Exploring the Tikehau Atoll

Walking the reef on Tikehau atollWe have been having a mostly relaxing time in Tikehau. We anchored near the Pearl Resort hotel on the east side of the atoll for a few days. We walked out on the reef at low tide one day and explored the little tidal pools and marine life. But, the tide started coming in so we had to gradually make our way inland. The landscape looked like another planet out there with a couple hundred yards of alien-looking coral rock. We saw lots of interesting fossilized coral, birds, snails, hermit crabs, fish in the tidal pools, and all kinds of interesting shells.

We also walked the beach on the inner shore treading over the tracks of crabs, and footprints from mostly honeymooning couples from the hotel. Some couples had carved their initials and the date of their wedding in the sand. So, naturally I added “Tahina” to the temporary grafiti.

Looking at sharks under a rockWe organized a dive day with the hotel dive shop. The operator is also a sailor and offered us a discounted price. We did two tank dives at the pass and had a great time. They made sure to stop on the way out/in at a motu where manta ray often feed. But, we didn’t see any that day. On the dive, the highlights were some large white-tipped shark, black-tipped shark, lion fish, moray eel, some beautiful coral gardens, and lots of other reef fish. At one point, we all grabbed a rock and could lean our heads over a crevice to see some sharks sleeping underneath. They got a little disturbed when Lara started taking flash photos of them, but I think everyone still had all their appendages when we got out.

We moved Tahina over to the anchorage by the village yesterday. We went ashore and visited the only store. For some reason, they either didn’t understand, or didn’t want to rent us bikes. So, we walked around the village a while before coming back to the store to buy some foods. We saw a plane land at their airport and spoke to the manager of a small hotel off the beach. Near the beach we saw black tipped sharks swimming in a few inches of water with their shark fins protruding above the water. It was the first time I’ve actually seen shark fins swirling around in the wild. We of course were making the “Jaws” music as we watched them.

Another couple of days exploring Tikehau, and we will be moving to Tahiti. The wind forecast doesn’t look very good though. We may have to motor for the entire 220 miles with practically no wind. At least the seas should be calm.

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