Tag Archives: akamaru

Ile Mekiro – The Shallows

We had visited Akamaru a few months ago, prior to the quarantine.  We really enjoyed this little island and had wanted to come back to see if we could get in closer to the shallows on the opposite side of Ile Mekiro. The small Ile Mekiro sits just in front of Akamaru and has no livable space, a teeny tiny beach, and a beautiful white cross at the top of the hill.  Visit this post to learn about our first visit.

The water is incredibly shallow in this area so we had to time our entrance perfectly.  We needed it to be high tide during peak sunshine.  For weeks high tide fell early morning and late night which was not conducive for seeing coral heads threatening to introduce themselves to the bottom of our boat.  On this return trip we had our friends on HooDoo following us – no pressure!

Anchoring in the Shallows

After entering the small channel , we found our way to our previous anchor spot which was 1.4 meters deep.  We eye balled our path and forged ahead in a very slow forward motion.  We passed by three coral heads and made a hard right in a space that barely fit our wide boat.  From there we had to make a best guess at where we could go without touching the sea floor or a coral head.  We successfully made it to the abandoned raft, circled in front of it (avoiding the long line floating off its bow) and on into the inner lagoon near Remy’s house boat. Nothing like a little stress to get your blood pumping. 

The red line marks our approximate track.  The blue “X” is where we anchored last time.  The arrow points to the other side of Ile Mekiro where we anchored.

We ended up dropping the hook in 1.3 meters of sand (we draw about 1.2 meters).  Somewhere in the middle of low tide Matt saw .9 meters under the boat.  Not sure how that happened we did not feel the seabed dance with Sugar Shack

Hiking Ile Mekiro

Ile Mekiro is a small island with a fun hike to the top (following goat trails).  We forged our own path and took some great photos of the bay.  The top photo shows the cross we hiked too and the bottom two are drone shots Matt took of Missy and I resting at the cross.

This drone shot shows all the amazing coral on the northern side of Ile Mekiro making inaccessible.

Missy and I hanging out by the cross as Matt flew the drone

Snorkel on the Westside of Ile Mekiro

While we were at the top of Ile Mekiro we saw a beautiful spot to snorkel.  It looks like a ton of coral which was bound to be beautiful.  We took the dinghy around the island and jumped in.  A black tip and white tip shark hung out with us while we snorkeled.

The coral was incredibly healthy.  I wish I could explain all of the varieties of coral but all I can clearly say is that there were a lot of staghorn and table corals.  The thing that was fascinating was seeing the staghorn grow in between the tables giving a nice depth to the floor.

Hike Along the Ridge

We took HooDoo to the Eastern tip of Akamaru to hike along the ridge.  We had heard that we could collect lemons and pomplemouse by the beach as a bonus.  The arrow in the lower left is the beach where we left the dinghy.  The arrow in the upper right is the rock ledge we hiked to.

We landed the dinghy at a beautiful beach with a small shack.  It had soft sand and lots of trees.  Behind the shack were several fruit trees ripe for the picking. 

It was a moderate hike straight up over rocks on a goat path.

Absolutely beautiful views from the top.  The water is just stunning.

Of course, Matt had to do his jumping stunt near the edge.

And we end the post with a sunset on fire!

Secluded Paradise: Ile de Akamaru

We decided it was time to move on after being in Rikitea, the main anchorage in Mangareva, for a week.  The winds directed our destination and we headed to a new island (to us) called Ile de Akamaru.  It is a short motor of 4.4nm from Rikitea to Akamaru with the wind directly on our nose.

We had to play dodge ball around the pearl farm floats.  It would be helpful if they would be white or a bright color, but we came across a lot of black ones which are hard to see in the sea.  In this photo I pointed out 3 of the 5.  Can you see the other 2?

Hidden Floats in the Lagoon

Hidden Floats in the Lagoon

This island has a small pass that is about 1.5 meters deep.  Technically, we could enter the pass and go all the way to shore with the big boat as we only draw 1.3 meters.  However, the wind was blowing the wrong way and would have caused our boat to drift close to the corals and seriously, that is way too close for us.  We ended up finding a beautiful patch of sand in 2 meters of water.  Gorgeous!

Ile Akamaru

Ile Akamaru

Akamaru was discovered in 1797 and is relatively small with a surface area of 1.5 km.  It is on the southern side of the Gambiers and not often visited by tourist. 

Ile Mekiro

A half mile north of Akamaru is a very small, uninhabited island called Ile Mekiro with a lovely cross at the top ridge.  Time to explore.  We left the dinghy just off the small beach (top photo) and discovered a bazillion broken oyster and conk shells.  Must have been a place to shell at one time?

Little Beach

Little Beach

We could not find an actual trail so we picked a spot and started climbing up.  About half-way up the hill we ran across a baby goat who was crying for its mama.

Baby Goat Came out to Greet Us

Baby Goat Came out to Greet Us

We found the path, once we arrived at the top of the hill.  Matt walks ahead toward the cross (upper right) and then we were rewarded with beautiful views of the bay.  You can see Sugar Shack just below the cross.

Concrete Cross at the top of the hill

Concrete Cross at the top of the hill

The island must have had a cross facing each direction of the bay, but only one remained standing. Two of the concrete crosses were on the ground.  That must have been some strong wind to knock them over.

Damaged Concrete Crosses

Damaged Concrete Crosses

More views from the top.  The first photo is Taravai (left) and Mangareva (right).  The second photo is the house boat that is in the center of the lagoon in Akamaru, Sugar Shack on the 3rd pic and Akamaru is the bottom photo.

Views from the top

Views from the top

Akamaru

We stopped by the house boat and met Remy and his wife.  They live part time on the boat and part time in their house on Akamaru.  They generously provided us with some tasty bananas!  I made some banana muffins as a thank you and when we dropped them off, they gave us two huge papayas.  So generous.

At shore, we pulled up at the cement dock and were floored by the stunning road leading from the water to the “village.”

Island Roads

Island Roads

We hung a left which led us to the rather large church.  It is amazing that such a huge church is on this island with maybe 10-12 locals. However, at one point in time there were probably a few hundred people farming here.

Church on Akamaru

Church on Akamaru

You could walk up to the bell tower and view the interior of the church.

Inside of Church on Akamaru

Inside of Church on Akamaru

We came across 5 houses that looked inhabited, but only ran into one local.  The houses that were lived in were lovely and well maintained.

Lived in homes on Akamaru

Lived in homes on Akamaru

However, there were many old, abandoned, stone houses along the long, green road.  You have to search for them among the trees and bushes, but they are there.  Evidently, Akamaru was a bustling town at one time.

Abandoned Homes

Abandoned Homes

The road changes from a gorgeous, green super highway, to a dirt road lined with tall, sweeping trees, and a small path along the river.

Cool path exploring the island

Cool path exploring the island

Some Cool Photos of Akamaru

Enormous flowers grow on this lovely island.

Some pretty flowers

Some pretty flowers

We found a little pig farm with 3 piggy’s who were super excited to see us.

Pets or Food?

Pets or Food?

Near the water is a shady area under a giant tree with a bench.  Perfect to pine the day away.

Relaxing spot under a tree

Relaxing spot under a tree in Akamaru

And on the other side of the dock is a beautiful spot to enjoy a nice swing.

Life is good when you are on a swing

Life is good when you are on a swing

A friendly little kitty came out to play with us.  So full of love.

My little kitty that followed me around

My little kitty that followed me around

Sugar Shack at anchor in front of Ile Mekiro

Sugar Shack

Sugar Shack

We had an enormous trevali fish hanging out with us at our shallow anchorage.  He would attempt to eat anything we put in the water (bananas, banana peels, egg shells, anything).  He was about 2 meters long and super thick!  We aptly named him Rover.

Rover hanging out with Sugar Shack

Rover hanging out with Sugar Shack in Akamaru