Tuesday 29th January 2013
At 8am this morning we arrived at Rangiroa (meaning Vast Sky). It is one of the largest atolls in the world. The atoll consists of about 415 motus (a small peninsula), islets and sandbars with a total land area of about 170 square kilometres. The lagoon here is so big (about 1446 square kilometres) that you can’t see to the other side and it has its own horizon. As we approached all you could see was the sea, the strips of white sand and the green of the coconut palms … this must be paradise.
We tendered out to Avatoru, the chief town of Rangiroa, where Vance joined Irene & Alan on a snorkelling expedition to the natural open water aquarium called the Aquarium Garden. Vance said it was really amazing – he saw so many tropical fish, coral formations and even reef sharks.
As I don’t snorkel or go in any deep water I stayed ashore and walked around the gift market that the locals had set up on the end of the pier.
When the snorkellers returned we went to the local cafe that overlooks the harbour where we were joined by Margaret & Brian for noon beers and french fries. Irene happened to drop a chip into the water below and all of a sudden hundreds of fish including eels, and even a Manta ray arrived so more chips and bread were thrown in and there was a feeding frenzy.
As we set sail the Polynesian dance troupe serenaded us on deck whilst we enjoyed cocktails in the setting sun. We will miss them when they finally leave us in Bora Bora.
That night we dined in The Colonnade – a Polynesian meal – where we ate Hawaiian style barbecued chicken with pineapple, coconut and ginger fried rice…thanks chef….it was fabulous.
While we were eating there was a sudden tropical downpour and a cormorant type bird was knocked out of the sky by the force of the wind and rain onto the deck getting caught between the crew stairs and the side of the ship near us. It was panicking as it could not get out so one of the waiters caught it and set it free.
Then it was up to The Sky Bar for a late night drink to enjoy the now fresh clear air and see the stars.
Techie bits: On the 29th of January at 7:30am we were:
15° south and 147° west
Travelling on a compass course : 291°
Speed = 7 knots
Wind speed = 9 knots from north east
Air temperature = 27°c (81°f)
Total nautical miles sailed = 6974
Depth = 17 metres
Sunrise = 5:40am Sunset =6:27pm