Mopelia (aka Maupihaa), French Polynesia: August 24-28, 2012

Vries Peter Pons
Fri 24 Aug 2012 22:45
After a bad start from Maupiti to either Niue or Suwarrow (depending on the
wind direction for the coming days), it could have been a Friday, we notice
the first evening that our toplight is broken off its fitting or something
like it. Our tricolour shines its red, green and white in all directions but
the right one. After a night of rough sailing and some conversations with
Santa Paz, our Brazilian friends over the VHF, with whom we left
contemporaneously, we decide to head for Mopelia, an atol some 120nm West of
Maupiti and the one but last piece of territory of French Polynesia. The
pass to enter the atoll is quite tricky, as it is extremely small with quite
an outgoing current at times. Moreover, we're being distracted by humpback
whales playing just besides the entrance, some of them on a collosion course
with Aquamante. We manage to dodge them, enter the atoll safely, and set the
anchor at a lovely spot in the NE corner, not to close to the only other
boat around, SY Let's Go from the USA, with Jim and his son Matt on board.
Santa Paz has decided to move on for Suwarrow and we agree we'll be joining
them in a couple of days.

The next morning we catch up with Jim and Matt, who tell us about Hio, a
young Polynesian guy, who has been all by himself on one motu for 8 months,
and has prepared the place to accommodate his mother Adrienne and two
sisters, who live with him now since three weeks. That afternoon I go in the
mast, fix the top light (the housing broken right through the middle,
probably due to old age), check the rigging and make some lovely pictures of
the view in the atoll from high up. Later that day I meet with Adrienne and
Hio, who invite us for breakfast and lunch at their home in honour of Jim's
birthday the day after.

Both breakfast and lunch are wonderful, with poison cru, fish cookies,
coconut crab, lobster and lots more. Upon our arrival both Daph and I get a
necklace made of the most beautiful shells, all shiny, as if they had been
polished. Apparently, they are all natural, it all depends on catching them
before the little animal inside dies.

The day after promises us a good weather window to sail to Suwarrow, so we
set sail on Tuesday after having negotiated the pass once more, now with 4
knots of favourable current, one of those typical places you would not want
to have that, so that you do not race through it. Let's Go already left
earlier today to set sail for Aitutaki, which is too shallow for us to