Marvelous! Simply marvelous. I steal the phrase, but believe it is the best way to describe life on the Twister with Lars. I joined the journey in Rangiroa, an atoll in the Tuamotus, 16 days ago and Lars asked me to do a few guest blog entries. There is so much to write and I would have enjoyed writing more frequently and somehow attempting to catch all the moments, but the moments must be lived, so writing is tough. Plus, the internet connection is not reliable. We are motoring currently from Tahiti to the neighboring island Mo’orea. We started by sailing off the anchor, but eventually the wind died and the motor began putt-putting us along. I decided it is a good time to write.
Lars suggested telling chronologically…
I met Lars on Rangiroa on June 1. It took me 16 hours of traveling from California to catch him after 5 weeks of sailing. Planes are apparently quite fast. Rangiroa is an atoll and at the widest point is about a half mile wide. The landing strip is nearly as wide as the atoll with blue tropical waters all around. Lars greeted me after my walk across the tarmac with a smile, hug, and a cold beer!! A fellow Lars met a few days before happened to be at the airport, so he gave us a ride the few miles down the atoll to a dock. There we were met by the “neighbors” Gary and Rory. They are two Brits that left Los Angeles on a maiden sail in January on their boat La Cueca. After a few months in Mexico they crossed the Pacific and anchored next door in Rangiroa. We cheers! a Hinano, a Tahitian beer, while overlooking tropical blue seas and they give us a lift in their dingy back to the Twister.
The anchorage is beautiful with crystal clear water. We are anchored in 25 feet of water, and can see the bottom, corals, and fishes with no problem while on the boat. We enjoy a quick snack of grapefruit. Grab the snorkeling gear and snorkel to shore. Incredible! We pick up the dingy under a coconut tree and Lars rows down to the passage so we can drift snorkel over a reef. The atoll has limited passages from the outside ocean, so when the tide is coming in the current is quite strong and one can simply drift along and admire the coral reef. There was so much life including moray eels, parrot fish, pipe fish, pufferfish, fish with hot pink spots, banner fish, squirrel fish, and, and, and… We return to the Twister sip rum from coconuts we just harvested, shared a PBR, and cooked up some pasta. Then, relax in the cockpit under the most twinkling night sky!!! There was a no moon, so the stars had the sky all to their selves and put on quite a show. The Southern Cross shines brightly each and every night with shooting stars.
Typically we awake to roosters “cockadoodledoo” before sunrise around 6. We are anchored 200 meters from shore. We watch the sunrise while the water boils for the French press full of coffee. I like a morning swim and then we can kick it with coffee and a grapefruit in the cockpit as the day begins. Most mornings we listen to a bit of RadioNew Zealand from the shortwave radio. This keeps us having a clue about the happening in the world. Listening to human news from a peaceful lagoon has a sci-fi feel to it. A sense of ease dropping onto a world far far away with updates on wars, war crimes, trade agreements, food stamps, murders for sorcery. The pressing issues of the day. Busy, busy, busy. And then we switch it off. And must decide if we want Norwegian Pancakes or French toast to go with the nutella and bananas that Lars acquired by trading a chunk of rope. So, that was my first 18 hours!
After a few days we sailed across the Rangiroa atoll to the Blue Lagoon. BEAUTIFUL. Before we drop anchor we already see 5 black tip reef sharks. We dive in a swim with the sharks, check the anchor, and snorkel over to Rory and Gary in La Cueca. They buddy sailed with us to the Blue Lagoon. We wander the lagoon. Gather coconuts, see sting ray, little baby sharks about 1-2 feet all over the place. Lovely sunset sunset over the lagoon! Dinner on La Cueca.
Day 2 at the Blue Lagoon -The dingy engine works for the first time since November 2009! Miracle, which is celebrated with wine and dingy rides. Snorkeling and more coconut gathering. We play the violin/fiddle. Lars has learned a Norwegian folk tune on the violin. Happy Hour CocoLocos (rum in our coconuts) while floating in inner tubes with sharks swimming past. We catch 3 crabs from the island for dinner and prepare them with potatoes and coconut rice. STARS!!!!!
Day 3- Weather goes crappy! So we must leave the blue lagoon and cross the atoll for shelter. Back return to our original anchorage near Tiputa.
The weather, wind, and swell meant no leaving Rangiroa for 5 more days. Rainy days equal cribbage, French toast, guitar, swims. Weather cleared on Rangiroa, but the open ocean still had large swell and lots of wind 30+ knots. We surf. The locals are so friendly and invite us to share the better wave at the peak. We toss the Frisbee with the local kids after which every time we come ashore kids ask us to toss the Frisbee with them. We dive with grey reef sharks in the deep blue ocean. We hitch rides around the island and learn that the best deal for lunch is a baguette with canned sardines and we eat lots of those sandwiches. We play chess on the beach. Lars plays guitar. We cook pasta with tons of garlic and always hard boiled eggs. We campfired on the beach with Rory, Gary, and a few local kids. We watch the dolphins do crazy jumps in the rushing currents and standing waves in the passage. We hitch rides around the atoll. All lovely adventures.