Author: svrondo

Fakarava Part Trois ~ Katelyn

The dads helping the kids set up their hammocks for a night on the beach

We spent another two weeks at the same anchorage learning how to kite board. I was finally able to get up on the board and go for about five minutes. Seahorse, our friends we met in Galapagos, came and we had them over for dinner. The next day, their friends arrived, and we went wake boarding behind the dinghy. Michael got up on his first try and I got up on my third. We planned to sleep on the beach, (I know I said I hated it, but I got a better hammock to sleep in). Michael put a tarp over where we were sleeping so it was much better when it rained. The next day, we slept on the beach again, but this time a lot more kids came. We slept almost the whole day after that. Over the weeks, we had a pig roast (we watched as the pig was going to get cooked, it was horrible). I had more kite boarding lessons, and we went wake boarding again. We had dinner on Seahorse once and attempted to make a movie but gave up five minutes into it. My parents and brother went diving at the south pass one time, while I stayed home with four other girls on my boat. 

After our two weeks in that anchorage, we left for the main town, Rotoava. We saw our friends Queen ,and I went into town with my friends Linn and Leah to buy some ice cream. We got a lot of groceries and did some things on the internet while we were there, and I met new kid boats named Maple and Vega. Over all, it wasn’t an exciting three weeks and I was getting sick of Fakarava.

Fakarava Part Deux ~ Katelyn

We motored half the day before arriving at the main town in Fakarava, Rotoava. Our friends, who arrived the day before us, brought us some fresh baguettes from town.  We went into town with them to get some internet. The internet was really good, and they let us stay the whole day if we just bought a drink. We ended up staying all afternoon, and all our friends showed up. We ate dinner at a really good Panini/Crepe place. We didn’t do many interesting things in the town except go out to eat and shop and get internet. Once we went to church at night, but everything was in French so we couldn’t understand a word. 

Eventually all our friends left. They didn’t have long-stay visas, so they had to get out of French Polynesia in three months or less. We rented bikes and rode around the island one day. We stopped by a pearl farm and learned how the pearls are made and bought some of our own. Most of the pearls are black, and they said thirty percent of pearls harvested are imperfect. We also rode to a tall pyramid and found lots of dead star fish. We went back to the sandy anchorage the next day.

Back in Hirifa, our friends from Queen came over, and we played a board game and made arts and crafts with them. I paddled to the beach a lot to play with the puppies, too. The third day we were there, all the kids decided to spend the night and the following half day on the beach. We brought our hammocks, food, water, etc. We built a little waterproof hut where we put our things and hung our hammocks up. The parents came to the beach later and checked over our work and made a fire to burn their trash. A few of the boys stayed up late and kept the fire going till morning (even when it rained the fire didn’t go out). When it rained, all the girls got wet, but the boys magically stayed dry. It was a miserable night for us – millions of mosquitos, wet hammocks, and very little space to move around. Everybody was squished together in their hammocks. One of the worst things was the boys. They were so loud and screamed at the top of their lungs. They were incredibly rude too (Michael is excluded from all of the above). Since the parents weren’t around, they could do anything they wanted, so they swore a lot. Over all, that night was one of the worst in my life. 

The day was much better. We woke at five o’clock in the morning, and it wasn’t raining. We had a quick breakfast and some snacks and sat around the fire that was still alive. We saw a lady (one of the locals) walking towards us, and we all were worried she would kick us off the beach. Luckily, she was nice and was just curious as to what we were doing. We started swimming, and when it got really cold, we ran back to the fire to get warm. The wind was constantly changing, so the smoke would blow everywhere.  We constantly had to move if we didn’t want to sit in the smoke. I forgot to mention that three puppies spent the night with us, and we had more wildlife in the morning. The pigs came at around six and stayed with us pretty much the whole time after that. One looked quite aggressive towards the dogs, but we didn’t have any problems. They were so calm. We started petting them, and they were fine. It started raining again at six and stopped every so often. We managed to keep the fire going the whole time, which required a lot of work. We had to go fetch wood constantly and eventually couldn’t find any dry wood. We threw wet wood on the fire, and it took a long time to burn. It stayed this way for four hours. It got to the point where we were fetching wood instead of sitting by the fire, so what we were doing was pretty much pointless.

At six, one of the kids couldn’t take it anymore and his parents came to pick him up. At ten, a huge gust of wind came through, and we watched as at least two boats dragged anchor, and all of them tipped so violently that their masts were almost touching the water. The rain stopped after that big gust, and that’s when I started packing up all of our stuff. It took me half an hour to get all the sand off my things and put everything away. The dogs managed to get some of our food by tearing up the boxes on the outside. With the last burning wood in our fire, we burned our trash and then it took a while to put it out. Our parents came at eleven and the nightmare was over.  

Fakarava ~ Katelyn

After coming through the Fakarava south pass, it took us awhile to find a good anchor spot.  When we finally anchored, we were a long way from the other boats. That day we snorkeled the pass, which was cool, but there was a strong current rushing us out to sea. The snorkeling wasn’t great (I know, we’re spoiled), but it was refreshing and fun to get in the water. We snorkeled the next morning, however, and thought it was amazing. The one thing that made the south pass so popular was its sharks. It is called the “Wall of Sharks.” I would more likely call it a “carpet of sharks.” There were at least two hundred sharks swimming underneath us. We were going to scuba dive the pass, but after seeing so many, I passed on the pass. We stayed there a few nights and walked into town to see the place. It was a very small town with no stores. For decoration in their church, they made a seashell chandelier. 

We left for another anchorage in Fakarava where it was supposed to be sandy. Once we were anchored, a few kids went to the beach (including my mom). At the beach, I was delighted to find three puppies. They tried to chew on anything we brought (including the paddle board). Once we put away our stuff, they were satisfied just chewing on my hair or hand. Also while we were on the beach, a giant boar came and chewed on the grass not too far away. He didn’t seem interested in us.  When a kid threw a rock at him (against my will), it bounced off, and he didn’t even flinch. My mom was scared into the water when the pig walked up to her (when I say walked up to, I mean seven meters away). That night we had a lightning storm, and our AIS was fried from a proximity lightning strike, again. Other things were broken but we were able to fix them. Most everyone left that day except for us and one other kid boat. Michael and the dad from the other boat, Kevin, took a freediving class.

In their class they did lots of breathing exercises and yoga. Now Michael can hold his breath for two and a half minutes and can dive sixty feet. While he was in the water freediving, we were watching a movie and paddle boarding. I paddled to the beach once to see the puppies and once with my dad to explore the creeks and snorkel. 

The next day we left for the biggest town on Fakarava.

Tahanea ~ Michael

While leaving the Makemo pass, we saw birds working in the distance. My mom said that we always see birds and nothing ever happens. Dad thought mom was crazy.  We started getting closer, and there were more and more birds. Once we got there, we saw lots of oceanic white tip sharks. They were all longer than me. Then we saw yellow fin tuna jumping in every direction. There were thousands of tuna. A huge whale shark came, so we reeled in the lines to avoid it getting caught on the shark. When we got one line in, it had a tuna on it. The whale shark came about a foot away from hitting our rudder and damaging our boat. While it was close, we put a mask on and stuck our head in the water to get a closer look at the shark.  Once the shark left, we set our lines out, but all the fish were gone. We only got a few bites on our lures after that. Now, we have no hard lures left.

Once we got to Tahanea, we anchored and everyone except me snorkeled the pass while I spearfished on the beach. Over the next few days, we just relaxed and spearfished. We had a shark come up to our boat that was a sickle fin lemon shark. It stayed around our boat all day. We ate some grapefruit. I usually take out my retainers and put them on my plate and then peel the fruit and discard it in the ocean. I did that again, except this time, I forgot to take my retainers off my plate. I noticed them falling off my plate and immediately jumped in after them. I got one but could not see well underwater. I got goggles on and got in, and the shark was there. It was bigger than me. My dad said I could not swim with him. We tried later but could not find them. After that, we realized that the shark was nice (Bob the shark). He is the friendly anchorage shark that visits each boat for a few hours.

I made a lure the next day, and it worked really well. I immediately lost it the next day by a fish taking it under a rock. I was able to make another lure the next day. We felt bad for eating all the grouper around us. The next day we left.

Katelyn as we sail at sunset to the next atoll, Fakarava.