Rangiroa Spectacular Fishes

Trip Start Feb 11, 2010
Trip End Apr 04, 2010

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Flag of French Polynesia  , Tuamotu,
Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday, February 19, 2010:  Rangiroa (vast sky), Tuamotus, French Polynesia:  Star Flyer arrived early morning to the Rangiroa atoll, a very flat coral ring just above sea level, reminiscent of the Bahamas when viewed from the ship.  The atoll is so large that you cannot see across the protected lagoon that it encircles.  We entered the clear lagoon precisely when the tidal currents were going with the ship through a narrow passage.  I spent my water time snorkeling with the most fish I had ever swum with.  The largest groupings were Red Snappers.  I saw no sharks (darn) but others saw reef sharks & large green moray eels.  I was too busy taking underwater pictures and movies to even be concerned about sharks.  The warm waters in the lagoon are so clear due to no mountain rain run off.  The vibrant corals are alive and very healthy, unlike Bora Bora where the Crown of Thorns starfish have destroyed almost all living corals there.  I could swim in this lagoon forever!

I had wanted to scuba dive in the Pacific, but so far that has not happened.  The first dive in Bora Bora was canceled due to only two of us signing up (4 minimum).  Then the expert dive off of Rangiroa was too difficult for me.  The current was excessive and the Dive Master Victor wanted us to be down to 90 feet in one minute.  I have been having sinus problems due to the saltwater microbes when snorkeling (decongestants did not help).  Victor would not allow me to dive when I told him as I would have trouble equalizing pressure in my inner ears while descending.  Just as well as I have never been deeper than 60 feet with Bill in the Caribbean two years ago and I do not have a death wish.  As long as I can snorkel, I am in heaven.  My underwater housing and camera are working flawlessly.  Glad I brought along two underwater watches as one has already started leaking.  All of my planning and preparations have worked out well.    

Met two others on board from Michigan, Michael (63), an Aussie who has a home on Lake St. Clair, and June from TC (Wilson Road on the Peninsula), both traveling to St. Maarten (in separate cabins).  Amazing that we will have at least five Michiganders (4 from TC area!) when we pick up Bone & Tom in Panama.  On this first leg of the sail going to Panama, there are only 127 passengers on board with many solos.  Heard some cabins are full of wine and other food supplies because of the extended sailing.  There has been rumor that 40 barrels of beer may not be enough.  Better not run out of Tahitian Hinano beer!!  That would be grounds for mutiny!  There's nothing better than an ice cold Hinano when in one of the two saltwater pools (they are small but deeper than on the Royal Clipper).

Before a colorful sunset, the Star Flyer sailed out of the narrow channel when the tide was going out.  An eight foot shark was spotted along the ship and a pod of spinner dolphins joined the bow waves, as if to say good bye as we sailed toward the northeast horizon.

Three "@ Sea" days to the Marquesa Islands, the last of the French Polynesians, 860 km from Rangiroa.  This is heaven on earth!
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Lizsard on

Is everyone on board as healthy as you are? Too bad you couldn't go on the deep dives.

Rich on

Walt, it sounds idyllic but also quite a pace. Hopefully your three day sail will get you rested up and ready to go. You are missing nothing here in the MW as winter still rules.

Chard on

How is the food? Are you getting enough to eat? Good luck with the microbes. We are watching the Winter Olympics, and thinking of you.
Hope the beer (and the dramamine) holds out for the upcoming jaunt trans Pacific. Take Caro

Erin on

Awesome entry! I was on the Paul Gauguin that was in port just before you it sounds like. The days we were in Rangiroa were rough. Probably best you didn't do the dive - the currents were insane. We just did a drift snorkel as I'd been having sinus issues the whole trip as well - the drift snorkel was rough (due in part to being rushed by our guide though). Definitely want to head back and dive though - saw photos from the dive team. Amazing! What an awesome itinerary you are on! So jealous! We were only down there for 2 weeks and ours was severely changed due to the rash of cyclones. We were headed for the Cook Islands the day Pat hit so we ended up just staying in French Polynesia.

tere.p on

What a thrill to follow your travels! I've been researching stock photography lately and you definitely have some potential submissions from this trip. Beautiful!

gail on

Love all the fish close ups Walt,, great!!

bone on

Nice additional of pictures. Love the convict fish. Can't believe I ate a red snapper in Columbia.

Suzanne Landes on

I would have loved the lagoon experience and the snorkeling and the small boat!i first snorkeled off the coast of Cuba while visiting my uncle who was stationed at Guantanimo. Nothing has compared since.

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