Tahuata, Hanamoenoa - Manta ray swimming!

Moxie - Beck Family Adventure
Mike, Denise, Asia and Aranya Beck
Thu 15 May 2014 03:27
09.48.176S 139.01.876W
14 May 2013

Hanamoenoa bay had about 14 boats and tons of kids, actually there are lots of kids this side of Panama - such a massive difference to our time in the Med.

Bonfire night was a lot of fun, the kids had their own fire and there were 15 or so pyromaniacs ranging in age from 4 to 16. So we learnt a lot that night, the bay is a deserted orchard with a load of fruit trees, pamplemouse (a very mild grapefruit) delicious, limes and coconuts aplenty. Every day mantas rays visit the bay and hang around for a couple of hours. We twice swam with them each time for a hour or so. I cannot describe how cool it is swimming with such gentle, enormous creatures. We had ten or eleven swimming round us, they are totally nonplussed with our presence and allow even the kids to get close enough to feel the sandpapery skin. Mostly we had juveniles at a mere 8 feet across the wings but also one enormous one at 20 plus feet across! Actually that one was slightly unnerving as he approached, the massive gaping jaws easily big enough to swallow an adult effortlessly bearing down on you with nothing you can do - like are standing on the runway at Heathrow but without the noise. Definitely one of those unforgettable life experiences. We have tons of photos but no cheap Internet to post them.

Today we have made it to Atuana, Hiva Oa and have formally checked in. It's great to be British, EU citizens get the piece of cake single form, no fees treatment. If were for instance, ahem, kiwis we'd have to post a bond equivalent to airfares home for all people and prove travel insurance or use an agent and pay the fee. He only thing we have not managed is to get the form for duty free fuel but we can apparently do that no problems in Tahiti.

The anchorage here is tight, everyone has a stern anchor out to reduce swinging and there's a nasty swell getting through, we will leave after just one night. Town is a 30 minute walk away but the local cars stop and give you a free ride (well we have had 50% success over two trips to town). There are a few grocery stores and a hardware store in town, a pharmacy, hairdresser, post office and bank. We now have some local currency to play with. Back on Fatu Hiva we had to barter some kids clothing for fruit as they were not interested in US dollars, euros would have been OK but with nowhere to spend cash trade is the preferred method.

Mike, Denise, Asia and Aranya Beck
SV Moxie