Author Archives: Christine

About Christine

The one that makes it all happen

Farewell Fakarava

O’ Fakarava!  We return to the South Pass anchorage for internet and sharks!  I know, I know, you are probably thinking I’ve lost my mind.  Probably true, but not in this instance.  The Fakarava South Pass is known all over the world for its amazing Shark Wall and its incredibly diving.

The Fakarava South Pass dive is considered a drift dive which means you drop in at one point and slowly drift to another point.  So, we partnered with a few other cruisers who dropped us off at the outer edge of the pass and picked us up on the inside edge of the pass. 

We dropped down to 70’ and meandered to the famous Fakarava shark wall!  It did not disappoint!

These black tip, white tip, gray, and nurse sharks just swim back and forth and back and forth.  The little fish seem to not care one bit that man-eating sharks are in their way!

Sometimes the sharks are curious and come close….

And sometimes they just don’t give you the time of day.

A small octopus was playing hide and seek…

Snorkel Adventures

Matt and I snorkel the pass several times.  Each time is a new episode in a fascinating series of the underwater world. We still see lots of sharks, but now we focus on all the beautiful fish.

A few sharks who came close enough to check us out.  We gave each other the “eye.”

We came across a lot of napoleon fish.  They have a large bump feature on their head.  These guys are the beasts of the sea.  In the top photo you can see how large they are compared to a normal fish.  I’d say the largest one we saw was at least 1.5meters long!  We also came across a large grouper and trigger (center left), another large trigger (right) and a smaller napoleon (bottom)

I liked to swim close to and under the docks.  Matt captured this above and below water photo while I was near one dock.

A school of rays swam by.  We were not sure if they were spotted or eagle, but they were gorgeous. 

And it appeared to be school day as all the other fish were in schools.

South Pass Beauty

We enjoyed many happy hours at the local dive shop which offered lunch and dinner buffets.  We did not eat with them as they were pricey at $30/$35 respectively for buffet of pizza and raw fish.  But their happy hours were amazing with a beautiful view of the sunset and sharks. 

For the most part, we had absolutely calm conditions to enjoy paddle boarding, swimming, and snorkeling the south pass.

We had many beautiful sunsets and sunrises

We had absolutely lovely weather at the South Pass in Fakarava.  No wind, literally no wind, flat seas and sunny skies.  We just hung out as there was not enough wind to go anywhere else.  Not a hard ship at all.

North Pass – Rotoava (the main village)

Our friends on Agape (Josh and Rachel) were arriving to Rotoava (the main village) soon so we decided to make the downwind sail to town.  It was a lovely 35nm sail with our parasail.  It surprised us by how fast we made it to the new anchorage.  Averaged 7-7.5kts and made the passage in 4 hours.

It had been awhile since we hung out and enjoyed Josh and Rachel!  We had a lovely lunch at a pension (hotel) on the water.

The many happy faces of my husband…

Josh and Rachel had a friend visiting, Kelsey.  We walked the beaches combing for sea shells and picking up trash.  Top photo: Kelsey, Matt, me, Rachel, Josh.

Dinner on Agape with their cat, Gilly.

Rachel and Gilly

Rachel and Gilly

A local “takes care” of a few nurse sharks.  They come around to his house around sunset for some lovin.

We had an opportunity to pet some beautiful nurse sharks.  They felt like sand paper and just enjoyed the soft caress.

It was a lovely visit to Fakarava.  But it is time to move on to Tahiti.

Ta Ta to Tahanea was our last blog post (see passage post).   Events from this blog occurred in March 2022.  Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind our adventures.

Ta Ta Tahanea

After our 5-day passage, we arrive at the Tahanea pass with 4 knots of outgoing current.  Not ideal for our incoming arrival.  But we power up the engines and make it through the pass with no problems.  Yeah us!

Anchoring in Tahanea can be “tricky” as you have to avoid getting your anchor stuck or your chain wrapped around one of the gazillion bommies (little black marks in the photo).  In the middle of the photo is shows the pass where you enter the lagoon.  You can see there is an outgoing current at the time of the phot.

As we were approaching the Tahanea pass we saw a rather large cruise ship on AIS.  Super strange as these are not the “normal” cruising grounds for that type of vessel.

The World

A completely foreign occurrence happened the morning we arrived in Tahanea.  Typically, you will only see a small handful of other sail boats here.  However, a rather large, 196-meter cruiser ship entered the pass and dropped the hook right behind us!  WTF!  Seriously, why would you bring tourist here when there are NO services.  OMG What is this world coming to? 

The cruise ship is called “The World” and it is the world’s largest privately owned yacht.  All of the cabins are privately owned (like condos) and evidently you have to be worth over $5M to be considered for a cabin.  A 700’ cabin will run you about $300,000.  But you will be draped in luxury.  Lucky for us, they left around 5:00pm the same day and we had our anchorage all to ourselves again.  Matt said it “farts rainbows.”

 Boobies, Boobies, and more Boobies

As you know by now, boobies are a type of bird that are super common in French Polynesia.  There are red foot, blue foot, and brown foot boobies.  And they are all super fabulous

There are lots of nesting motus where the a large variety of birds mate.  We enjoy seeing them, but keep our distance so as not to scare them off.

The adolescent boobie (top left) was with a friend and they literally walked or rather waddled up to us.  I took the funniest video (check it out on my instagram account).

 The boobies in Tahanea nest in the trees and on the ground!

Some of the young adult boobies are super curious.  One little guy decided he wanted onboard Sugar Shack!

 Turtle Nest

On one motu we spied these tracks from the water to a spot below a tree.  They were turtle tracks – most likely a large turtle like a leatherback!  One set of tracks left the momma up to the nest and one set of tracks left her back to the water.

A little Relaxation Station

We head to a motu near the eastern most pass and discover a small village.  It is used as a communal area for locals visiting from other atolls.  They even built an outdoor seating area.

 Tahanea Anchorages

 The anchorages here are simply breathtaking!  It is so difficult to express in words so here are a few photos.

 And my favorite anchorage, called “7”  The reef makes a natural “7” in the lagoon.

Tahanea 7 Anchorage

Tahanea 7 Anchorage

So very beautiful.  Our anchorage near the pass at sunset.

We take our time migrating from Gambier to Tahiti (see migration post).   The migration began 25 Feb. in Gambier and ended on 26 March in Tahiti.  Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind our adventures.

Live Updates While Under Way

We will be doing live updates on our blog while on our passage from French Polynesia to Fiji.  So, I have suspended the regularly scheduled programming (blog posts) to prevent confusion.

We will resume our standard blog posts once we arrive in Fiji, but please keep in mind that they will be 10-12 weeks behind when these events actually occurred.  Meaning a post in July might say “Toodles Tahiti” when we actually left Tahiti in early May.

Thank you for following our blog and please continue to send comments, shares, and likes.

You can easily follow our progress directly from our website (here svSugarShack.com).  Click on “Current Location” at the top of the Navigation Bar and then click on one of the links below. 

We are well prepared for this 2 week passage.  All of our safety gear is out and accessible (medical bag, ditch bag, jack lines, EPIRBS, PFDs, and life raft), foul weather gear is out, things are stowed and secure, gingerbread cookies have been made (prevents sea sickness) and weather has been checked, double checked and triple checked.

Several other boats are heading in the same direction, but not all are ready to go now.  It would have been nice to depart with a few others as there is always safety in numbers.  But, we have our good friend Donald who will be our land based weather guru and we have 4 weather sources onboard so we should be fine.  

This will be our longest passage with just the two of us on board.  Our previous passage was 11 days with just Matt and I.  But our overall longest passage was 18 days with 2 additional people on board. 3-hour shifts at night – We’ve got this!

Cheers

Christine and Matt