Saturday, June 26, 2010

Rangiroa - cheeseburgers and diving

Rangiroa Atoll, Tuamotu Archipelago, French Polynesia

Rangiroa is the largest coral atoll in the world. And the most populated island in the Tuamotus (2500 people). And still, slow internet!! But...we have managed to get email via wifi on the boat, so we can't complain too much. And, if you're willing to connect in odd hours, you might be able to do a bit of surfing. You may also notice that I've managed to figure out how to add an image to the blog posts finally. Hurray!!

Rangiroa has been awesome. On our first day here, after our nap, we met a great crew of sailors, and enjoyed drinks on the quay with them. Since then we've enjoyed drinks, diving, and a few meals with them - it's been a hoot. We're looking forward to running into them again in Tahiti!

The village is spread out among several motus, connected by a roadway, with the airport about 1/2 way between the two ends. We had heard that the local super hotel ($300-800 per night) offered a traditional Polynesian
performance, which we thought would be fun, but the hotel was closed for renos. With a combo of hitch-hiking and bike rentals we explored the 10 km or so to the other end of the road. There were a few stores, one even had veggies - green peppers and limes!! Too bad we couldn't carry more supplies on the bikes. We also stopped at a few trinket stores and pearl boutiques. It was a nice morning of exploring. Back at the quay, we treated ourselves to beer and fanta and cheeseburgers!! Hmmm....pomme frites!!

Yesterday, we went for a dive in Tiputa Pass, a drift dive that is highly recommneded. Although they warned us that it would not be as beautiful as the colourful coral of Fakarava, this is the place where we are more likely to see the large marine wildlife. Although it was fun to drift with the
current - feeling a bit like Peter Pan as we flew through the water effortlessly - we didn't see too much wildlife. We did see sharks and the largest Napolean Wrasse big as me, I swear. But no manta rays. And no hammerheads. Too bad. Another diver took a video and gave us a copy, so we hope to be able to put a snippet on the blog once we get to Tahiti.

We're getting geared up to leave for Tahiti. Today I fixed our spray cloth that was blown out in last week's storm, and John prepared our sails and filled up our fuel tank. We need to be in Tahiti in order to attempt to renew our visas; we'd like to stay longer than the standard three months that are issued upon arrival. Hopefully that won't be a problem, but we're getting many mixed messages. It will take us a couple days to get there, but we're looking forward to being in a marina with showers and laundry for the first time since Mexico - almost four months ago!

Our Position (Rangiroa): 14°58.1'S and 147°38.2'W


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