Josh and Sara (The Teitelman’s) came to visit us again! This will be their third visit to Sugar Shack and we are excited to explore Fakarava with them. They arrived to the little airport after a stop in Los Angeles, a stop in Tahiti, 3 planes and over 24 hours of travel. We met them in the little airport, gave Sara a beautiful, floral lei, and rushed them back to Sugar Shack before the rain. Below are some cool shots of the north pass anchorage.
It was late afternoon by the time we got back to Sugar Shack. We unpacked, had a beer and made a plan for dinner. Matt and I had not explored Rotoava (the main village) a whole lot but we did have a general idea of where two eateries were located. We briefly saw a sign for Rotoava Grill and headed that way around 1800.
There was a light drizzle but not enough to stop us from enjoying a night out. We took Sweetie into the quay, climbed up the ladder, walked ¼ of a mile to the restaurant. Only to realize that it was closed. It does open at 1800. However, it is only open for dinner Thurs-Sat. Shoot. Plan B is to head to Le Paillotte off the water. Back in Sweetie, upwind (against the wind and waves), in the dark, we search for a small dinghy dock. We had a flashlight and our maps.me app but we could not find it (we found out later it closed a few weeks ago). Plan C, back to the boat for a tasty chicken and pasta late dinner.
Catholic Church at Rotoava
It was raining the next day. Originally, the forecast showed rain for 3 days in the morning, but it did not look like this would burn off. We spent the day running in and out of the rain while on shore. We walked the small village of Rotoava, showed them a local magasin (market), and picked up some fresh pastries and buns for dinner.
Sara and I visited the local Catholic Church which was made of coral and had a spectacular interior. What a surprise when you walk through the doors.
The inside had a beautiful display of Polynesian culture. Sea shell strands draped across the ceiling, shell chandeliers, carved dark wood statues, pulpit and stands. Absolutely stunning.
It is just a peaceful, bright, cheery place to worship. It made me comfortable and totally at home.
We hung out on the boat, played a few games and put a dent in our beer supply. The Teitelmana’s brought us Shut the Box and Racko, super fun games.
Fakarava South Pass Adventures:
With a weather system coming, we knew we had to head south soon. However, we were completely out of fresh veggies and fruits. The supply ship was scheduled to come in a few days, but we had hoped to be out of this anchorage before then. Slowly, our fellow cruisers around us left and headed south. About 24 boats were anchored here when we arrived. By the time we left only 7 remained.
The supply ship finally came. We watched the unloaded process which was efficient and amusing. This is the only way the 850 locals get supplies. You see everything including food, drinks, chairs, wheelbarrows, bikes, boats, outboards, building supplies, and more.
Lucky for us, we scored on the fresh goods. We found lettuce which we had not seen in months. Red and green cabbage, carrots, apples, mandarin oranges, cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, pears, and celery. It was a huge score! We literally were waiting with bags as they put the fresh goods out on the shelves. We also found this really funny cheese. Everyone knows “Laughing Cow” but did you know “The Hahaha Cow?”
Heading to the South Pass
After stowing our goods, we pulled up anchor and were on our way. It would be a slow motor south as we were in a narrow channel heading into the wind and waves. We stopped at Pakokota about 10nm down as we could not make the Hirifa anchorage by nightfall. The Pakokota Yacht Services is located here so we grabbed a mooring and went ashore for a beer. Truth be told, we also wanted their wifi password. 😉 Some how the Teitelman’s have switched me to beer. It’s a temporary thing.
Santa Suzanna Island
The next day we continued to the south pass. Strong winds were expected to come from the S-SE so we wanted to be behind the reef at the south pass for protection. Many of the boats who left from Rotoava were down here or at Hirifa. After dropping the hook, we jetted off to explore a little motu called Santa Suzanna Island.
It consisted mostly of broken shells and lava rock. But it had many beautiful, turquoise, pools of water to enjoy.
We crossed over to the ocean side and were in awe of the magnitude of the waves. Of course, the boys went out to the edge of the reef. The photos below are from the lagoon side of Santa Suzanna Island.
Back at the boat, we had our friends Steve and Johanna from “Chasing Waterfalls” over for rum tasting. It was a spirited evening enjoyed by all. It’s always fun to introduce our friends to the cruising community. They loved the Teitelman’s – of course!