Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Taravai in Pictures

Taravai, one of the islands in the Gambier archipelago, lays a few miles southeast of the main island Mangareva and is about 1/3 of its size. There used to be a tiny village in the past, but now only a handful of people live on the island permanently and they are spread out. The cute, historic church still stands and the grounds are maintained well by the residents. Five reef strewn bays, in which it is possible to anchor, surround the island. To navigate the area, good sunlight and good charts are mandatory. On top of that, you want to find a sandy, coral free spot on the bottom to drop your anchor, and you want to be protected from the existing wind, which changes direction often here.

Other than visiting two local families and braving the cold water for two snorkel sessions (just me), Mark and I bush wacked our way to the top of a hill one day, collecting scratches on every exposed body part. We also baked a lot of things in the oven to stay warm and observed the pretty scenery from Irie’s cockpit, when the sun was shining upon us.

About once a week, a cold front passes over the Gambier Islands. This means that the wind clocks around, sometimes slowly and lightly, sometimes over more time and at higher speed. The only fully protected harbor in the Gambier is the town of Rikitea on Mangareva, so instead of spending a hoped for two weeks in Tarawai, we had to motor for three hours and return to our (and everybody’s) base anchorage after eight days. The positive of this move is that we can splurge on fresh baguettes again, and there should be a supply ship in port “soon”. Each time we inquire in town, it will arrive “demain”… Sounds like mañana. There is always mañana! :-)

Here are some pictures of our “vacation” in the beautiful environs of little Taravai:

Irie all by herself in the southern bay, with Mangareva visible in the cut.

Having a picnic with Birgit and Christian (SV Pitufa) in Onemea Bay, a cold and wet dinghy ride away. Based on the tropical looking location, you won't expect us to wear wetsuits or foul weather gear to stay warm!

Tasty spread for our picnic, with the last baguettes from Rikitea.

Navigating Onemea Bay (and other ones) by dinghy to go around all the shallow coral heads involves standing up and pointing out dark spots

Picturesque island in the southeast corner of Taravai; the dark spots in the foreground are reefs

Historic church in Taravai village, built by the Belgian infamous priest Laval

Walking through the well-manicured environs of Taravai "village"

View from Hervé's property in Taravai village

Hervé and his son Alain, near the church

The picturesque setting of the only house on the small island SE of Taravai 

Pigs and chickens on the property of the only house on the island in Taravai's southeast corner

This pig reminded us of a dog. She was very friendly, curious and loved her belly rubs!

Bush wacking to the top of the SE island of Taravai; this was the first point we got stuck

After an hour or so, we reached the top with this view from a patch of pine trees.

On the way back, it was easier, because we could follow the trail we made before. Here, it turned into a slide down in between the tall and sharp reeds.

Irie and Pitufa in Onemea Bay; we decided to move the big boat here for a bit (photo by Birgit Hackl)


Irie in the sunset of Onemea Bay (photo by Birgit Hackl)

Pitufa in Baie Onemea

Bright and pretty parrot fish while snorkeling in Onemea

One of the colorful coral formations in the Gambier islands (Onemea)

When you brave the cold water and chilly air, you can swim in expansive coral gardens

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