Tuamotos 3

April 11, 2019

We did not think it would take this long to go 500 miles but, here we are, on our fourth night at sea, unfortunately with very little wind again.

We have revamped our plans yet again and scratched the idea of visiting more than one atoll before reaching Fakarava, where our friends have a flight booked for April 14.

Unusually, we are trying to slow down ( or difficult in light winds) so we don’t reach the atoll until daybreak. These atolls are really just circles of land surrounding a lagoon (I think where a volcano used to be). We can’t anchor on the outside because it is thousands of feet deep off the edge of the atoll. The lagoons are more like 15-40 feet deep. In order to get inside, we have to pass through a pass in the land. These passes vary in length and twistyness as well as current. 

It is best to try to enter/leave at slack tide because otherwise, it could be like navigating the rapids of a river in a multi-ton craft. Currents can reach up to 8 knots and standing waves can be up to 8 feet. So we are trying to avoid all that as well as have good visibility of coral heads that are sprinkled all over the inside.

The upside? Once we are in, there should be fabulous swimming, snorkeling, and diving and hopefully some well-stocked grocery stores! I just saw the supply boat on our tracker, docked at a nearby island so I’m hopeful that it is visiting Fakarava next because we are basically out of fresh fruits and veggies.

I have heard that you can buy produce from people’s home gardens on this island so there is hope beyond the stores.

Today Joe and Cobin made pancakes for breakfast and Cobin also treated us to his famous French fries for dinner. Susannah cooked some delicious pork chops and I contributed banana bread and a mango fool (basically mango, whipped cream and sugar). We also ate taco salad, crepes, and the last of the bread I made yesterday. Sailing is hungry work!

Cobin and I fought over the last two eggs (he doesn’t like banana bread and wanted to make something else) and then I realized I had doubled the recipe and needed two more eggs!

That’s when Sunil and Swagata came to the rescue with their contribution of dried egg powder which allowed the banana bread to continue to its delicious end. Even after leaving the boat, they are still contributing!

In the afternoon, Susannah taught a very stimulating lesson on dinosaurs. All the kids were so intrigued that Susannah had to cut off all comments so she could get through her 40-minute presentation in under two hours.

We learned that birds aren’t just descendants of dinosaurs but are, in fact, classified as dinosaurs. It’s even a possibility that Tyrannosaurus Rex had feathers! It has been a real treat to have Susannah teaching on the boat, giving our kids a taste of what a career in academia is all about.

We wrapped up the night when Joe turned off the engines and let the boat drift in the light winds. Susannah and the kids and I went up on the trampolines and looked at the stars while listening to the quiet lapping of the water around the boat. It is a moment we will treasure!

We are looking forward to waking tomorrow and making landfall.

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