Another day, another atoll. Such beauty surrounds us! This was a very exciting entry into the lagoon at Rangiroa as it is the narrowest one yet With a pod of dolphins to guide us in, the pilot steered us in gracefully through the currents swirling about us. We enter the lagoon of one of the largest atolls in the world, where the whole island of Tahiti could fit inside. So vast! The islands are laid out in what the locals see as a pearl necklace.
The one thing that strikes me about these lagoons, besides the colors, is that the waters are so flat. We could be tossing about in the ocean on 3-6 meters of swells but as soon as you are behind the reef, flat water as far as the eye can see. There are just under 2500 residents in this area and the first settlers here were Dutch. I am sure that life here is calm and peaceful.
There was a nice breeze coming through so we decided to check out the sailboat. Off the back deck of the Windspirit cruise ship, there is what they call a “marina” where they have kayaks, and a swim platform and if there is anything to see, you can snorkel. They had told us the day before that there was not enough wind to sail and they tried to tell us that today so we figured out that they probably did not want to take it out and set it up. Luckily, we insisted! It was a small Lazer sailboat called the Pico. It was fast and light and just barely fit two people but we jumped right in and took off. They want you to stay close by so that they can track you and make sure you do not get into trouble. Once they realized we knew what we were doing, we did not feel them watching us so much.
After enjoying the wind for a while, I looked behind me as something in the water had caught my eye. There was a tail sticking out of the back of the boat just under the top of the water. It looked a bit like a small shark’s tail and since our boat was about the same color, we thought that maybe they were babies as they were swimming upside down. They followed us for the whole sail and sometimes I saw as many as three of them! When we returned to the marina, the Dive Master, Kuba, told us that it was a Remora, which is a sucker fish. He said they even clean the undersides of stingrays! We did think it was strange that they followed us as the sailboat is stored dry in the boat and has nothing to eat off the bottom. Fish are just a bit strange.
Life aboard the boat so far has been very relaxing. We boarded on a Friday and we were at sea all day Saturday before we arrived at our first destination. The boat is not large and we learned that there are only 90 passengers and 100 crew. Normally, there are 135 passengers so we were grateful for the smaller size as it gave us a chance to meet people. We met a nice couple from Sweden who had been together for 10 years but had flown here to get married. So cute!
Another couple we met were Peter and Lorraine. The funny thing about that-our great friends back home are Pete and Lorraine! At least I knew that I would not forget their names. They are a lovely couple that hail from England but have lived on Long Island and in the states since the 70’s. Peter is a handsome, self-made man who created a shipping business that his son now has in his careful hands. Peter’s acerbic wit had us laughing the whole trip and Lorraine’s delightful laugh and beauty had us fully entranced. They both had a joie de vivre that we love to see and it was a pleasure getting to know them and sharing such a unique adventure.
As we leave each location, the ship plays Conquest of Paradise by Vangelis over the speakers as the sails are slowly pulled out. It is a majestic song and as we sail away in the sunset it is quite romantic indeed.