With an eight day good weather window we headed to the outer south eastern edges of the Gambier atoll to anchor off the white beaches in Tauna and Kaukau and snorkel in the stunning reef. As promised the outer edges of the atoll were picture postcard and we basked on the white sand beaches, swam in the stunning coral and crystal clear water.
These places are good weather only anchorages with precious little protection and coral everywhere.
Sailing there, avoiding the pearl farm bouy’s, underwater ropes and coral bommies is quite an adventure, but well worth it. Anchoring here is a new skill to us as you need to float your chain to avoid damaging the reef. We use fenders and spare pearl bouys (which you find discarded everywhere) to float the chain at 5m intervals. We’ve used a mixture of clips and rope to attach them to the chain and it was surprisingly easy to do with no prior experience or instruction. Light winds, good visibility with the sun directly overhead and a sheltered anchorage helps!
We celebrated New Year with a bbq on the beach on an uninhabited island and toasted friends and family afar.
New Year is a time of decisions and as most countries west of us are still closed due to COVID-19 with no sight of any change in the months ahead — we will end our sailing adventure in Tahiti and ship our boat home to Southampton, UK. We have to make that decision now to book a space and pay the deposit in time for the seasonal shipping in May 2021. It’s a sad decision but we do want to stop and see the islands of Cook, Tonga, Fiji, New Caledonia, Vanuatu on the way to New Zealand/ Australia but as all of them are closed to yachts including our intended end point – there is no point in sailing west from Tahiti. We will still head to the Society Islands and Bora Bora before we ship home though. They are open and we are not missing them! What we do from May till July/August when we plan to go go home is still to be decided, but some sort of land adventure on the way back in countries that are open is the vague plan so far…any suggestions please let us know!
We wish everyone a very Happy New Year and we look forward to seeing friends and family again in 2021 as we pick up our working lives and careers again in the UK. We still have an exciting seven months left in our adventure so it’s not over yet!