Tahanea is peaceful, tranquil, and mesmerizing. On most days, it called one of the most beautiful places on earth. Untouched by civilization, rarely visited by man, and generally as God created it. We’ve spent several weeks here last year and 3 weeks this year. This an uninhabited island truly reflects the beauty of French Polynesia.
We spent most of our time in the SE corner of Tahanea. This particular period of time of our visit was during maramu (storm) season. The majority of the storms come from the SE so we were hiding behind the motus for protection.
As you might recall, the Tuamotus archipelago is made up of dozens of atolls (not islands). These atolls have passes that lead into a lagoon. The lagoon is surrounded by a reef and several motus (tiny islands) that separates the Pacific Ocean from the lagoon. The navionics photo below shows the image of Tahanea. The green indicates the reef. The little yellow spots (within the green area) are motus or small islands. The blue is the lagoon and the red arrow is Sugar Shack.
When you zoom into the chart you can see the difference more clearly. In the SE corner there are several motus to explore (yellow areas in green section).
There are a few motus that are being harvested for copra (coconuts). The locals come from other islands and stay for 10-14 days harvesting the coconuts and then go back to their main island. They set up huts or shacks on the island that really consist of 3 walls and a roof. The copra farm in front of our boat is a rather large one.
The locals collect the coconuts, husk them, crack open the center, then use a rapier to shred the coconut meat. They will sell the coconut meat, use the coconut milk and water and dry the coconuts. It is hard labor for very little reward.
One group of copra farmers had left a dog behind. Not sure if the dog had wandered off when they left and they forgot or if it was intentional. The FP population has a different mentality when it comes to animals. When our friends on Jolly Dogs found this puppy, she had worms, mange and was starving. They quickly rallied the cruisers to help her. Mike on “Easy” brought worm medication for her. Cruisers bathed her and covered her in oil daily. The oil suffocates the mange. And everyone has chipped in on the feeding rotations.
Her name is Lassie and she has an incredibly sweet disposition. She doesn’t bark, but she loves to howl. She will follow anyone down the beach and will swim out to you to go on a paddle board ride down island. He mange is slowly disappearing (you can see her hind quarters and tail are hairless).
Mike on “Easy” was kind enough to take her to Fakarava where there is village, more people, and more opportunity for her. It will give her a much better chance of survival. Thank goodness.
We explored one of the far off motus while we were in the SE corner where we found several baby boobies. The red foot boobies build their nests in the low hanging branches of the trees. They are so darn cute and fuzzy.
Swimming with Manta Rays and Marlin
We sailed up to the pass when we had a break in the weather. We needed a change of scenery and wanted to snorkel the pass. Last year, we had an amazing opportunity to swim with the mantas and got an up close and personal opportunity.
This year we swam the same pass, the north pass, and were blessed to swim with two very large mantas. Unfortunately, they were 12-15 meters deep so I only saw them from the top. However, our friend Mike on “Easy” is a free diver and was able to see them up close.
Mike was showing off and decided to swim down to a sleeping shark. The poor shark was peaceful in his sleep and woke up to an intruder.
We had a sundowner / happy hour on Sugar Shack with great friends and libations!
Matt flew the drone on one particularly calm day. He captured the sunrise over this peaceful and majestic anchorage. Mike on “Easy” followed us back to the SE corner to get a prime spot for hiding out from the upcoming storm. By the end of the day, there were 16 boats anchored here.
Sunrise photos inside the lagoon of Tahanea.
Kinda takes your breath away…right?
“Easy” and Sugar Shack resting in peace in Tahanea.
Bird’s eye view of Sugar Shack from the sky
This post was written in June 2020. Our blog posts are usually 6 to 7 weeks behind are true adventures.
Did you miss our other post on Tahanea? Check it out here.