South Pass - Fakarava

Mike Share & Sammy Byron
Tue 22 Jun 2010 00:39
Well we haven't really moved much which has been bliss.... and probably the first time on our trip so far. We are normally having to move on after a few days so to have no time pressures is great. We are still in Fakarava but we are now anchored at the South Pass which was about a 30 mile motor sail inside the atoll. It is a pretty easy route with navigation marks the whole way although you still need to keep a look out for the coral pinnacles that appear from the deep.
We are loving it down here, very pretty and very quiet. Only a small pension (a few bungalows on the water's edge) and a dive centre. The coral and fish life is stunning, so many fish swimming under the boat and sharks have now become as common as trigger fish.
On arrival at the anchorage we were picked up by our friends on another boat called Bamboozle and whisked off for a drift snorkel which was sensational. We saw a huge and I mean huge manta ray and about 30 grey sharks in a feeding frenzy. The current was pretty strong so we were literally flying over the coral. G&T's for sunset and supper on Bamboozle made for a wonderful arrival.
We have had a lot of fun here so far, snorkeling, diving and catching up with friends on various boats. We will probably tear ourselves away early next week and head back up north. Mike is keen to dive the North pass again plus we have completely run out of fresh food. French Polynesia had a strike last week (Typical French!) so nothing was running, no flights, no weather forecasts, no food deliveries etc. We will make tracks to Tahiti probably at the end of the week when we have better weather. It has been blowing 35 knots+ a few times which is not good with so many reefs all around us but at least there are several boats here in the same situation in case anything happens!
We woke up yesterday after a particularly windy night and realised (when we finally got on deck as the weather was crappy) that the dinghy was missing! Luckily some very kind friends from "Pickles" have a fast dinghy and Joan took us looking for it all along the southern deserted reef. After 2 hours and about 8 miles we gave up as the going back was going to be even worse than getting there. Then in the distance amongst the waves what did we spot? In the middle of nowhere, there it was! It's a huge relief to have it back even though it won't start! Another reason to get to Tahiti asap..... We felt pretty stupid about the whole thing but we have rescued a few so far ourselves and apparently it's really not all that uncommon. We are still amazed at how the sailing community really help each other out and the acts of kindness have been amazing so far.
We'll post some more pics soon!