The beauty of Puaumu takes my breath away. We had this beautiful motu all to ourselves for well over a week where we simply enjoyed nature. The waters have so many different shades of blue that you could create your own blue rainbow.
Puaumu is located in the north east corner of the Gambier Archipelago. Two local families own this motu which makes it private. On occasion, locals will come out here for the weekend and enjoy the beautiful setting. Cruisers tend not to come this far north because it is not charted, but it is still navigable. Below you can see where the charts end…white space.
The windward side, facing the Pacific, looks like it has a sandy shore. However, that is not the case. Dark rocks and coral line the tree line and the shore line is covered in light rocks and coral. Sugar Shack in the background.
Puaumu is a medium sized motu. It is about .4nm in length and .1nm in width at the widest part. The center of the island is covered in a palm trees and a variety of lush green trees. The windward side is covered in coral and rocks making it a challenge traverse across. The leeward side is a small sandy beach home to tons of hermit crabs and other sea/land-based critters. Many coral heads liter the lagoon side of the island making it a challenge to navigate to a safe anchorage.
Matt caught the sun lighting up the tree tops at sunrise. The shades of blue in the lagoon start out turquoise and slowly blend in to a beautiful hue of purple.
This photo gives you an idea of how very isolated we are when we visit this small piece of paradise. This shot looks at the far left (North West) corner of Puaumu.
Love this reflection of Sugar Shack in the water.
Check out our reflection
Looks like the sun is our anchor light on steroids.
A few more stunning photos
Sunrise at Puaumu
Moonrise at Puaumu
Love this photo of the sun reflecting off of our dagger board.
The American Flag never looked so good. Made of Sunbrella – thank you ManuKea.com for the awesome flag that lasts forever and still looks beautiful!
Port Sugar Scoop / Transom – just a wee bit proud of our home!
Just a beautiful sunset with colorful rays in the sky.
The Polynesian beauty can be found everywhere. In the smile of a local, in the fresh scent of the tiere bloom, in the sparkle of a pearl, and in the setting of the sun. It just seems to abound from every nook and cranny in this country.
Over the last two years we have accumulated several “imperfect pearls.” Birthdays, trade, thank you gifts, etc… An imperfect pearl can be one that is not particularly colorful or full of luster. Or maybe it is marked or odd shaped. Either way, there are loads of them around. Technically, they cannot be sold.
One day I decided to see if I could put together a unique design using small pearls from my little collection. I was super pleased to find 28 pearls of the same size. I approached a local jeweler and asked her to drill them, and create a stunning necklace. In the states this would most likely cost well over $2k, but here it cost me about $90. I am super happy with this striking, one-of-a-kind necklace.
Polynesian Pearl Necklace
Sunrise and Sunsets
We are usually blessed with either a gorgeous sunrise or sunset. We try to stop what we are doing to enjoy these magnificent opportunities. Sometimes we sleep through the sunrise, but most times we get lucky.
This is a sunrise over Aukena. We captured it from the Rikitea main village anchorage.
Sunset behind Aukena
Matt has such a good eye when it comes to photos. He captured the same sunrise from the bow with our sail bag and solar panels.
Sunrise over Aukena
At anchor in Puaumau, we have an unobstructed view of the sunset. One night we captured a big storm cloud on the horizon just as the sun was setting.
Storm cloud on the horizon
The full moon rose to its glory of the motu of Puaumu.
Moonrise over Puaumu
Puaumu is a gorgeous anchorage that many cruisers don’t visit (for whatever reason). However, it is one of our favorite anchorages with crystal clear turquoise waters, great snorkeling, fun exploring, and privacy.
INSERT 2 COLLAG OF PUAUMU
We had a break in the rain on a particular stormy day. It was the “calm after the storm.” Which created this beautiful Polynesian scenery with calm seas and fluffy clouds.
Polynesian Beauty: Taravai Anchorage
Lots of pretty tide pools around low tide that reflect the puffy clouds and showcase the young sea life.
Beautiful friends, new and old.
Me, Ruby, Eve
Our beautiful Polynesian friend Valerie, her new puppy PoPo and Roxy. Roxy wanted in because Valerie was showering Popo with love.
Events from this blog post occurred during the last few weeks of February 2021. Our blog posts run 8-10 weeks behind our adventures.
We celebrate the New Year Polynesian style on Sugar Shack.Little did we know what we were in for when we agreed to host our friends for New Year’s Eve.Our friend’s Stephan and Manu took care of everything and I mean everything from food, drinks, décor, music, cooking, and cleaning.
Stephan and Manu came over around 1700 to drop off the food, chafing dishes, grills, coolers, drinks, folding table, and décor.It took Matt and Stephan three trips in the dinghy to get it all on board.We were expecting 11-12 people including one other cruiser, Eve from “Auntie” and 9 Polynesians.
Manu came prepared with flowers, palm fronds, and décor.She is so sweet! She showed me how to decorate with the plants/flowers, brought batteries for all the décor and we had fun creating an oasis on the boat.Bottom right corner is Stephan and Manu during pre-party prep.
New Year Celebration
Two large chafing dishes were filled to the brim.One was dedicated to rice (they love their rice) and the other had fried bananas, fried oranges, potatoes, grilled bananas, and green beans.
They rented three portable grills powered by a type of propane and 12 dishes of food.Basically, the three grills were placed in the cockpit on our table and the folding table.When it was time for dinner, we brought out several boxes of food and Stephan grilled the meats which included shrimp, beef, chicken, pork, and fish.Guests loaded their plates with rice and vegetables and then the cooked meats were passed around.
The bottom right photo was just a funny photo of some of the shoes…most were left in the dinghy.
Stephan also brought a cooler full of beer, rhum, lychee rum, raspberry cider, whiskey, and tequila.Each group that came brought their own cooler full of liquor as well.Nobody touched our liquor because they all brought their own. We thought hosting included us doing something…but nope! They would not impose or consume any of our food or drinks. Nor would they allow us to cook or clean.
The New Year Party
After we fed everyone the first dinner (yes, there will be a 2nd dinner before the night is over) we headed to the bow.Manu had brought these super cool balls that lit up and changed colors.It was the hit of the party for sure.We hung out at the bow until midnight. After all it would not be a new year celebration without glow, right?
At midnight there were fireworks on the dock.Totally surprised us all as nobody expected them.It was super short, maybe 2 minutes worth, but really cool! An excellent way to ring in the New Year.
The obligatory post next to our sail bag :0
The ladies all had beautiful floral crowns. I was very envious.Bottom left: Manu and I, bottom middle: Manu and Stephan, bottom right: full moon as it rose above the clouds.
A few of our guests took turns playing Polynesian music.Several truly magical moments happened when they all sung along with the music in true Polynesian fashion.What a blessing it was to ring in the Near Year on such a beautiful night, with a full moon, lots of food and drinks and good friends.
The funny thing is timing.Cruisers refer to 2100 (9:00pm) as sailor’s midnight.Why?Because we are usually in bed by that time.We are also up at sunrise.Eve, Matt, and I were wondering how we were going to manage to stay up until midnight.Lots of laughter and good company helped us solve that problem.Eve left around 12:30am and the party was still going.Matt passed out around 0300 and it was still going.
Right around 0300, the food came back out.Which is a good thing as we had enough to feed over 40 people!There was so much food!Stephan cooked up a second meal for everyone.
Somewhere around 4:00am, as the sun was rising, I had to tap out.I asked Stephan if they could move the party to the dock as I was going to fall flat on my face!We got everyone off the boat and I did some basic cleaning (put the food away, cleaned up some of the mess that might attract bugs/ants) and crashed hard around 4:45am.
Somehow, I remembered to turn off all the electronics, battery operated lights and décor, bring in the underwater light, closed the hatches, turned off the VHF, and shut the shades.I was hoping to sleep at least until noon!Ha!Didn’t happen. I woke up 4 hours later and started the massive cleaning project.
The First Day of the New Year
Everyone offered to come back over to clean but I tackled the project as Matt recovered.We still had the folding table, grills, chafing dishes and tons and tons of food and liquor.Stephan and Manu came over with 4 other people and we enjoyed a New Year’s Day dinner.
Believe it or not, there were still lots of left-over food and drinks.We luckily piled it all back into the coolers and loaded it in the dinghy to bring it back to Stephan’s house.
We found out that they took the party to the dock and then the beach.They never went to bed!Yep, can you believe that?Of course, they are all in their 30’s.
An absolutely excellent way to start the New Year of 2021!
New Year’s celebration in this blog post occurred on NYE 2020.Our blog posts run 8 weeks behind our adventures.