No telephone signal, an extremely weak internet so I guess any blog updates are impossible for the next couple of days.
Will try nevertheless (it took half the night to upload this photo).
Some highlights for today
The Maupiti Pass
It is very clear on this photo that there is only one passage to enter the lagoon. It is one of the few, if not the only one, south facing entrance to the lagoon in the archipelago. The pass is also considered as one of the most dangerous in the South Pacific.
The Maupiti pass, called Onoiau, is located in the south of the lagoon and is oriented north-south. It is long and very narrow, which makes it subject to weather conditions. If the wind is too strong from the east or south-east – i.e. if it exceeds 15 knots – the swell that rises crashes into the entrance to the pass, making passage dangerous or even impossible.
Similarly, if there is a residual southerly swell, even without wind, it can interfere with the entrance. The recommended limit is 1m50 for the swell. Beyond that, it is better to wait before venturing towards the small island. Finally, you must also take into account the current in the channel, which is always outgoing, and can be more or less strong. In particular if there has been (or still is) a lot of wind and the lagoon has to be emptied of its excess water or depending on the tide.
Today it is extremely calm and no wind and the captain took us through the narrow passage. The view of the waves on each side was very impressive and I certainly would not approach them in bad weather or during high tides. Once we were through the captain proudly said “now we are in the ocean”.
The Manta Rays
I sit most of the time right at the front of the boat on the look out
And of course we do spot a few rays and immediately jump in the water. Quite a sight everytime. They are so majestic.
The Coral Garden
Similar to other islands, there is a specific spot called the “Coral Garden”. It is a paradise for snorkelling as the current simply carries you and all you have to do is admire the corals and the fish. It really feels like you are floating in an aquarium.
I have a lot of videos which I am still sortig out before linking them
After the morning’s boat tour, the captain drops us off on one of the islet (motus) where every weekend the locals (popolation on the island is 1.450) and a few tourists gather for lunch and an afternoon of local music and dances.
Lunch is cooked in the ground and covered with branches and leaves. Vegetables, fish etc are cooked for hours. Tastes fine accompanied by a Tahiti beer.
We are treated to a boat trip round the island in the lagoon on the way back from the motu to our accommodation. That was not expected and was a the crown on a very pleasant day. it is less than a 5 minutes walk from the beach we are dropped off to the house.
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