August 23 – 27, 2013
Our final days in French Polynesia were spent in Maupiti. Since we were already fully provisioned, we were free to relax and explore the nearby village and mountain. Before doing any major land exploration though, we were eager to see if we could find more whales first.
After our initial whale watch and pass entry to the lagoon, we found the main anchorage in Maupiti near the village of Pauma. There were a number of boats that had been there for several days and were waiting for wind to carry them to their next destination. That evening, we had sundowners on the beach with several of our good friends who would be departing the next day.
The following morning, Nathalie (s/v Sueño) and I attended an early morning yoga session on the beach led by a fellow cruiser. It was a refreshing way to start the morning.
After a relaxing morning with yoga, my muscles went to the extreme opposite when we dinghied out a very rough pass to go look for whales again. The wind was increasing, the swell was building, and there were very large, steep waves within the narrow pass. We had no business being in the pass, but we were still excited about the possibility of more whale sightings. However, after some time drifting outside the reef, we only managed to catch glimpse of whales in the far distance. It was getting too dangerous to stay out any longer. We needed to return through the pass before we became stuck on the outside in our dinghies. Thanks to Wil’s spectacular driving, we were able to keep speed with the large, peaking waves, and get ourselves to the safety of the lagoon.
Since we didn’t achieve a good whale sighting, we decided to head for the known manta ray spot near Motu Pitiahe. This was a “cleaning station” similar to the one in Bora Bora. However, since it was mid-tide, and the wind was picking up, the current was strong. I opted to stay with the dinghy while everyone else went to look for manta rays. A couple were spotted, but again, due to the conditions, the water was slightly murky.
Our remaining days in Maupiti were a blur. We took walks. The kids played. Some of the s/v Sueño group practiced kiteboarding. We all climbed to a nearby mountaintop. Even though we were already fully provisioned, we purchased some veggies in order to use up our remaining French Polynesian francs. Nathalie (s/v Sueño), Kim (s/v Flour Girl), and I stumbled across some beautiful and irresistible French pastries. I felt the need to splurge on some sweets, and a final baguette for my family.
Before departing Maupiti, we had plans for one more round of whale watching before beginning our passage to Suwarrow. We were sad to be saying good-bye to French Polynesia, but excited to see what the next countries in our travels had to offer.