Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Last Days at Anchor in Moorea

After the storms, heavy swell, incessant chop and unfathomable current of the last two weeks, relative peace has returned in the reef anchorage of Vaiara, Moorea. We can appreciate the clear shallow water, the gorgeous view of Tahiti and the mountainous backdrop of Moorea again, without having to hold on for our dear lives. Eagle rays, sharks and “normal” stingrays pass by our boat, while dolphins occasionally stroll the drop-off area, only twenty feet away. At least once a day, we still get tossed around heavily, trying to save sliding glasses of liquid and other “top heavy” items from crashing onto the floor. Sometimes those acrobatic moves are more successful than others. Easter holiday has started in French Polynesia and boat traffic – and thus the inconsiderate wake - has increased.

One day, Mark and I finally took our dinghy to a snorkel area other cruisers had told us about. On the southern motu (motu Ahi), we found the Lagoonarium of Moorea. Here, a series of floats is connected with ropes, so snorkelers can enjoy the underwater world in safety - by holding onto the lines - when the current is too strong. A lot of coral was in great shape and the colorful fish were plentiful. We saw some rays and black tips, and even a white tip reef shark. The snorkeling here was definitely worthwhile and on shore visitors can rent a shady shed for the day or the night, or buy lunch in the little restaurant. It is a neat little place with a lot of character… and tourists.

A surprise visit to the anchorage from our friends Marie and JP on MV Domino enhanced that already fun Sunday. They invited us to stay for a healthy lunch and we caught up with each other after a month apart. The view from their motor yacht is more spectacular than from our little Irie, so we always enjoy our visits to their floating home (one could almost say “floating palace”). The following day, we made dinner and brought it over to their big cockpit for a last evening together. They will soon head west, while we are remaining in French Polynesia until Irie sells.

Va'a competition through the anchorage

Two competing va'a teams passing close to Irie

Sunrise above Tahiti; yes, I am getting up early, these days!

Massive waves breaking over the reef and causing strong surges and current underneath Irie

Taking a breather while cleaning the fore peak with bleach in the early hours - much cooler that time of the day

Spotted eagle ray near Irie

White-spotted puffer fish hanging out with our anchor chain

Irie's well-buried and trustworthy anchor - the holding is great in the reef anchorage of South Vaiare

Motu Ahi

Group of tourists snorkeling the Lagoonarium

The original establishment on motu Ahi

Mark holding on while snorkeling

Colorful and healthy coral

Big school of fish

White tip reef shark

View of Tahiti from motu Ahi

Marie under her Wirie pro with Irie in the background

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