We left around 3am to motor outside the atoll (moonlight and a friendly, familiar route made this feasible, our first night traveling within a lagoon). We were headed to Kauehi but as we left the lagoon we found a stronger headwind than expected, and a forecast arrival close to dark with a lot of uncertainty. After a couple hours we abandoned that plan and headed to Anse Amyot instead, a longer distance (35 miles or so) but downwind. We had great sailing for several hours but then had to motor to keep up the pace and ensure a daytime arrival. The wind eventually died and I brought down the sails (a reefing line I installed last season got tangled in the rigging and made getting the main down very difficult; once I got the sail down I removed all the reefing lines). This whole passage was more of a learning experience than anything else. Most importantly, we need to leave plenty of room in our planning to arrive in daylight, and need to be very careful when attempting to do single day passages.
Anse Amyot is a unique spot: the anchorage is in a pass, but inside the pass there are shoals everywhere and currents in the pass are light. Very well protected and very easy to get out and dive the outer walls here. Aiki was in the anchorage and in the morning we went over to say hi and chat for a little while. Afterwards we went diving near a mooring ball just outside the pass. After attaching ourselves to the ball some dolphins came by, and I got in the water with my snorkel and swam over to them. There were about 20 spinner dolphins, keeping their distance but visibility was so good I got a good look at them without having to approach closely. They were swimming around pretty casually, socializing with each other, jumping a little bit, there were a few white objects in the water that looked like shells they may have been playing with. A very cool scene. They swam off after a minute; Lisa came over with her scuba gear (she did not have a snorkel in the dinghy) and we looked briefly but did not find them again. We started our dive, heading down to 90′ or so on an outcropping with nice coral and lots of schooling fish — soldierfish, snapper, pyramid butterflyfish. Very pretty. Afterwards we headed down and back along the very steep wall at shallower depths, seeing pretty good coral and fish, a few gray reef sharks deeper down, some rainbow runners and large unicornish off of the wall. While we were diving some cloudy and drizzly weather moved in, and stayed around for most of the rest of the day, while we worked and relaxed on the boat. In the late afternoon we paddleboarded over to shore to look around, briefly talking to Valentine, one of the few people living at this remote spot.
We left in the morning to go diving at a spot a mile to the west of the pass, described in the Soggy Paws guide to the Tuamotus and which the folks on Aiki told us was a really nice area. The shelf typical of outer walls in the Tuamotus is pretty narrow here, and in a number of places there are some nice grottoes in it, as if the coral had collapsed or something. Lots of fish hanging out in these, good coral, very dramatic scene with the wall dropping away so steeply on the outside. Neat sights included a large barracuda off the wall, and a couple small surgeonfish mimicking lemonpeel angelfish. On the way back to Magic we encountered the dolphins again, playing in the ebb waves on the outside of the pass, jumping and spinning a lot and looking like they were having a fun time enjoying life. We dropped things off at Magic and then came back, with Lisa getting in the water with snorkel gear and watching the dolphins for a minute or two before they moved away. Very neat. Afterwards I went off to try surfing at the nearest point, on the east side of the pass and a short paddle from the boat. I didn’t go out with high hopes but ended up having a great time, staying out for over two hours. This was a challenging wave to figure out: the wind was producing some chop and making the waves hard to read, and the takeoff point I eventually figured out was situated in an area where water was draining out, and I kept having to paddle back or awkwardly try to hook the reef with my feet to stay in position. I got quite a few nice little rides, though. Never more than three or four seconds, but the waves were waist to chest high and provided great practice for paddling in and doing popups.
In the morning I went surfing again at the break, but a combination of higher tide, smaller swell, and the low sun making it difficult to see where I was stymied my efforts, and after an hour and only one ride I headed back to Magic. Still fun to get out and paddle around. We went diving outside the pass at the same spot as two days ago, finding similar conditions with lots of fish and so forth. We went down to 100′ early on to check out some schools of fish (the first time Lisa has been this deep!) and later I checked out a deep area a little further down the wall, seeing lots of platelike corals on the wall and interesting topography with vertical sections giving way to a shallower sloping outcropping below. After the dive we did some stuff on Magic, then Lisa went over to Aiki for an hour or two while I tried surfing again. The tide was lower and the sun was lighting up the reef well but the swell seemed even smaller now and I again had little success. Oh well.
In the morning I left for a solo dive at the deep area I checked out yesterday, dropping down to 130′ or so to look around. I got a pretty good look at the plate corals and dramatic vertical topography here, very cool to check out for a few minutes before ascending to shallower water. Lots of fish congregating at the shallower outcropping and the shelf near the site’s mooring ball, hung out with them for a little while as I offgassed and then ascended. After some time on the boat and ashore we went diving under the boat, but visibility was poor and there wasn’t much coral or fish so we headed back to Magic after 10 minutes or so. We went back to the same site as I dove earlier, staying up on the shelf and down to 50′ or so. I was using a snoot and trying to photograph creatures living in the branching coral heads, pretty challenging and easy to fill a dive this way, but I got a few good shots.
Early in the morning it was pretty calm and we went paddleboarding around the anchorage, spotting an eagle ray, some blacktip sharks, and other critters. Later in the morning we went with the crew on Aiki to a spot one mile to the east, named Yellow Dog in the Soggy Paws guide. This was a nice spot with a nice overhanging and sandy areas on the shelf and some dramatic walls further outside. Lisa spotted an anemone with two anemonefish living in it, then there were several juvenile sharks, regular visits from napoleon wrasse, and so forth. Back at Magic we hung out most of the afternoon, then I went for a night dive at the buoy just outside the pass as the sun set. Lots of sleepy fishes at first, then watched the shift change as the night creatures came out over the course of an hour. Lots of crabs, including some large hermits, a couple good sized cancer crabs, many crabs on the coral heads, even the small ones. Lots of shrimp too, including a few big ones. The best sight, though, was on a leaf that was rolling around on the bottom. At first I thought it was an octopus, but then I looked closely and saw four or five baby cephalopods clinging to it. I think they were octopus, but only about half an inch long with large bodies and eyes and small tentacles. They scattered from the leaf as I examined it, and one got onto my hand and slipped into a crevice in my dive computer, the tip of its mantle sticking out, and stayed there the rest of the dive. When I got in the dinghy I coaxed it out and looked at it a minute before putting it back in the water. Very neat. After getting back to Magic we went out shortly to Aiki, who were having a birthday party for one of the owners, Melissa.
In the morning I spent some time dealing with a problem with the compressor; a lot of gunk had made it into the carb somehow and caused it to stick open and drain all its gasoline into the oil pan. After cleaning the carb and replacing the oil it was running well again, fortunately. As I was dealing with this I noticed some decent looking surf at the break, and went over there for a little over an hour, getting several rides. Good riding, not as large as the first day I surfed here, and the strong offshore winds created some chop that made it hard to ride, but fun nonetheless. Afterwards we went diving at the buoy outside the pass, mostly just checking the reef critters out. I kept following mimic surgeonfish around, trying to get photos of them with the targets of their mimicry, lemonpeel angelfish. In the afternoon I spent an hour scrubbing growth off the bootstripe, but otherwise we just relaxed.
Aiki left in the morning and was having some trouble getting their anchor up so I went over to help. While reaching over the bow pulpit to get a line on the end of the chain I tweaked my back a little, and afterwards spent the rest of the day on Magic relaxing and healing.
We went diving in the morning, heading out the pass and a little ways to the west to check out a new area. We spent some time on the steep outer wall, then got drawn into the mouth of the pass by the flooding current and spent a while on a nice coral shelf. Good life including several nudibranchs and an egg-bearing crab in one of the coral heads. Later on I did some engine debugging and afterwards we paddleboarded around the anchorage in the calm conditions, getting a couple tiny rides on waves and spotting a small eagle ray. On the way back to Magic we were invited aboard Imagination, a boat that had entered the anchorage earlier in the day, and talked to the folks aboard for an hour or so, nice time.
In the morning a wind built that entered the anchorage from the north and made things a little rolly. It was a nice wind though and I went out kiting for the first time in a couple weeks. I stayed out a little over two hours and had a great time, heading out of the pass a little ways early on but afterwards short tacking back and forth between Magic and the mouth of the pass, working on transitions. These were feeling really good and over the course of the session I did 50 transitions successfully, 20 of them in the last half hour. We mostly relaxed the rest of the day.
In the morning it was pretty calm and the wave looked nice so I went out surfing pretty early for an hour and a half or so. I got about a dozen rides; conditions were small but just large enough and it was a lot of fun being out, the second best time here after the first day. Back at Magic we went out to go diving. With some north wind conditions were choppy so we started at the buoy just outside the pass. We found poor visibility and a strong ebbing current so returned to the dinghy after a couple minutes, and made a plan to do a drift dive from that spot with me towing the dinghy. This worked out pretty nicely; as we got away from the pass the visibility improved, and there were a lot of fish out feeding in the current. Sights included a visit from three large great barracuda passing by, a cushion star eating some coral (I turned it over and its stomach was out, with a bleached piece of coral underneath it), and a few species of fish we haven’t seen before. Back at Magic, we relaxed a couple hours and then I tried to go surfing again. It was high tide and conditions were very sloppy with waves simultaneously coming from multiple directions, and I didn’t get a ride. I did, however, get stabbed or bitten in the ankle by some creature, leaving a few small wounds. I was curious if this was a mantis shrimp from the shape of the wounds, so after getting back to Magic I went out snorkeling to see if I could find anything. I didn’t see any (and have my doubts now it was one) but the snorkel was really nice. With the flooding tide visibility was excellent, and there were large shoals of snapper, convict surgeonfish, and orangespine unicornfish around, several sharks and many other feeding fish. Watching the waves breaking from underneath was very pretty, and with the flat light and aerated water there was a blue glow about the area, beautiful. Back at Magic we went over to Imagination again for drinks in the evening with them and the crew of another boat in the anchorage.
It was a little windy in the morning, but had shifted around to the east so seas were flat outside the pass. We dinghied over to go diving at the same spot to the west we dove a week or so ago. Nice conditions here with some new fish species, a large variety of unicornfish, somewhat friendly napoleon wrasse. The best sight was at the end: five anemones on the wall with several anemonefish among them and dascyllus hanging around as well. Some of the anemonefish were very protective: when I got in close to take photos they would do this little bobbing thing that seemed almost aggressive, but it’s hard to think of them as anything but super cute. On the way back to Magic I saw there were some waves at the break and tried to go surfing afterwards, but the east winds were strong enough to kick up some chop at the break and make the couple rides I got pretty unpleasant. I could have persisted but was thinking to myself “why am I not kiting instead” so went back to Magic and got ready to go kiting. I messed up the setup pretty badly: after fixing a leak in the kite I crossed some of the control lines, and after deploying the kite I tried fixing that but the kite was still powered up and the twisted lines brought it out of the water and trying to cross the boat, at which point I dumped the safety. After farting around with this a little while the lines got pretty tangled, so I headed aboard to get that sorted and try again. While this was going on I thought of a new drift launch technique where I could wrap the lines up on the bar and fix tangles when the kite is in the water (but not fully powered up), which has the potential to be much faster setting up and taking down than my old system and offered a silver lining to the affair. I prototyped this technique, which went OK (needs some refinement), and finally got out kiting for an hour or so. While this was going on one of the boats in the anchorage was putting six or eight kiters in the water (clearly they had a better drift launch technique than me, inspiring my attempts to improve my own system), some sort of charter I think. It was neat to be out with other kiters for once, but the places I could be were pretty constrained by the foil with all the coral heads around. I still had a great time in the sun and nice wind. After getting back to Magic I went out with Lisa to go snorkeling at the spot I did yesterday afternoon. It was ebbing now, surprisingly, and water clarity was worse but it was still neat to see the breaking waves from underwater and all the fish swimming around. Another trifecta day, technically, but a great day nonetheless.
There was some wind in the morning and other people had already started kiting so I got ready to go after breakfast. I got set up and the kite in the air but the wind at Magic was dropping in and out and the wind seemed to be fading quickly (most other folks had already come in) so I stopped and packed things up. The wave was looking decent (another reason I didn’t kite) and I went over to surf for an hour or so. I got several really good rides early on, then things faded. We went diving afterwards, trying to start at the spot with the anemonefish but being off pretty far and swimming down a new part of the wall in search of them. Good sights including a neat little swim through, several napoleon wrasse, and, at the end, the anemonefish again. After relaxing on Magic we headed out paddleboarding in the late afternoon, staying in the anchorage at first but then heading west to an area I saw while kiting yesterday. This was very nice, clear and protected water with some feeding activity from a large fish and a couple blacktips.
It was very calm in the morning and we went diving, again trying to locate the anemonefish. We were closer this time and found them about 15 minutes in, spending a while with them before coming up. Mostly just smaller fish sightings, but got some good pictures of a couple types of triggerfish that have eluded me. After some time back at the boat we went paddleboarding again at the same spot as yesterday. We were planning on ranging pretty far but early on we started seeing juvenile blacktips and followed them around, hoping to get some footage. We found a shoaling area where several blacktips would swim around in ankle deep water, barely deeper than they were. We got some great looks as they ranged around and came close to us at several points as we stayed still. Very cool. We hurried back to Magic so I could get some drone footage of the sharks, then relaxed on the boat — it was a very warm afternoon.
In the morning I went out paddleboarding at the area we saw the sharks at yesterday. After 45 minutes or so Lisa joined me and we went around again, checking out some shallow areas, fun to explore since the tide was in and we could cruise around without hitting bottom. Grouper, shark, titan triggerfish sightings, the usual stuff, very beautiful. I was able to cross over the edge of the lagoon and out into the (very calm) ocean, a first for me, neat. After some time back at the boat we went diving at a new spot for us, right off the area we had just been paddleboarding at. The coral here wasn’t as great as other spots, but it made up for it with some really great life. Two eagle rays, a turtle, a dogtooth tuna, many redtooth triggerfish feeding, a remora that followed us around for much of the dive, a group of ten or so anemones down at 90-100′ with some anemonefish (didn’t stay too long, it was deep and near the end of the dive), a few new species of fish (a halfmoon triggerfish was particularly beautiful). Great dive. It was kind of squally much of the rest of the day and we hung out on the boat.
In the morning we went diving at the same spot we were at a couple days ago, bringing the wide angle lens and focusing on getting photos and videos of Lisa with the dramatic wall, anemonefish, and some nice fishy overhanging areas. One neat sight was a new species of shrimp goby with a pretty yellow shrimp accompanying it, a big moray under one overhang, otherwise the usual stuff. Most of the rest of the day I worked; it was kind of an unpleasant day with some work related stress and other factors affecting me, and I was pretty crabby. Our evening was alright, but we needed to decompress some the next day.
After breakfast we went ashore and walked around in the tidal flats for a little while, seeing a couple morays and various fish and crabs and other critters. We headed to the dock and talked to Valentine for a long time, were given a couple of black pearls, and walked around to see some baby pigs they had and chickens. Very nice time, Valentine and Gaston have set up a pretty unique homestead and pension here — raising animals, growing coconuts, catching fish and rainwater. Everything you need, really. Afterwards I tried surfing and got a couple rides, but the swell was small and I came back after 45 minutes or so. There was a big napoleon wrasse hanging under the boat which I watched a little while Lisa snorkeled with it; this is the same wrasse that visits the dock nearby, and was really interested in Lisa, circling her repeatedly and coming in close to take a look. In late afternoon we went to try to get some drone footage of Lisa with the baby sharks, but there was a little wind and it was hard to spot them, still a nice time though.
In the morning we went diving at the same spot as two days ago. We wanted to track down the shrimp goby again and get some photos and videos of it; we found it early in the dive and I spent about half an hour there, getting a lot of views of the goby and some of the shrimp, which was pretty shy. After that we swam around some, seeing the anemonefish again and the usual critters. When we got back to Magic there was a nice east wind and I went kiting for an hour and a half or so, sticking to the pass area and getting more practice with transitions, very fun. We relaxed on the boat a while and then headed in to the dock for a little bit to talk with Valentine, Gaston, and another cruising couple hanging out.
In the morning we dove at the same spot that we did the on the 15th, dubbing it the Critter Wall. Not as many critters today, but we saw the two eagle rays again, a very pretty and unidentified coral grouper, some unicornfish getting dental work from cleaner wrasses, and a crown of thorns starfish crawling up the side of a head of branching coral. Lisa saw an octopus on the wall but it retreated before I had a chance to see it. Pretty nice. In the early afternoon I went spearfishing near the surfing wave, getting a couple parrotfish without much trouble. After cleaning them I went surfing for an hour or so, only getting a couple rides but getting some good practice popping up on the feebler waves.
In the morning it was choppy outside the pass but the swell seemed to have increased, and I went surfing for an hour and a half. I was having trouble with equipment — booties, wetsuit, and hat attachment all giving me trouble — but got eight or so hard-won rides in the sloppy but sizable waves. We tried diving afterwards just outside the pass, but the lumpy waves made dragging the dinghy pretty uncomfortable, and a decent current meant I couldn’t leave it tied off to the coral while we went to explore. Still a good time, not a lot of great sights though. I tried going kiting when we got back to Magic but after getting it out a hole blew at one of the tips which I could not quickly repair. I gave up on that (kind of fitting for the last time here before leaving for Tahiti, kiting has been great the last few months but marred by equipment problems), and instead went out to spearfish, shooting a couple of parrotfish pretty quickly (first time I’ve ever succeeded in catching them, I think). The wave still looked pretty good and with the receding tide I went out again afterwards for an hour or so. Equipment and other issues were working better and I got about 15 rides of varying quality, but a few were some of the best I’ve gotten here. Great time. I got back early enough that we could go out for a walk we’d scheduled on the motu on the other side of the pass, circumnavigating it over the course of an hour. Lots of crabs of all different sorts were out, some snails, brittle stars, a shark in the shallows, just lots of life everywhere, very nice, with a pretty sunset to accompany it.
In the morning we repeated the walk from yesterday, seeing many of the same creatures and getting some photos of them. A couple morays were swimming around in the shallows, neat to watch. After getting back I filled tanks and REDACTED. I kind of had a fit and sulked for a couple hours. I think I was pretty affected by the stress of our impending departure and a host of other issues, and it took a while to recover from. Eventually we decided to go diving at the critter wall, and had a good time. A squadron of four eagle rays swimming in formation visited us pretty closely, with another single eagle ray later on. At the end of the dive a manta came swimming by close to the wall, got a good look as it continued on its way. Finally, we did some snorkeling / spearfishing together, first in the shallows above the critter wall and then at the spot near the surfing wave. I caught a parrotfish but only wounded several more, attracting a couple whitetips.
We were planning on leaving for Tahiti in the morning but after the difficult times the last couple days, strong wind in the anchorage making exit difficult, and hearing from Valentine in the morning that she was planning on making dinner for us and some other cruisers tomorrow, we decided to stay a couple days. We talked to Valentine in the morning for a little while, walked around to look at the pigs and chickens some more and did some interviews inland, away from the wind. As we headed back to Magic the wave on the other side of the pass was looking really good (the one I’ve been surfing was blown out by the wind), and I went over there to try surfing with the shortboard. The wave was very similar to the one at Faaite, with smaller waves. Sets were head high or maybe a little more, with the wave breaking steeply onto a well shaped reef. After my lack of success at Faaite even catching a wave on the shortboard, I was nervous about how this would go, but things ended up going really well. At first I was having trouble getting onto the wave; I was pretty far inside and was trying to get on the shoulder next to where it was breaking but in an area where it wasn’t walling up. Eventually I started moving further and further out, short amounts at a time, and finally found an area where it was forming a peak that I could actually get on. It took over an hour to get to this point — I was timid and wanted to be somewhere where I wouldn’t end up on the coral if I rode straight in, but that strategy just doesn’t work on waves like this. Once I found the right spot, I caught eight or ten waves in quick succession. I tried standing up on them, but usually blew the popup, though struggled to my feet a couple times. I don’t think this poor performance was the board’s fault — earlier on I’d stood up on it pretty easily on waves that I hadn’t quite caught — but rather a combination of exhaustion (I hadn’t eaten much earlier) and adrenaline from being on the wave. So things weren’t an unqualified success but I think I made some real progress in breaking into riding on this sort of wave (a longtime dream of mine), and felt great afterwards. Anyways, afterwards we did some snorkeling deeper in the anchorage, seeing some nice sights — spawning parrotfish, some free swimming morays and large triggerfish — despite the wind chop and current. Finally, we went ashore to the motu on the other side of the pass to circumnavigate it again and get some photos of the crabs over there. There were several kittens on the motu (we later talked to Valentine and Gaston, who said they put them there to control the rats, and also provide them with food) which were very interested in us, following us all the way around the motu after we paid a little attention to them early on, swimming after us even, crawling around underfoot and then climbing up us with their sharp claws. Very curious yet not very well behaved, I tried to stay in the water to dissuade them.
In the morning we went out for a last dive here at the critter wall, having another great time as usual. One eagle ray, a dogtooth tuna, several sharks, and a very curious remora at the end. Nice way to end our diving in the Tuamotus for a little while. Back at the boat the wind had died down a little so we pulled the anchor and moved onto a mooring. Most of the rest of the day I worked and we continued to prepare to leave, though we went into shore for a while in the afternoon to have drinks and some food with Valentine and Gaston (the strong winds had put off the scheduled dinner, alas), having a very nice time.
We left the anchorage pretty early and started sailing on a broad reach, finding somewhat lumpy conditions early on which smoothed out a little over time. Very nice time. Around sunset I caught a nice little tuna.
We continued sailing, with conditions dropping slowly over the course of the day. In the late afternoon we were going slow enough (2.5-3 knots) that we were jeapordizing our arrival in Tahiti the next day, so ran the engines through the night.
After motoring much of the morning I put up a full spinnaker, which we hadn’t used in years but which worked out quite well as we could sail it in a run or a broad reach without using a pole (simpler than the asymmetrical spinnaker). We were making about 5 knots of speed in 10 knots of true wind, and had a very pleasant time as we cruised along the north shore of Tahiti and around the northwest point at Faaa. A few miles from Taapuna Lisa spotted some whales near the boat, so we dropped the sail and motored around for a half hour or so, with several other boats joining in to watch them. Very cool, the closest I’ve been to the humpbacks in a while, there were four or five whales in a couple groups swimming about and beautiful to behold in the clear blue water. It was getting late and we couldn’t linger, so we continued motoring and anchored near marina Taina at the same spot as we used before leaving for the atolls four months ago. I got the dinghy in the water and we made our way over to the Carrefours grocery nearby to to get some much needed foods, then back to Magic as it got dark.
We hung out on the boat all day, recovering from the travel of the last couple days and getting reacquainted with the internet after four months without much of a connection.
We rented a car in the morning, and headed to Papara with some boards to check out the wave there before strong southeast winds built which would close it out for several days. The wave there was pretty large and messy, with 15-20 surfers around, some getting good rides. Lisa was interested in boogie boarding but after I went in and saw how powerful the undertow was we backed off from that idea. I tried to surf, having a lot of difficulty just getting past the break and out to the lineup, tumbled several times but did eventually make it out. I was out there for a little while, with not a lot happening, then finally got tumbled by a larger wave breaking pretty far out. I caught the whitewater on another and got a short ride, but came in afterwards — conditions just weren’t that good and I had a lot of other stuff to do. I guess that the reef breaks I’ve been surfing for the last several months have kind of spoiled me as to making it easy to stay in or out of the surf zone. Anyways, after “surfing” we had lunch at the cafe at the break, then did a little shopping before returning to Magic for the rest of the day.
We went shopping much of the day, heading up to Papeete to visit several stores and the haulout yard, and had a very nice lunch back at Le Souffle.
A couple times in the morning I motored over to Taapuna to check out the wave for boogie boarding, but it was pretty jumbly and ebbing both times with no one on the wave so it didn’t seem like the best idea. I mostly worked during the day, though we did some shopping in the afternoon.
In the morning we drove east past Point Venus in search of surfing waves. When we drove through this area back in April there were some areas here where families, kids, etc. were surfing and we were hoping to find similar mellow conditions with the wind swell wrapping around the east end of the island. We saw a couple areas where people were surfing but not the beach we were looking for, traveling as far as Maha’ena before turning around. On the way back I went down to a wind exposed beach with a decent break where several people were surfing, but which was too big for Lisa. I surfed for nearly an hour, only getting a few rides. It was hard to stay in the right area with the strong wind and side rip. Afterwards we continued back, but this time we saw the break we’d been looking for, a short ways east of Point Venus. There were 10 or so cars parked and a lot of people in the water boogie boarding or on foamies enjoying the break. Conditions were still challenging, and just a little bit out chest high waves were breaking strongly and generating another strong side rip. We both went in and had a really good time. I was using the shortboard and had trouble with my popup, but towards the end got several good popups (no real riding to speak of afterward, just practicing). Eventually all the fins broke off my board and we both used it for a little boogie boarding, then back to Magic. In the evening we went back to Papeete with the folks from Aiki to have dinner at the Roulottes, food trucks set up on a promenade downtown. Very nice atmosphere with lots of locals around, and great food.