Hanamoenoa, Tahuata

Fri 2 May 2014 18:28
09:54.5S 139:06.3W

Having secured a dozen eggs, some tomatoes, a cucumber, two tins of butter (yes, tins, magic stuff, I don't know why it doesn't melt and come out all separated when you open it, but it doesn't), and copious amounts of French Bread we moved on from Atuona. The water was brown there, due to lovely mud for anchoring, but not nice for swimming. Also we heard from many sources that there are lots of sharks there and swimming isn't recommended. Indeed our friend Franz told us he had a close encounter with one whilst diving under his boat there and after my Galapagos anchor climbing experience I'm only happy with reef sharks or little ones.

This anchorage is beautiful - reputed to be one of the top three in the whole of French Polynesia. Lovely curving sandy beach fringed with palms, hills surrounding us and more crenelated ridges running across the background. There are big Manta rays and Eagle rays here and when we were snorkeling we saw an amazing assortment of new fish. Two of the strangest are Longfin Bannerfish, these look like angel fish but have fin in the shape of a long banner flying above them and trailing behind, and Long-nosed butterfly fish. Seen from the side there look like floating bright yellow rectangles, with a black eye on the tail end of the fish, and with a long narrow needle shaped nose, almost as long as the body. There were so many fish that we decided to go back and do a proper scuba dive, which was wonderful. So much more fun being in amongst the fish rather than looking down on them.

We can afford to spend a few days here as we want to time our arrival at the Tuamotus with full moon. We want as much visibility as possible when sailing through those low lying atolls.

I'm not complaining. There's plenty of chores to do aboard still after the long passage, we made fresh water and did some washing yesterday but we need to do some spring cleaning too - when the boat's moving lots a lick and a promise suffices, and in between I'm going to be spending as much time as possible in that warm clear salty smooth aquamarine water - scouting for Manta rays!

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