Monthly Archives: February 2022

Boobies in Paradise

A boobie is a type of bird, so get your mind out of the gutter!  We discover several motus where many birds are mating for the season.  There are nests high up in trees, on the ground, and at eye level – basically everywhere!  But we of course focus on the boobies.

In the southeast corner of Toau, there are many little motus and spits of land that don’t even qualify as a motu.  We explore many of them in search of sea treasures and good photo ops.

One palm motu:  this beautiful spit of sand has one lone palm tree thriving on it.  There is not much to this motu other than the tree, but it is fun to share its small piece of paradise.

Toau Motu

Toau Motu

Three palm motu:  from afar, it looked like there were only three palm trees on this motu, but as it turned out there were about 8 bunched together.  Clearly someone is caring for them as they were well trimmed and the dead palms were removed.

Typical Motu:  covered with brush, trees, palms, and more.  This little motu had a small reef around it, lots of coral and rock.  And a surprise to us a tall wifi repeater (getting wifi from Fakarava and sending it to the pass anchorage).  Of course, we couldn’t get any wifi as we were not at either end of the repeater.

On the same motu as the wifi repeater are tons of mating birds including lots of boobies.


We found lots of white, fuzzy baby boobies in the trees.  They are pretty easy to spot as they stick out against the green leaves.  The top left photo is of a mom still protecting her egg.

Baby Boobies

Baby Boobies

On the ground, on some bushes, and between the rocks were lots of baby bird eggs.

We were clearly disturbing the birds so we gave them a wide birth.  But even with our best efforts, they were unhappy so we left the boobies alone.

We had great fun exploring a lot of the motus in the SE corner of Toau, but it was time for us to continue SE.

Passage Toau to Fakarava

It is only 15nm from the Toau pass to the Fakarava North pass which should technically take us about 3-3.5 hours to sail.  However, the wind was not cooperating and we are had tack several times making our 15nm sail a 40+nm sail and taking well over 5 hours.  Lucky for us it was not a problem as we were trying to time slack tide at the Fakarava pass and our longer than normal jaunt worked out perfectly.

We get the hook down in time to enjoy a quick dinner at our favorite tapas place in Fakarava called Hirinaki Lounge and then we were off to bed as it had been a long day.

The  last blog we sail to and arrive in Toau and search for sea treasures.   Events from this blog post occurred mid-November.  Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind our adventures.

Tranquil Toau

We had to leave Tikehau way too soon.  We really wanted to enjoy a week in Tikehau but a good weather window to Toau presented itself and we had to take it.  Our goal is to get to Gambier by early December (it is mid-November as I write this blog).  You are probably thinking, well, Christine you have 2-3 weeks, what is your rush?

You see, we can’t just hop on our boat and go to our destination (like a car, or plane, or train).  We have to wait for a good weather window that doesn’t have a lot of rain, or big seas and is not on the nose.  Unfortunately for us, the prevailing wind is SE and guess what direction we need to go?  Yep, SE.  So, we do the waiting game and when a window opens up we jump on it.

The passage to Toau was really nice.  It was not as brilliant as the passage to Tikehau, but it was nice. We had decent winds, no big gusts, less than .05m swell and only one three-hour period for a squall.  We reefed both sails and weathered through the squall, then unfurled the sails and continued on.


  • Total Miles:                 173nm
  • Total Travel Time:     28.34
  • Motor Time:               2.5 hours across the Tikehau lagoon and 2 hours across the Toau lagoon
  • Max Speed:                10.0kt
  • Average Speed:           6.1kt

Man Overboard Drill

I will spare you the details, the dermatologist froze about 15 “spots” off my body.  They were not cancerous, but they were suspicious and she wanted them gone.  That required me to stay out of the sun which is really hard when you are under passage.  I bathed in sunblock, put Band-Aids over each spot and wore long sleeves, long shorts, and a huge hat.

My hat has a strap under my chin and for the most part stayed on my head.  But, I happened to turn backwards to look at a silly bird going after one of our fishing lures and whammo – the hat went flying into the ocean.  We were under full sail (no engines) and had 2 fishing lines trolling behind us.  Seriously what a pain in the a$$!

We hit the MOB (Man Over Board) button, doused the jib, tightened up the main and made a slow turn to avoid tangling the fishing lines.  I grabbed the boat hook as Matt kept a watchful eye on my floating hat (yep it floated). 

As Matt maneuvered Sugar Shack near the hat, I grabbed it with the boat hook and we continued on our merry way.  Ugh…this is our track doing the MOB exercise.  I guess it is always good to practice your safety drills.

Man over board drill

Man over board drill

We had to dodge several islands and could not hold a direct course.  We went around Tikehau and Rangiroa, but then dipped to the bottom of Arutua and Apataki.  Then ended the passage on the top of Toau and around to the SE passe, through the passe and to the SE corner where we could hide from the upcoming SE winds.


This beautiful little atoll is pretty remote and typically does not get a lot of cruisers visiting as the resources are non-existent.  There are no magasins or refueling options here.  Several locals live on the outer motus and process copra for a living. 

Beautiful Toau

Beautiful Toau

Shelling in Toau

Matt and I go on two long walks a day exploring the different motus and “shelling.”  You might have forgotten, but a motu is not an island but rather a group of smaller islands (or motus) that surround a large lagoon.  You have to enter designated passes in order to enter the interior of the atoll.  On the windward side of the motus are reefs and lots of sea treasures.


On the biggest motu near us we discovered a lot of pearl floats.  We use these to float our chains, but we already had 9 on the boat.  So, we made a Christmas tree.  I know a little early as it is only mid-November, but it sure is prettier than having them strewn all over the motu.

We found a few small patches of actual sand…usually the motus are covered in coral, rock, and shells.

We were spoiled rotten in Tikehau – did you read our last blog?   Events from this blog post occurred mid-November.  Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind our adventures.

Le Tikehau Resort

Spoiled Rotten in Tikehau

It is with a heavy heart that we leave Tahiti and the many friends we left behind, but it was beyond time for us to move on.  We headed toward Tikehau which is 174nm away and should take 1.5 days to reach.  It was a gorgeous, sunny day with blue skies, calm seas, and a light breeze.   This is a shot of us leaving the Tahiti airport anchorage behind.

Andromeda Super Yacht

On our way out of the Papeete pass we went by a HUGE mega yacht called Andromeda.  She is 107 meters long (352’) and 18 meters (59’) wide (that’s longer than Sugar shack).  She has a maximum speed of 16.4 kts and can travel over 9800miles.

Matt thinks there are well over 20 crew working on this magnificent yacht.  The interesting thing is that while she was at anchor, she had no anchors down!  You see that is strange in that, we normal boats, require an anchor to hold us in place.  However, Andromeda has dynamic positioning / sky hook which does not require an anchor.  It holds the boat in place using GPS coordinates!

Tahiti is a crown jewel, that is for sure.  Check out her crown between the two mountains.

The Passage to Tikehau

We had an absolutely stunning passage from Tahiti to Tikehau.  It was simply perfect, with gorgeous skies, light winds giving us a beam reach, small seas, and no squalls. We set the sails once and only had to adjust them lightly to accommodate changing wind speeds.

Passage Details

  • Total Travel Time:  24 hours
  • Total Distance: 174
  • Max Speed:  10.8kt
  • Average Speed:  7.2kt

We arrived at 10am in the morning, exactly 24 hours after we picked up the hook.  We did have to wait outside the pass for 1.5 hours for it to calm down.  It looked very unhappy when we arrived, so we waited for slack tide and headed in.  A rather easy entrance with an incoming tide and 2+kts helping us in.

We anchored near Le Tikehau Resort and had the anchorage all to ourselves.

Flash Back

Last year in Gambier, Matt and I were on a small hike.  During this hike, we met Raipunui who was visiting from Tikehau.  He stopped us on the side of the road, asked where we were going (if we wanted a ride), and when we told him we were going on a small hike, he asked to join us.  We ended up spending a few hours with him and exchanging contact info.

Fast Forward

We reached out to Raipunui and told him we were in Tikehau and would like to see him.  He said he was working that night (he is the front desk manager at Le Tikehau Resort).  I asked if we could come have dinner as we were celebrating our wedding anniversary and he said “I will make it happen.”

Le Tikehau Resort

This is a beautiful resort!  Le Tikehau is situated on the water with dozens of over the water bungalows. 

Le Tikehau Resort

Le Tikehau Resort

Guests have their own private beach, access to water toys, and gorgeous views of the sunset.

Le Tikehau Resort

Le Tikehau Resort

We are super blessed to be able to come on property, considering we are not guests.  Raipunui really gave us the royal treatment!  Everyone knew we were coming – we were known as “the boat people.”  It was so funny.  As we pulled up to the dock, the first employee said “ah yes, you are the boat people.”  Then we went to the check in counter (top photo above) and the receptionist said, “welcome boat people.”  Then the waitress took our drink orders and after we explained that we did not have a bungalow, she said, oh, are you the boat people?  It was rather amusing.

They have a beautiful pool that overlooks the lagoon.  It was stunning during sunset.   But then again Tikehau sunsets don’t ever disappoint.

Le Tikehau Resort

Le Tikehau Resort

Raipuni told us to get there at 1800 which was strange to us as dinner did not start until 1900. But, we did as we were told, secured great seats on the patio as we watched the sunset and had a cocktail.  At 1830, a local Tikehau band arrived and Raipunui was the singer.  With each song, a different waitress would come out and dance.  It was spectacular.  Our own private show – with maybe 10 other people!

Chow Time

We sat down at a nice two top on a raised platform.  Ordered another cocktail, because we are celebrating after all.  Matt ordered crispy red tuna and I ordered a quiche and salad.  Matt said the tuna was divine and unlike anything else he has ever had.  My quiche was ok, it looks like a pizza, but it was all quiche.  For dessert, they brought out a heart shaped chocolate mousse cake with kiwis. The band sang “happy birthday” along with the entire restaurant as they don’t have a translation for “happy anniversary.”  It was all really exciting and sweet!

Raipunui really went all out to make us feel welcome and special.  He is truly a master as his job!  We hope to see him in early December in Gambier again as he is going there to celebrate his birthday!

The pretty side of Tahiti is shown in on our last blog as we discover a new marae, snack and live concert.   Events from this blog post occurred mid-November.  Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind our adventures.