Happy Christmas

Have a great, if somewhat restricted Christmas. wherever you are.

We will be at sea for the Christmas period heading east as the north wind doth blow. That’s helpful for us.
Big hugs, much love and here’s looking forward to a less crazy 2021.

Thanks for blog watching. 🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄⛵️🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄


My favourite baseball cap is no longer in my possession. It didn’t quite make it to its first birthday. 24th December. 

The scene of its loss. Fakarava lagoon. Approximately midday. Sailing south, close hauled, 18 to 20 knots of breeze, occasional rain showers. A slight heel but the joy of sailing in the lagoon is often  little fetch and very small waves unlike the open ocean. It makes for speedy progress. 

The cap came into my life last Christmas Eve at Disneyland in Florida. A little logo of Kermit. The words, `hi ho’. A souvenir from a crazy pre COVID day where the world and his wife were in Florida. Social distancing would have been impossible. Although the words social distancing had never crossed my consciousness before. 

As items of clothing go, this cap has had its fair share of use. Everyday for several hours here in the Pacific. And the Bahamas, Jamaica and Panama before that. It’s an essential item to check as we leave the boat…..wallet, phone, lock, water, cap. But I will no longer be sporting Kermit. A gust, a shriek, a panic, a loss. 

The package saga shows no sign of progressing. So we retraced our track down to Harifa in the south. Not far, maybe 27 miles. We were rewarded with a full on thunderstorm, hammering rain and lightening filling the skies. Meteo France announced today there were over 5000 lightening strikes around the Tuamotus over a period of about 36 hours. That’s stick shaking territory.

In other news, I renovated my failing flip flops. Dave said the glue probably cost more than a new pair. So! They are now have a vibrant purple neoprene top.  What’s the “4R” mantra these days…refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, I vaguely recall? We aren’t perfect by any means here but lots of our stuff does get 4R’d. My holey silicon bread tray had been chopped up and the material will be reused to fill a gap on the outboard. The reclaimed plastic clips on a failed rucksack have been sewn into the newly made cockpit sun shade (free material from another boaty bod) and all plastic pots, such as mayonnaise jars go into a bag for future use to hold varnish or acetone or something similar. 

Accidentally loosing a cap overboard does constitute littering though. I have an aspiration that some lucky soul will fish it out of the sea and maybe the next time we are in the village, I spot someone sporting Kermit and I’ll smile knowing that cap’s previous.

North Pass, Fakarava

We are in ‘package delivery hell’ here in Fakarava. We have three which may or may not arrive. One is supposed to come on a plane this week. I spoke to someone using my best french and she said she will call back with details. Still waiting! Another, if we can get it out of customs in Tahiti, may trolley along too. The third is in the world parcel black hole which is currently Australia. Australia has been stock piling parcels for French Polynesia for the past six months. A container arrived by ship recently into Tahiti full of packages. The FP postal service have announced it will take up to three months to distribute them. That’s only 9 months for your package to arrive. Speedy ‘eh!

With this ongoing frustration, I decided the best way forward would be to do something nice to take our minds off package world. We’ve been snorkelling here but not diving. And the north and south passes into Fakarava atoll have world wide reputations in the diving community apparently.

I dug my dog eared certificate out. It’s only 22 years since I last dived. Really. Dave found his Padi Advanced Open Water card, one side showing a photograph of fresh faced youth. The date, 1995, three years before mine. 

Being so bang up to date with our qualifications, I decided a refresher dive would be a good idea. The plan initially was to do the refresher in the lagoon. Just to practice a few skills although there isn’t much to look at. However, on the day, the dive school had a boat going out to the north pass, so Sebastian suggested we tag along there and do the skills over a bit of reef there. 

Turned out to be a top idea as we got through the skills pretty quickly and then followed Sebastian as he took us a what would be a regular dive for paying punters.  The next day we went again for our ‘proper dive’, which wasn’t that different to the day before, just deeper and we spent longer underwater.

There was lots to see. Many many sharks, shoals of fish, moray eels and pretty coral. I felt like I was in a blue vista video game, drifting along with the incoming current watching lots of wildlife moving smoothly past. At one point we swam under a large shoal of fish, above which were a line of sharks. All very surreal. 

We got into the water at slack tide. By the time we got out just under an hour later, the tide was coming in so we were drifting along at what felt like quite a quick pace.  We’d probably travelled about 500m into the middle of the pass. 

I didn’t take my camera as I was too busy thinking about buoyancy and having my hands free for checking my equipment and grabbing rocks to look at things. If you want more, google diving on the north pass Fakarava. I’m sure there’s lots of videos and pictures out there in internet world.