Well, I have been pretty remiss in posting since we arrived in Rangiroa. We have been here almost 2 weeks now and even have reasonable internet, I have no excuse. Oh well, I am what I am I guess....
The trip here from Toau went well, no problems, sailed the whole way. We arrived Friday morning just before slack tide, but entered thru the pass anyway, again with no problems. We had a dolphin escort for the last 30 minutes or so and just before they left they gave us a real show - jumping and spinning - way cool. The pass was a little swirly, but totally manageable -at least for us going in. A big schooner left right after us, and going into the current was a bit rougher, they had a pretty wild ride going out. We anchored just northwest of the pass (Tiputa) in a real pretty bay.
The first week we spent getting to know the atoll and provisioning. The main town is about 8 miles from us, and getting there is interesting. There is a magazine close by, but is does not sell beer (heavens to mercy - what to do??:) ), and is somewhat more expensive. We have been ordering baguettes from there , so at least we have bread which is nice. We are anchored in front of the Kia Ora resort which has a nice dinghy dock and a helpful front desk. They called a restaurant to come get us one night for pizza and a taxi to take us to town on another day. We had a nice evening with Doug and Carla in the bar overlooking the lagoon. Moderately expensive, but not too bad for a resort.
As I said, provisioning is always interesting, and here the distance to town and lack of public transportation makes it even more so. On our first attempt we all hitchhiked into town, we were at least halfway there before we got a ride, but we were grateful nonetheless. There are two reasonably well stocked stores in Avatoru and one about 2 miles from there. Chez Daniel was willing to give us a ride back to the boats, so we stocked up on immediate needs - beer, soda, eggs, cream, fresh veggies and fruit. That Wednesday we took a taxi from the hotel into town, did our stop at the gendarmes and then into Avatoru for a big provisioning run. The taxi driver is very nice - Eugene. He waited at the gendarmes and took us to the post office. Chez Daniel was crazy with the arrival of new stock, but the woman who runs it (Elise) put aside beer, soda and eggs (we didn't want them to be refrigerated) and said we could have a ride back to the boats later in the afternoon. So, we walked to Magazine Kenny, back to town, had lunch,went to the smaller magazine, then did our shopping at Chez Daniel then waited for an hour and a half for a ride back to the dinghies. Whew!!! it was a long day. If you visit Moondance's blog (www.followingmoondance.blogspot.com) you will see pictures of the provisions on the beach awaiting the dinghies.
Since then we have done some snorkeling and walking and exploring. Josh's friend Max on s/v BigFish came to our anchorage at the end of our first week here. He was very happy to see them and has been going nonstop since then. We first met them in Moorea back in June, and were expecting to catch back up with them when we got back to Tahiti in September. As it turns out they really like the Tuomotus and have been here all season. Max (16) has 2 sisters Alex (14) and Ayla (12). They are a really nice family on a large catamaran. Josh and Max have been spearfishing and fishing like crazy. They have even sold some of the fish they caught to the locals. Quite the entrepreneurs.
It is hard to believe it is November already. We celebrated halloween with Moondance - watching Charlie Brown and the The Legend of Sleepy Hollow with Johnny Depp. Carla made popcorn balls - yum! The local population had trick or treating for the first time this year. We would have loved to have gone to town to see it, but it was really rainy and transportation is a real issue. Elise from Chez Daniel said it went real well. Tuesday the first was a school holiday - the day of the dead - I guess sort of like Memorial day in the US. Lots of flowers and such at the cemetery.
We are hoping to get at least one drift snorkel thru the pass in before we leave, and I hope that I can talk Josh and Max into one more fishing expedition. They have been real lucky catching yellowfin and it would be a nice supplement to our provisions for the crossing. I think we are going to head out on Sunday - Brad thinks it is a good window to leave. I am doing all the last minute projects and stowing, and we will do one last provision run tomorrow. The last thing we will do is put the dinghy on the front deck - at that point we will be pretty much boat bound, but at least it means we will be moving. I think we are all ready to head north and move into the next phase of our adventure. Hopefully we will get visitors in Hawaii, and I will find a job quickly. I will post along the way as I did on the crossing from Mexico. We will participate in the pacific seafarer's net, they have a website that I will post, I think you can follow us on that as well.