We went biking at Eagle Mountain, as it had rained lately and we read that conditions here were pretty dry. We did a loop of about 8-10 miles through much of the singletrack, the trails were pretty nice though getting past all the construction at the trailhead (new houses encroaching on the trails) was unpleasant. I would go back, though really only as a last option as it’s pretty far from SLC itself.
My 36th birthday! Hung out at the house.
After some pressure in the morning to finish packing we flew out from SLC and arrived in Papeete late in the night. It felt very hot and humid compared to what we were used to but nice to be back at the boat.
Boat projects and hanging out.
Did some shopping and had a nice lunch downtown.
In the morning we went surfing near Pt Venus. It was super crowded with lots of big tents set up on the beach and hard to find a place to park, but after getting in the water we were able to find an area that was a little quieter. It was also pretty windy with smaller long period waves and sloppy conditions, but still fun to get out. 32 rides.
Hanging out on the boat.
We went hiking on the road to the waterfall we’ve done a couple times so that Lisa could try out her new drone, but it started raining not long into the hike and we aborted. We drove back to Punaauia and practiced with the drone (super fast compared to the last one) in a large field set off from the highway.
We went surfing near Pt Venus again. Conditions were still windy and sloppy and I had difficulty getting rides at the beginning, but after some practice things improved a bit. 31 rides.
Hanging out on the boat.
Shopping, lunch in town.
We went surfing near Pt Venus. The wind had come down and conditions were pretty clean, with the swell a little higher than last time as well. I had a lot of fun and got 50 rides, the most so far with my new popup technique, getting things reasonably dialed in.
In the morning I did some experiments to test the alkalization models I’ve been developing recently. Later in the afternoon we went paddleboarding out to the edge of the reef (I thought I could paddle out to the ocean from there but didn’t try), which was nice.
4/14 – 4/16
Hanging out on the boat.
In the morning we went hiking on the road to the waterfall, intending to try out the new drone again. It was sunny but also buggy and muddy and not very pleasant, and we were missing an iphone cable to connect the display so aborted. Back at the boat I launched it from the trampoline and flew it around a little bit, though reception was bad (probably due to all the other boats and activity in the area) and I didn’t go too far, landing it on the boat without issues afterwards. In the evening there was an incident with the engine. I needed to charge the batteries but the generator wasn’t working (the problem turned out to be loose wiring in the power cord) so I started the port engine, forgetting that earlier in the day I’d removed the oil pressure switch to try to find a replacement in town (unsuccessfully). I didn’t replace the switch and the oil spurted out of its hole, and without the switch there was no associated alarm. I only ran the engine a few minutes before I noticed the problem but it was definitely pretty worrisome.
In the morning I added oil back to the engine and it seemed to be running fine. I also did some more maintenace tasks with the other engines on the boat, then hung out on the boat the rest of the day.
Hanging out on the boat.
After preparing to leave, we refueled and headed out the pass in the afternoon, trying to get to Anse Amyot though with a couple alternatives if the weather didn’t cooperate. We had some tail wind heading clockwise to Pt Venus and near Tahiti, which then switched around to the SE and strengthened, allowing us to sail for several hours. Conditions switched around during the night and by the morning settled into a light east wind which we motored / motor-sailed against.
We continued motoring in the morning, with a booby resting on one of the pulpits. A squid apparently tried to attack one of our fishing lures during the night, as it had snagged a foot long tentacle. Winds were pretty calm through the day and night and we puttered along, nice weather.
Winds were stronger today varying in intensity (apparent wind 10-20 kt) and direction but generally on or close to the nose. We tried motor sailing on one engine but were having trouble making enough headway (2-2.5 kt SOG), and eventually started the second engine to make better progress. The winds calmed during the night but we were dealing with an opposing current as well so continued with both engines.
With continuing calm weather we arrived Anse Amyot in the morning, dolphins greeting us at the entrance and then very crowded with 10 or so boats packed around the moorings (there is a rally going through it seems) but no one was around our old spot further out towards the pass so we went there. I spent an hour or so in the water setting up a temporary mooring (bit of a learning experience) to keep the boat in place and avoid damaging the coral. After some more prep time we went to shore to see Valentine and Gaston and give them some fresh foods from Tahiti, getting some treats from them as well. Then we went diving outside the pass, cruising around in the 40-60′ range. This was a great dive, with lots of fish life including several big, curious napoleon wrasse, a school of huge barracuda, and a couple sharks. Late in the afternoon we walked around the island on the other side of the pass, spotting a couple blacktips and a flounder and assorted other critters. It felt great to be back in the Tuamotus.
In the morning we went diving on the critter wall a half mile SW of the anchorage. Lots of sharks for this spot, several gray reef sharks interested in us early on and then a friendly white tip and distant black tip later on. Great fish life, enjoyable dive. There was a good current that took us a ways down the wall, and we ended up exploring some of the cutout sections of the reef that we saw here last year. After some time on the boat the right which I surfed here a bunch last year looked ok, so I went over with the paddleboard. I got a great ride and then went back to try it out with my shortboard. After 45 minutes or so I stood up a couple times but never got a decent ride — it was just too small and the waves too fat in the area I wanted to take off. I went back to try the paddleboard again, and got a half dozen or so good rides, fun and exhausting.
Hung out on the boat most of the day. In the afternoon we went paddleboarding, but it was kind of windy and strong currents made it hard to get around. I checked out a couple fish traps on my own (several sharks and various fish in them), but didn’t spend enough time with Lisa. To make up for this, afterwards we went ashore on the east side of the pass to walk around and look in the tide pools, spotting a moray, a couple flounder, a bunch of crabs and so forth. Very pretty.
It was kind of windy in the morning and we tried going diving to the west outside the pass, which was nice but challenging due to the ~15 kt wind pushing on the dinghy and making me have to swim constantly to keep from being dragged away. Lisa took the dinghy for a bit but had trouble as well, we should have tied it off to the bottom as there was little current, ah well. I was using a super macro adapter and getting close up photos of corals and some other life, which was fun. In the afternoon I went kiting for an hour or so, using the foil and having a lot of fun working on transitions (18 total). At one point I fell in the water while doing a transition and the board got caught up in the lines, making the kite do a loop before crashing onto the water. I got things untangled pretty quickly but it was definitely a little scary. In the late afternoon we went ashore to hang out with Valentine and Gaston a couple hours, very nice time talking to them and seeing the homestead.
We went diving outside the pass in the area we went to a lot last year, henceforth christened the fish finger spot, because of a spot where the wall protrudes and lots of fish like to gather. There was a big eagle ray hanging out at this spot, floating on the current and not really bothered by us, very nice. We went back and forth between here and shallower parts of the reef, looking for the rope where the mooring was last year (found it but it was pretty degraded and not suitable for installing a new one). Eventually we moved towards the pass, seeing the school of big barracuda again and several napoleon wrasse, very nice. In the afternoon I did some work on the boat and so forth as Lisa went to shore to pick some noni fruit for Valentine and Gaston.
I went paddle surfing in the morning, getting a half dozen or so nice little rides in less than an hour, nice and relaxing with small waves and little wind. Afterwards we went diving at the fish finger again, nice scene at the finger with lots of pyramid butterflyfish and humpback snapper, with a gray reef shark hanging out / lurking nearby. A juvenile napoleon wrasse came by and I got a good look at it as it inspected the wall for things to eat, very nice. I also noticed a lot of crown-of-thorns starfish on the wall, more than we saw here last year I think. I flipped over a few with my strobe, which were in the process of eating coral. Maybe good to cull them. I spent a while in the afternoon repairing the watermaker — our pretty new 110v pump head failed recently and I needed to get the 12v feed pump working again and make some changes to the plumbing. Finally, in the late afternoon I went spearfishing near the pass. Using a new and powerful gun I shot a couple parrotfish pretty easily and brought them back to the dinghy. On the way back with the second fish I looked behind me and four gray reef sharks were following me closely, some of them darting in. I brought the fish out of the water for the rest of the way back to dissuade them, still a little spooky.
We went diving at the fish finger in the morning, earlier than usual and it was ebbing around the pass with poor visibility. Most of the usual sights around: the school of barracuda, some big napoleon wrasse, an eagle ray we saw a couple times, and so forth. Especially nice were a lot of unicornfish hanging off the reef and feeding in midwater. One area we came upon had around 10 gray reef sharks nearby, though they left shortly after we showed up. Afterwards I went paddle surfing, getting about 10 rides in an hour or so, some of them pretty nice though the winds later on made things pretty challenging. The wind increased throughout the day and by the evening was in the solid 25-30 knots, continuing to blow throughout the night as we relaxed on the boat.
The wind was strong all day and we hung out on the boat.