Maupiti Circumnavigation in Baby Beez
Plan A this morning was to see if we could find manta rays near the first motu we passed on our way in, Pitiaho, we met up with Windarra. No too many small boats churning the water so the mantas had gone home. We then picked Philippe up from Jehol and set about Plan B to spuddle to the top of the motu by the airport (by the word Tuanai on the map) to find the coral garden and snorkel. I had the fancy to go the wrong way round, that is, clockwise (then we could say we had circumnavigated Maupitit in Baby Beez). What a plan.......The book says Maupiti is a small coral atoll with a volcanic island in its midst. With a surface area or four and a half square miles, it couldn’t take us too long to spuddle round – or could it ???
All began well. This picture is looking from the first anchorage, just inside the pass, across to the lower end of the left hand motu - Auira
Geography: Maupiti is located to the west of the Leeward Islands in French Polynesia. It is the westernmost volcanic high island in the archipelago, thirty miles west of Bora Bora. The lagoon has large and flat coral islands in its northern reef half and two motus on both sides of the pass at its southern end. The primary economic activity on Maupiti is noni production and we have seen crops of watermelon. The main settlement is Vaiea.
With motu Auira on our left off we spuddled across the sand and occasional coral head. The water depth was between six and eighteen inches all the way. Bear looked like a fiddlers elbow, outboard set up, outboard set down, up so the propeller is just below the surface of the water. Once or twice we almost had to get out and pull Baby Beez, but that was later..... In the picture – spot the two people walking across from the ‘mainland’ to the motu. The deepest they will have to paddle across the point four of a mile – to their shorts.
The biggest shallowest lagoon we have ever been in. The people are weeny.
Plenty of chaps kept us company.
Then the tricky bit where Bear wiggled us around many coral heads.
All was well until we rounded the top of the island, plenty of coral to navigate, a couple of times Bear turned the engine off and we rowed over the heads. No sooner than we were out of the shadow of Maupiti than the wind was blowing straight at us and with some gusto. Philippe and I sat in the front of Baby Beez, reminiscent of a scene from Moby Dick, when the water gets heaved over the actors in big bucketful's, just as well it was not too cold, needless to say everything was now soaking wet. We all got out and pulled Baby Beez along when things got too shallow. Asking a chap in a flat–bottomed boat where the coral gardens were, he pointed and off we trotted. Philippe went in to investigate, I said I would go in if there were more than six fish. Up came the reply “only four”, back to Beez for a stiff libation methinks. That done, Philippe invited us to lunch aboard Jehol. What a machine. This catamaran was built for speed, averaging two hundred and eighty miles a day (compared to our one hundred and twenty). Home then to do the washing.
ALL IN ALL THE BEST SALT WATER POWER HOSE EVER