Tuesday, June 30, 2015


Dear Grandma,
You know all those pictures you see with the clear, clear water that is a thousand shades of turquoise and blue? They are really real! And we are there! 


We re anchored in Fakarava atoll in the Tuamotus, French Polynesia (16deg  03.526 South  145deg 37.299 West if you want to find it on a map easily) and the water is just so beautiful! When we look out from the boat or row into shore and look back out over the lagoon we have to pinch ourselves to make sure we aren’t dreaming. Hmmm…maybe that’s what the bruises are from…

Part of the reason for the clear water here is that there isn’t much in the way of soil for runoff to cloud the water. The land is basically dead coral and what little organic matter has accumulated on top of that. Soil is definitely a precious commodity here. We have friends who saw a bag of topsoil in a store on an atoll nearby and it was $117! For one normal size bag! Needless to say, our budget isn’t stretching to buying fresh vegetables here. So the locals have some ingenious ways of gardening. From growing tomatoes in an old broken canoe…

…to rain gutters lined up on stands and fenced against animals. 

We seem to have acquired some pets here. I threw a lime peel overboard and Darren saw something dart out from under the boat quick as lightening to check it out. It was about 2’ long, grey and thin and he wondered if it was a baby shark. We tried dunking a lure a few times to lure it back out for a better look but he was onto our games and stayed under the boat.  I was about to go for a swim and do some scraping on the hull so I looked around carefully before slowly climbing down the ladder, dipping my toes and pulling them out quickly a couple of times. Not that it was really an issue as the sharks here are mostly nurse, lemon, blacktip and greys, who couldn’t care less about us. (Darren even saw a guy standing in the water catching sharks with his bare hands the day before!) Nothing took interest so I lowered myself all the way in and peeked under the boat. There were 3 long and 2 small grey thin fish ranging from 1-3 feet long with pointed mouths clinging to our keel. 

Off to scrape the hull!

Later we described them to our friends on Peregrine and Palarran and found out that we are hosting remoras. They are a bit different from the remoras that were on our manta ray friend during the crossing from Costa Rica. Boy, are we kicking ourselves for not stocking up on more wildlife id books! It would be fun to be able to id all of the neat creatures we are seeing.

The view from the front door of one of the local churches shows more of that gorgeous water…

…and around back they have an outdoor chapel, also with shell chandeliers!

Yesterday morning before we called you, we were getting ready to go ashore when Darren spotted a fisherman trying to paddle his big speedboat into shore with what looked like a 2x6 pried from the seat of the boat! Apparently his motor had died and he was trying to get home. Darren jumped in our dinghy, rowed over to him and gave him a tow. It’s kind of funny seeing a little rowboat towing a big speedboat, but it’s not the first time we’ve had it happen!  Darren came back to get me and we went to the Boulangerie (bakery) to get our baguettes for the day. When we came back to the dinghy to go home we found a thank you gift waiting for us. Yum!

Well, we are off to the south pass of the atoll to go snorkeling and see the big full moon Marbled Grouper mating that happens there once a year.  We'll take some more pictures for you and hopefully some video too. We will write/call again when we get to Tahiti as that is the next place we expect to see internet -  probably about 1 ½  – 2 ½ weeks from now.

We love you and wish you could be here with us.

Love and hugs,
Jodi and Darren

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