Tuamotos, shark city

Moxie - Beck Family Adventure
Mike, Denise, Asia and Aranya Beck
Sun 15 Jun 2014 18:11
15.48.19S 146.09.15W
14 jan 2014

We made landfall in Fakarava atoll in the Tuamotos group anchored up and shortly afterwards were visited by Byamee in the anchorage. We'd met Byamee in the Galapogas, then Hiva Oa they are Australian family and Havana completing the circumnav this year. In any case they told us that all the kid boats were at the south pass and there was a birthday happening so next day we went 35 miles inside the atoll to the south end and met a lad of family boats that we knew from Hiva Oa. The kids all had a blast getting towed most of the day behind the 40hp Remi Dee tender!

I managed to get in a couple of dives with Bruce who kindly filled my tank for me. We drift dived the south pass which flows pretty swiftly and gets down to 30 metres. The pass is rammed full of sharks, black tip, white tip and grey sharks various sizes, really incredible diving with probably 200 sharks in view a lot of the time. In the shallows mid pass the kids snorkelled around with giant wrasse (50 kilos or so) and hundreds of small reef fish which they hand fed while juvenile 1m black tip sharks swam all around them. Denise and the girls drift dived the pass, again sharks circling but no one ever saw any aggressive behaviour.

In Hiva Oa our outboard motor died so I had to borrow our spare 4hp back from Sudoeste (his went overboard in a squall). 4hp is only just enough to punch into the out flowing tide, we attempted to get back to Moxie against tide with another family also in a low powered tender, end result we we racing each other flat out against the current but the reef marker sticks seemed to be edging ahead, we were going backwards everyone in hysterics. We rafted together and managed to make some headway but it was a very slow trip. After that we decided not to take our own boat to the pass and since that was the best thing to do there was no point staying and we headed North again with Remi Dee (a lagoon 58).

We are now at Toau, just north of Fakarava, unfortunately on the way we blew out the red A sail in a squall just as I was dropping it. I have had another dive here with Bruce, the most extensive and perfect coral garden I have ever seen but swimming up against very swift current. The reef is shallow, 7 to 15 metres deep, after that it drops vertically into goodness knows how many hundred metres. Swimming near the edge I kept thinking of the movie Nemo. The reef felt safe.

Sailing to Toau we caught a pretty big Mahimahi I filleted at sea and kept the carcass for shark feeding. At night we tied a rope around the tail and dipped it in, within minutes there were three grey sharks right at the transom, a short time later there were 20 or so. I'd dip the carcass in the sharks would swim right up and take hold, then they'd thrash around tearing off fish while I lifted their heads up out of the water. By the end the rope was pretty much shredded, we definitely don't swim at night after chumming the water.

Kids have been ashore here and came back with a dozen or so black pearls, there was once a pearl farm here, the seconds just get thrown into the broken coral on the beach and the girls had picked a few up. Mostly they have barnacle like dots on them but they are pretty cool nonetheless.

We are loving French Polynesia! Wish list is, working outboard, SSB radio (all the boats with one know where everyone else is and have formed good friendships), underwater lights at 500 bucks each I thought they were a rip off but in hindsight well worth it, and a dive compressor.

Next stop for us is probably Rangiroa, 100 miles to the north.

Mike, Denise, Asia and Aranya Beck
SV Moxie