Tikehau - Manta Rays and a picnic
We had an awesome day at Tikehau! It is our last atoll in the Tuamotu Island group before we cross to Moorea in the Society Island group in French Polynesia.
We had a lovely overnight passage from Toau. At dusk, a brown-footed boobie landed on the lifeline and, with his large webbed feet, proceeded to balance there the entire night. It was asleep but would move it's tail to balance. Must be a bird thing.
We arrived at the pass just after sunrise and went through without a problem. We motored the 8 nautical miles south through the lagoon to anchor of the main village. It is small; one grocery store, one bakery, but two dive shops! We took a walk across the motu to the ocean side and walked to the end and back around to the lagoon side.
The next morning we dinghied over to a nearby beach resort (that means several individual thatched roof bungalows on the beach and a restaurant building) to see about an excursion to snorkel with the manta rays. We met Serge, from the Tikehau Village Pension, www.tikehauvillage.com. He was preparing to leave on an excursion with 8 of his hotel guests, all visiting from France. He had room for us too. We had an awesome time swimming with the manta rays! They were 6-8' across. Then we went to a "fish trap", like a large pen that the fish swim into but can't seem to figure out how to get out. Our guides speared a bunch of fish in the trap for our lunch. At an uninhabited motu we had a fantastic lunch. There were three types of grilled fresh fish, BBQ chicken, roasted breadfruit, poisson cru, potato salad and a Tahitian specialty - canned corned beef sauted with green onions. After lunch, we walked along the pink sand beach to a lagoon to snorkel. We fed the tropical fish, saw giant oysters and an eel. Then we had fruit salad before heading back to the resort and Tubby.
The next day, we strolled through town, chatting with people. When we returned tp the boat we checked the weather. We realised a strong system was moving in and if we didn't leave right then, we wouldn't be able to comfortable and safely leave for a week! Since we were picking up our daughter, Heather, in Moorea on June 19, we hoisted Tubby and the anchor and set sail for Moorea.