Toau, Tuamotus, French Polynesia

We sailed out of Fakarava just before sunrise, to time our pass entry and exit with slack tides. And when we say “sailed”, we mean we motored, because the wind never picked up enough to even fill decorative sails. We’d rather sail, but it was nice to glide through both passes in flat water. Captain eventually gave up on his cockpit-based protest and shifted to sleeping awkwardly halfway out of his cat-house.

When we arrived, we were one of only three boats in the little cul-de-sac of “False Pass”. We picked up a mooring, and flew the drone to check out the coral.

The next day, more boats started to come in, and suddenly our private paradise wasn’t as private. Ah well, it was nice while it lasted.

Night one, we had planned to barbecue, and went to right the grill (which had drooped during the Pacific crossing and lain unused since.) We found, however, that all four stainless bolts had welded themselves into the aluminum mount, and sheared off when we tried to pull them out. So grilling would be off the table until we got that sorted out. We cooked inside instead, pausing to enjoy a great sunset.

Mostly we spent our time in Toau in the water. For snorkeling, that meant being on top of the pass timings, which had become a semi-permanent fixture on the wall whiteboard. We missed one day’s snorkel, however, when we went to dig something out of a forward hold and found that one of our laundry detergent containers had leaked. The extra ziplock around it contained some but not all of the mess, so we had a fun time scrubbing off everything else that had been in there. On the bright side, the hold is as clean as it’s ever been!

There’s not a lot in Toau, so we were cooking from ships stores. Here’s Andrew, dealing with two different kinds of sprouted potato from the Marquesas.

When we weren’t in the water, we were mostly staring at the water. Here’s a sunrise over the island, and a contemplative Captain Cat.

We took a walk on shore when we went in to pay for our mooring ball, and found some fun things. The people who run the moorings and restaurant also have a coconut farm, and the ground is nicely manicured and pleasant to wander. This dog followed us the whole time, his ears touching in the middle whenever he… looked at stuff, maybe? Also, there is a free-standing telephone booth.

Said restaurant, btw, quoted us $70 per person for lunch, which we thought was a little excessive even for a remote island. They also asked for payment for our moorings in the form of diesel instead of cash, presumably to run their generator. They never actually came out to the mooring to ask for money, which we found surprising, since there isn’t any signage or anything to indicate that the moorings are paid. If you didn’t read it in the guidebook, how would you know? We have to imagine that not everyone is paying, especially as we saw boats come in, never go to shore, and leave again.

More staring at the water. Jazz loved having a full open ocean view, a nice change from being inside of lagoons.

We took the paddle boards out several times. It’s definitely the thing to do there, especially with the wind as dead as it was for our first few days. The current can be quite strong, though, especially on the lagoon side, where the shallow water and intermittent coral heads make for swirling eddies.

Captain had some strong opinions about the mooring ball. He’s not used to seeing something floating so close to the boat.

We figured since he was on the front deck anyway, he might as well do some tricks.

Our neighbors came and went during our week here. Two notables: an incredibly fit set of charterers who anchored between the balls and had an impressive foredeck workout routine. (Though not quite as impressive as Captain’s.) We like to think they were inspired by our pull-up bar, which we’d pulled out after being re-inspired by Acushnet to try to work out occasionally again. And another catamaran, formerly anchored, which moved to the outside ball and blocked our sunset view. Always, always take the westernmost mooring!

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