Monthly Archives: April 2022

Gambier Showcase with Wayne Part II

In our last blog we start to showcase Gambier with our dear friend Wayne.  We tour around Totegegie, Puaumu, Taravai, Tauna, and Akamaru.  Did you miss it, check it out!


We pop in and out of Mangareva (the main town) a few times.  It is the main anchorage for the one and only town in Gambier (where the stores, police, few eateries, medical clinic and post office is located).  Each time we swing in we try to do a walk or hike.

We ease Wayne into our first walk right after a big lunch at Jojo’s.  We had flip flops, no water, and were ill prepared.  But we went anyway.  It is a pretty flat walk (until the end) and for the most part on a road.  The walk takes us to the Look out Point / Queen’s Throne at Pointe Mataiutea.  This hike was not difficult or challenging except that it was far and we were ill prepared.  Stats:  17k steps, 7.6 miles, 7 floors.

Queen's Throne

Queen’s Throne

The next day we do the ridge line trail.  We do the majority of the ascension on a paved street, then cut across to the ridge and do a series of up, down, up, down.  Some using climbing ropes, some rocks, but most over pine needles making it pretty darn slippery.  Just as we were nice and sweaty and stinky, we got a massive rain shower.  Free laundry services while you hike.  This hike was not that far, but it was strenuous with the many ups and downs (51 floors).  Stats: 7,200 steps, 2.8 miles, 51 floors climbed. 

Check out the birds (lower left photo) checking me out!

Hike of the Highlights

On the “highlight” hike we hit the weather station (Meteo France), the Convent (Convent de Rouru), the Princess bath (baignoire de princesse), and the 12 Apostle trail.  On the way up the hill we have several beautiful views.  The photo below shows the half way view of the anchorage (top), Mt Duff (with Wayne), and the view from the top.

The first stop is the Convent de Rouru.  We’ve been here several times and it always amazes me how vast the property is.  There are 3 or 4 old ruins that used to be buildings or facilities.  None with roofs. Some of the old brick walls still have the cross visible (middle top photo).

If you continue to walk behind the convent you will find the princess bath (Baignoire de Princesse). It looks like it could have been beautiful at one point, but now it is overgrown and the water inside really gross. (Bottom right two photos in above photo)

Next, we come to the weather station, Meteo France.  As you might recall we came here to see the weather balloon fly away.

Meteo France

Meteo France

We finally make it to the 12 Apostles hike which takes you down by the water and then back up to the road.  It is a really pretty hike through the forest, over the dried leaves and pine needles and next to the water.

One day hike was a good one!  This hike was sort of the middle ground in that it was not too strenuous (only 30 floors elevation) and not too far (only 5.6 miles).  Stats: 15,301 steps, 5.8 miles, 30 floors.


Aukena is located directly across from Mangareva and has a population of less than 100 people.  It is a small island that is only accessible by boat.  At the corner of the island is a small, broken down lighthouse.  The build of the lighthouse is unknown.  The focal plane was 18m to alert the locals of danger.

We head to shore and discover a beautiful small church that is still in use.  Along the path, heading toward the lighthouse we come across several ruins, an old seminary (middle photo), and an outdoor oven (lower right corner).

About a half a mile down along the coast we finally come to the beautiful lighthouse situated on the tip of Aukena.  It has beautiful views of Mangareva.  The photos below are from each window facing different directions.

On the way back we encounter a few of the local pigs.  They startled the heck out of us as they blend into their surroundings.

Time to Leave

It’s been 18 days and Wayne needed to head back so we bring him back to Totegegie for his last day.  We were able to show him 11 anchorages on 9 different islands!  It was a lovely time spent with great company!

Beautiful sunset to end a spectacular trip with Wayne

Part I of Gambier Showcase with Wayne can be found on our last blog.  Events from this blog post occurred in February.  Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind our adventures.

Tauna, Gambier

Gambier Showcase With Wayne Part I

We are so blessed that our good friend Wayne comes to visit so often.  He has visited us four times in French Polynesia, but this is his first time in Gambier.  We plan to show him all of our favorite places!

One of the supply ships arrived the day before Wayne.  We had hoped it would be the Taporo VIII but it was the Taporo VI (the VIII was being repaired).  The unfortunate thing for us was that it did not have our fuel order (diesel or gasoline) and it did not bring very much fresh produce.  We have not seen a supply ship in over a month so fresh goods are super slim which is unfortunate.  Oh well, the next ship comes in 3 weeks.

Supply Ship Taporo VI

Supply Ship Taporo VI

The next day, we headed to Totegegie which is where the airport is located.  We anchored right by the airport and picked up Wayne with his loads of goodies for us.

Poor Wayne had a huge supply of goodies to haul to French Polynesia.  We had several key elements fail on Sugar Shack that needed new parts (washing machine, watermaker, windlass) and he brought an array of other boat paraphernalia.   It filled 1.5 suitcases!!!  Thanx Wayne!

Totegegie (airport and false pass)

We stayed one night at the airport anchorage and enjoyed the solitude of this pretty spot.  We walked around to the windward side of the island, up along side the airport runway, and back over the leeward side of the island.  Many beautiful sunsets over Mangareva.

Puamu Paradise

We took Wayne to the furthest North motu called Puamu.  This is one of our favorite spots because very few boats make it this far north.  The motu is privately owned and the locals only come out on holiday weekends.  So, we usually have this slice of paradise to ourselves.  We anchor in 2 meters of water and enjoy snorkeling and walking around the motu.


We had a beautiful downwind run from the east side of Gambier to the west side.  We put up the parasail and enjoyed a leisurely sail.

Wayne arrived just in time to enjoy an authentic Sunday Funday BBQ.  This day is extra special as we celebrate Alan who is leaving to join the French military.  22 boats and over 65 people come to wish him well.  Photo is only of the small group of people we know well 🙂


Tauna is a really small motu on Gambier’s outer reef.  The motu itself is a bird refuge and has become the home of many species and their nests.  The long sandy spits make it a perfect launching pad for kite surfers.  We tend to come here on calm days so that it is less crowded.



Perfect sunset shots looking back into the lagoon.


We spend a few days at the little island called Akamaru (also known as Remy’s Island).  The waters are simply gorgeous, clear, and turquoise.  We spend several hours just hanging out in the water.

We take Sweetie out to explore the reefs and shallow bommies.  All three of these photos were taken from the dinghy – that’s how clear the water is.

The village of Akamaru consists of a church and maybe 8 or 9 houses.  It is very isolated and remote.  The people who live here grow lots of fruits and vegetables as well as vanilla.

Akamaru Village

Akamaru Village

And then there are the spectacular sunsets.  This top photo is one of my favorites

Big birthday celebrations in our last blog. Events from this blog post occurred beginning of February.  Stay tuned for part II of Gambier Showcase with Wayne – coming up next!  Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind our adventures.

54th Birthday

Birthday Bash

It’s 6:00am and I am just waking from a restful night.  I relish the quiet of the morning.  The seas are calm and unmoving, the breeze is light, the sun slowly rising, and it’s my birthday (back in January, this post is late).  As I linger in bed, I hear a slight ruckus outside and then the unmistakable tune of Happy Birthday.   Matt is greeting our guests as I stumble outside a little bleary eyed (it’s just 6:15am).  Two neighboring boats came over with a birthday surprise.  They had a super fun rendition of “Happy Birthday” blaring on a little speaker, a large bowl full of hot, freshly baked raisin bread and a cold bottle of prosecco!  Sweet.  I hug each of them before jetting downstairs to put on proper clothing!

We spend the next few hours enjoying the prosecco and bread and telling stories.  Marieke and Thomas from “Scooter” and Mirko and Nikko from “Yum Yum” bestowed upon me the sweetest gift of their company first thing in the morning!

Early Morning Birthday Celebration

Early Morning Birthday Celebration

Matt made a beautiful birthday post it card on our window.  Keep in mind we do not have access to Hallmark cards in the remote islands. – it was touching to see this thoughtful note first thing in the morning.

Birthday BBQ

Valerie and Herve host Sunday fun-day each week and this time it landed on my birthday!  So, we combined the two into a giant celebration.  Over 15 boats showed up to the anchorage (normally we have 5-6 boats) and well over 35 people.  Of course, I did not know most of them and some only spoke French, but they were all very kind and jovial.

We had a ton of tasty foods from all over the world.  Fresh caught Polynesian fish dishes, German and Swiss food, French food, and of course jello shots!

My birthday is one of the rare occasions that I will play volleyball. I am not naturally gifted in sports and tend to make a fool out of myself when I play.  But everyone humored me and our team won (probably a gift for my bday).

Several days prior to my birthday we had lots of rain and a few squalls.  But lucky for me, my birthday was a gorgeous day with just enough sun to keep us warm, but not too hot to wear you out.  We had the most beautiful sunset and moonrise.  That is the moon on the top two photos!

Spoiled Rotten

Valerie surprised me with a new, beautiful sand art.  It is a portrait of Matt and I.  Keep in mind that this is made with local sand and dirt only.  Sure, Matt has a mustache in the image and I have a flavor savor, but you can still see the likeness.  Did you see the detail of my Keishi necklace?

Another local friend, who is a jeweler, gifted me with a gorgeous pearl on a gold chain.  It completely surprised me and knocked my socks off!  Visit her at

I do not know how to put into words the love I felt today.  From my amazing local friends to all of my American friends.  The love that flowed freely across Facebook, Instagram, text, and emails was overwhelming.  I needed it, cherished it, and reveled in the pureness of it all.  Thank you for filling my soul with so much love!

Bon Voyage to Alan

Valerie and Herve’s oldest son is leaving for France to join the military.  He will be studying to become a pilot and will commit to 10 years of military service.  They had a HUGE going away party and sent him off with a spectacular celebration.

Hiking and Exploring

Matt and I go on a few hikes to explore the islands.  We’ve done these hikes several times, but they never disappoint.

The hike on Taravai between Valerie and Herve’s house and Edouard and Denise is a fairly easy and short hike.  It is about 5 miles round trip on a clearly marked, albeit small trail.  One side is a steep drop off, but easy to navigate.  We come across a few old houses with nothing but a few stone walls remaining, a few small beach coves, and lots of overgrown plants.

We also take a beautiful walk to the lookout point where the “Queen’s Throne” is located.  Most of the walk is along the road and is fairly flat.  It’s not until you get to the last .5 mile that you go off roading and uphill.  But then you are rewarded with such a pretty view.  This entire hike is about 6.5 miles round trip.

The rock “throne” I’m sitting on is called the “Queen’s Throne” and with this view it makes sense!

We visit the weather station and set the weather balloon free in our last blog.  Events from this blog post occurred in January.  Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind our adventures.