s warm rain.

As soon as the weather let up, we set off for Rangiroa, about twenty-four hours’ sail to the north west, where we rejoined a number of other Sailors of the Lost ARC.

Sola in Tiputi

Nick from Maximillian and Alan from Island Wanderer had rigged up their paddle board as a water ski. It was brilliant fun – just like water skiing but slower. 

The next day we went to a place called The Blue Lagoon which is a lagoon within the lagoon, and even by Polynesian standards is stunning.

Blue Lagoon 7

It’s probably not the most original name that they could have come up with, but it seems to sum it pretty well.

Blue Lagoon 8

It really is somewhere that should to be on everyone’s bucket list. (With the possible exception of Alan. The only way here is by boat, then another little boat Al. Not good if you get seasick.)

We went spearfishing for lunch, and caught a parrot fish.


…or as Monty Python would say, an Ex-parrot fish.

Ex parrot fish 2

You don’t throw your scraps to the dog in French Polynesia. 

Not a good time to go paddling.

While we were waiting for lunch our guide showed us some of the local skills.

Start with a leaf…

Do you know what it is yet 2

Make a few folds…

Do you know what it is yet 3

Do you know what it is yet?

Do you know what it is yet 4 3

Eat your heart out Mr Gucci.

Just time to go to the spa with our friends before we had to go back to the boat.

Blue Lagoon 4 2

The next day we went diving and saw our first manta ray.

Manta 1 2

And then the dolphins came to play.

And like most of us, they love nothing more than a tummy rub, which seems to put them into a sort of daze.

Dolphin 4

Then it was back to the boat with the crew of Volunteer to put the evening’s cabaret together.

The Band 1

…with dancers from Easter Island.

The Cabaret

But now the winds are building…

Windy 1

…and the forecast tells us that a storm is heading our way, so it’s time to move on. Next stop, The Iles de la Societe.

Nana and au revoir for now, as they say over here.

Ju & Lyn

PS – Have we got time for a gratuitous sunset?

(Go on then – Ed)

Gratuitous Rangiroa Sunset

4 thoughts on “Tuamotu Catchup”

  1. Your trip has brought back memories when we were crew on John and Amanda Neal’s boat, Mahina, back in 2009. 6 of us paid to be crew (worth every penny) from Hawaii to Rangiroa, then Pappeete, Tahiti, 21 days. It was a cross the ocean thing and not learn to sail. Paul and I were not married yet but he said if I would do this (I had very little sailing experience) we would spend a week in Moorea. I did pretty well sailing (I was the comic relief) and it was an amazing trip and an amazing week in Moorea. We did a swim with whales thing. Anyway, even though you can’t come to CO by boat we would love to see you sometime. Carol & Paul


  2. Another brilliant blog Ju. Keeps us entertained in these days coming out of isolation. Keep them coming. Take care and stay safe.

  3. Apologies for such a delayed reply Ju, but it did make me laugh when you said the lagoon could be on everyone’s bucket list bar mine! I showed George in the office your shark pictures and films and was of course reminded of our trip to see the great white sharks. Never been so sick in my life. I’m afraid that wherever I go, it will have to by road, rail, or air and perhaps to get to such isolated places, I’ll have to learn to parachute jump! Just seen the wonderful news about Ben and Alice’s new arrival so once again, many congratulations to the Grandparaents!!! Let me know when you finally arrive at somewhere I can visit you – which I guess is dry dock 😆 x

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