The Quest in Kauehi, The
photos from the top of our mast characterize the Tuamotu Archipelago.
Here we are anchored in front of St. Mark's Church at Kauehi.
views all around us were spectacular. Quest at anchor in the Kauehi
atoll. These atolls are basically very low volcanic and coral craters.
We have entered via a pass in the reef and have found our way to the
anchorage. You see some coral heads around the boat which made our
departure a bit problematic. We were wound around one coral head and our
anchor was stuck under another. We had to put Cheryl into the water to
help us figure out the maze. Then Scott had to wind the boat around the
anchorage to extricate ourselves.
flew both the French and Tahitian courtesy flags on our starboard flag
Church is always a good way to get acquainted with the local people.
What we noticed was that the congregation was made up of adults and
young children. Middle school and high school aged children leave home
to go to school on other islands.
around town is a great way to figure out what's happening in a town.
This is a pretty prosperous looking house with imported windows! You see
the rain gutters and large black water tanks behind the house for
collecting water. We're standing about 2 - 3 feet above sea water! Also
notice the large cables to hold the house down in a big blow! Folks in
all the islands really enjoy flowering plants and cultivate them around
their houses in spite of the very very poor soil. The soil is really
coral sand and the underground water is brackish.
are a common form of transportation around this small community. We
found that people liked to have their pictures taken. This boy is in
front of the elementary school.
scene with the little girl (right) intrigued us. You see that the house
has electricity (see the meter). The rain gutters are a means of
collecting water - which is in short supply. Of course, see Quest at
everywhere find ways to have fun! On a Sunday, parents are home relaxing
and kids are out playing. (left)
our walk around Kauehi Scott (right) inspects the hanging seeds for the
pearl farms. One of the pain industries in these islands is pearl
farming. These black hanging things are the seeds on which the oysters
is another product of the Tuamotus. It comes from drying coconuts before
extracting coconut oil. The coconut oil is used in cosmetics and foods.
These coconut shells are stacked and drying. Coconuts are also used to
feed pigs and the empty shells are used as a source of fuel.
was like the Pied Piper with these kids. They wanted to show us
everything in the town.
boys kept bringing flowers to Cheryl and me. I guess they knew the way
to a woman's heart!
in and out of the passes of these atolls can be tricky! We left Kauehi
on our way to Fakarava. We had to time each departure and arrival with
slack tide or at least a favorable tide.
The Quest in Fakarava, The
anchored just inside the pass behind the reef in southern Fakarava. You
can see some of the "stuff" we had to dodge coming through the pass.
This was one of the more complicated entrances we had - a bit shallow,
dodging reefs and fish farms. There were several good markers though -
two red, two green and a cardinal mark. The markers marked the reefs on
either side and served as range markers as well. The sticks in the water
is a fish farm. The brown to the right of the sticks is a reef at low
tide. Between that reef and the orange marker is where the Quest had to
pass. It's not too wide, so you have to pay attention!
know you've heard me say how friendly, helpful and generous the island
people are... ...well, now you can put a face to at least one of these
lovely folks! This lady ran the dive operation in southern Fakarava. She
told us when the right time was to do our drift dive through the pass
and where we could get dinner ashore. Just to her left is the pass going
out to the ocean. Currents can get pretty strong through here!
did some "drift dives" through this pass. It was probably one of the
best areas we swam. The fish and coral were fabulous. I don't have an
underwater camera, but here are a couple of shots from the dive dock. of
the sea life there in the area.
fish were right under the dock! You can see that I'm anxious to get an
underwater camera so I can take "real" pictures of fish and coral!
The place we went for dinner was a pension about a mile from the dive shop.
This is one of the bungalows that are separate and private with your own
bath. The native construction was beautifully designed and executed.
walked around the "grounds" of the pension. Quest is anchored behind me
in about 35 feet of water. You can tell the depth by the color of the
on the northern aspect of the Fakarava atoll is quite built up. The main
road is paved (with speed bumps). And people here again enjoy the
beautiful flowering shrubs around their homes.
took the dinghy a few miles down the island to a hotel for lunch and
entertainment. These prefab homes are quite popular in the islands where
building materials are scarce.
hotel had a beautiful dock and beach area. We were able to tie up the
dinghy at the dock.
visited the Mai Tai Hotel for a little R & R. I was interested in the
use of the wood of the palm trees in the furnishings. The native
carvings are also very attractive.
dancing was a nice entertainment with our lunch - eaten on the patio.
With the middle school and high school aged kids away at school the
dancing was missing a little of its pizazz.
wind came up on the way "home" to the big boat. Fortunately the wind was
behind us and we had our intrepid captain, Scott at the helm!
The Quest in Rangiroa, The
next destination was Rangiroa - also in the Tuamotus. Often the
fishermen catch fish and keep them alive in pens until the supply ship
arrives to take them to Papeete. This insures the freshest possible
product. The birds like to hang out around the pens - just hoping for a
snack! You see the Quest at anchor in the background.
Kia Ora Hotel on the shore offered a nice setting, dining room and bar.
I love the use of local resources: shells, bamboo, roots, wood carving.
woven palm fronds, reeds, etc. A shuttle to the airport helped Cheryl
find her way home :-(
is anchored right off the Kia Ora Hotel. They have been very welcoming.
You can see the guest bungalows over the water.
grounds of the hotel signal that we're headed for civilization!
a nice example of the breadfruit tree. The leaves are particularly
of the fruit-bearing plants in the area.
low tide much of the outside reef is showing. Just a very little
distance from the reef the ocean floor is thousands of feet deep. This
is why these islands are called "The Dangerous Islands." Parts of these
atolls don't even protrude above the sea level. So, at night one could
easily run into one of them and destroy their boat. We normally plan our
approach in the early part of the day.
little place on Rangiroa served the best hamburger: homemade buns, fresh
lettuce & tomato - what's not to like? AND, we've been eating a lot of
fish lately! We could also leave our dinghy here while we explore.
was able to get these shots from the hamburger stand!
took the "taxi" along the motu to find some gasoline for the dinghy.
were also able to find some fresh fruits and vegetables. It turns out
that most of the produce is imported from New Zealand and Australia.
is the mayor's office on Rangiroa. The northern aspect of Rangiroa is
the largest settlement of the Tuamotus. And I think it has the longest
ruins date from the 1800's These old structures as well as the historic
church in the background are made by sawing bricks of coral as building
building in the foreground is the post office. We went there just to
check it out as we were hours too late to get the phone card we desired.
However, Scott walked in and started talking to the lady and she was
kind enough to sell one to us even though they weren't officially open.
The building behind this one is also a government building.
can wait under this tree for the water taxi that will take you to the
other side of the pass. The water taxi had a 150HP engine while our
dinghy has an 8HP engine. With the tide running we decided it was safer
to take the water taxi. You can see how the people decorate the trees
with oyster shells! Also, you might be able to see people fishing in the
rough waters near the pass where the fish like to feed.
we tried to go snorkeling we found the tide was VERY high! The supply
ship came in the night before and folks were trying to unload their
picked up some debris on the way to the dock. We thought we'd go out and
view the pass from the road!
walked out to the pass and found that this was NO time to be swimming in
the water! This is what they call a standing wave. It's caused by the
water rushing out of the lagoon. This is no place for Quest and
certainly not our dinghy. We had been waiting for the wind to come up to
sail to Papeete, but now we have to be concerned for the tides as well -
this is pretty extreme. Scott & I took off for Tahiti that afternoon -
and the wave in the pass was formidable.