What a difference 24 hours makes.

We left Raiatea yesterday around 12:30 and headed out to sea toward an
atoll called Maupihaa or Mopelia or Lord Howe Island. It’s still part of
French Polynesia. The sailing went well, but not without a few hiccups.
Nothing major though.

The single entrance to this lagoon is always flowing out at a very fast
rate. Consequently, it’s difficult driving to get in. Susan did a superb
job of it. Still my heart raced as we came in. The water was rushing by
the boat so fast and one wrong turn and we’d crash on the reef. The boat
kept trying to turn sideways and head back out. With her deft driving
skill we were inside in no time.

Birds of all sorts buzzed by the boat to check us out. We wandered
around the lagoon for a while and choose an anchorage. It is the picture
of what you imagine a deserted island to be. However, it isn’t quite
deserted. Ten people live here and one came out in a boat to greet us.
He did his best to communicate and from the combination of his English
and French I got some of what he said. His family has lived on this
atoll for 50 years. He was born off the atoll. More than one family
comprises the 10. Another boat left yesterday. The floating balls we see
are from a no more black pearl operation. He wanted to trade lobsters
for rum. Are we sure we didn’t have rum? It’s not for him, but for
someone else at the other end of the island. We gave him some fruit and
he departed.

This is a extremely special place that very, very few get to visit. It
is already an immense treat and we haven’t even explored yet. I did take
a quick dunk in the water to see huge coral head that is fairly close to
the boat. It is teeming with fish. There are quite a few varieties I
don’t know. I’ll have to go again and then come back to look them up in
the books Susan has on board.

We’re having some trouble getting weather reports from our
buoyweather.com provider. So, if anyone would like to look up the
weather for us, we’d be geatfull. It’s difficult to find, but somewhere
on the internet it exists. We’re at 16.46S, 153.56W.