Jun 8, 2014

Fakarava – Another Atoll Famous for Diving & Snorkeling

We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.
Anonymous


One of our rides on Fakarava - comfy and colorful
Atolls are mostly for water sports.  If you don’t dive, snorkel, fish, kite surf, etc, there is not much for you to do in such locations.  There are however always people to meet. 


No longer in-use lighthouse - Mike on bike to the right
Yep - there's a sign that says - Do Not Climb...  Where is Mike?
After Bora Bora I caught some type of ear/throat infection so I don’t dare go in the water until it clears up, giving me few options in the realm of water sports.  A bad ear infection may mean not being able to fly and we still have 3-5 flights to go (I can’t keep track) so I don’t want to take chances.  Mike however gets to enjoy drifting the South Pass 3-4 times (and I enjoy watching him…). Drifting = floating along with the current with mask, snorkel and fins on.  For an atoll pass that can be quite rapid (upwards of 10 knots).  The day we are there it seems the water travels at between 6 and 8 knots.  So fast that a dinghy with a small motor cannot fight the current to return to their sailboat anchored up a way.  Our guide is kind enough to give them a tow.  Although going that fast is fun it’s more enjoyable to take the time to watch the multitude of fish below but with 6+ knots pushing you, you cannot slow down easily…

Small giant clams with blue lips
Oh this guy was watching us
At one time I see a black tip shark approximately the length of Mike drifting right underneath him.  The water was too dark to get a good picture but I couldn’t wait to ask Mike how it felt to be drifting with a shark and he never saw it…  He was paying attention to what was ahead of him…  Large blue Napoleons about 3-4 feet long, other black tip sharks, silky sharks, nurse sharks, needle-nose fish, Picasso fish, anemones, etc…

Some type of open and empty crypt
Palm leave weavings on headstone
More beautiful weaving
Shell necklaces too
Of the three atolls visited, this one is definitely our favorite.  Cleaner, friendlier, nice beaches, good cycling roads, etc.  We would return here with Déjàlà, no reason to stop at Tikehau and Rangiroa.

Small church - chandeliers and links between them made of shells
Church door - simple...
Ceiling decor - part carving, part shells
Shell chandelier
Altar - simple and elegant
We see people who left Mexico a couple of weeks after we did.  They made it here fine.  It is so good to see people’s progress and know they are OK.  The cruising community is small and it’s amazing how often you run into one another and where….


Mike to left and furthest back
Mr. Napoleon the fish  
Now to put his size in perspective - Cute little one year old Rocket is nearby 
Underwater view... of a smaller one
Fakarava has the nicest paved roads (thanks to President Chirac who had made a promise of a visit but never showed up) so we bike 35 km one afternoon and saw an old lighthouse (no longer in use), a couple of cemeteries with interesting decorations on their tombstones, a couple of old churches, and beautiful mother nature…  We speak with a proud copra farmer.  It’s peaceful.

Famous pink sands
Water is rising
Our ride here
Pink sands - how can you go wrong?
Pink patterns
Cliche footprints in the sand but pink?
The weather is still a bit of a challenge but we are making the best of it – sure beats rainy west coast or cold Canada…  Today the winds are from the NW, something rarely seen in these parts…  Go figure!

Mike getting towed out of an eddy where current was too strong

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