After a couple of blowy nights, things have settled down here and the wind has dropped too! Graham is back to full fitness and we have both regained our lost sleep. Last night it went so calm in the anchorage that Graham woke up at 03.30 and took the photo of the neighbouring yacht by moonlight.
The standard of living in the village here is much poorer than in Takaroa; the solitary shop is sparsely stocked and there isn't a bakery. However a recent addition to the island is an airstrip so a weekly flight from Tahiti is due in this morning and apparently it brings air-freighted baguettes! Yesterday we walked over to the windward reef of the atoll (only about 1000 metres from the lagoon side) to find the surf crashing onto the coral and, unfortunately, lots of plastic waste blown in from who knows where. At the tide line the plastic was ground down to tiny pieces – digestible by fish – so you can see how this stuff is getting into the food chain.
The plan of today is to sail (or motor, probably) the seven miles back down the lagoon towards the entrance pass. We'll look for a suitable spot to anchor near it as there is said to be some spectacular snorkelling there. Tomorrow we'll set off early to the neighbouring atoll of Fakarava which is much bigger and boasts hotels, restaurants and dive shops so it will be a useful acclimatisation before we hit the bright lights of Tahiti a few days later. Peter & Heidi's youngest son Ole is flying into Fakarava tomorrow afternoon (via Hamburg, Paris, Los Angeles and Tahiti!) so they are looking forward to having him aboard for the next month or so..
Fakarava will also have internet access so we'll post a few more photos and catch up with emails – thanks to Geoff, Amz and Simon for their news over the past couple of days. All news from home is very welcome – not having internet access for a few days means that we have no idea what's happening in the rest of the world. This can have its benefits, of course; the other day we chatted to the oldest resident of Takaroa, who spoke good English having spent some time in Australia, and he said "The good thing is that we don't worry about what's happening in Syria out here!"