Bill and Caroline
Thu 13 Jun 2013 02:15
15:33.42S 146:14.0WThe atoll, Apataki, is about 20 miles long and 13 miles wide bounded by small islets or motus on the north and east and partially submerged reefs to the south and west. Travelling form the northern pass to the southern end of the atoll, a careful eye is kept from the bow as coral bomies or coral heads randomly emerge from the sea bed, lying just below the surface of the sea. Something to avoid at all cost. The colour of the sea changes from deep blue, to turquoise, then lighter blue and finally browny blue as the depth reduces. Light blue and brown are definitely to be avoided and a course through the dark blue preferred.
Once anchored, however, the coral bomies provide an amazing snorkelling environment with tides and swell sweeping fresh water over the external atoll reefs and past the motus. Inside, the reefs and bomies have fantastic arrays of sea life from squashy back sea slugs to rainbow coloured reef fish and our second close encounters with sharks. The black tip shark is nothing to be feared, so they say. Oyster farms proliferate in the lagoons of the Tuamotus, producing huge crops of black pearls while iridescent clams look like jewels in the vivid coral.
The anchorage at Totoro is 12 miles by boat from the village where the shop is open … when it has something to sell…but the motus next to the anchorage has coconuts you can pick, freshwater for laundry and occasional showers, boat yard facilities should you need them and a motor boat which goes across to the village, hopefully when the supply ship arrives. Maybe this is opportunity to become the slim things we know we could be. In the meantime, there are boat jobs to do in stunning locations and windsurfing and kite surfing opportunities abound, carefully avoiding the bomies of course.
Electronics, at the moment are proving frustrating. The sat phone that we rely on for email is, to put it mildly, playing up. Advice has been taken from the sat phone experts, as well as the various experts on other boats but to no avail. We now beg or borrow sat phone communications (where possible) and search out any internet opportunities with the determination of desperate cruisers. The favourite camera (- takes nice pictures despite our lack of compositional skill) conspires against us by losing its LCD screen, so although pictures can still be taken, there is uncertainty about what the picture might contain. No problems though because the waterproof camera still works - or did until exposed to its underwater environment …. so apologies, but photos may be a little more random from now.