Mischief - Up to Mischief Log 33 Further adventures of S/Y Mischief through the eyes and ears of Chas Baynes

Day 68 Sunday 6 May 2018 - Taha'a

After a quick dip we set off across the lagoon north to Taha'a the second island within the confines of the one barrier reef. We were heading for what we had been reported as the most beautiful bay in the French Polynesia's, Faaroa. We stopped en route as there is a spot identified in 'Charlies Charts' as having excellent snorkeling. We were a good way off the reef and it was fairly choppy, so it was quite a swim across, yet the water was clear and warm despite it being overcast. Unfortunately, when I eventually arrived there was little to see, only sand bottom so I turned around and swam back again.

As the weather was a bit changeable we thought we would motor into the bay just to see what it was like and if it was worthy of us stopping. However, it was raining to be fair so the bay was not at its best and not special compared with the best we have seen so we turned around and motored out again to followed Alora into the next bay, Baie Haamene. This large bay has a village at the very end with a recommended restaurant, the Maitai. We managed to pick up a mooring buoy albeit a bit ropey and Dave gave the restaurant a call - only open on a Friday! As we had passed the Hibiscus restaurant at the mouth of the bay, another recommended establishment with its own proprietary moorings, we headed off back there and booked a place for this evening for a buffet.

Looking around this particular bay it again is really lovely with green rolling hills but I really feel that I am starting to suffer from 'Bay Fatigue', a phenomenon brought on by looking at too many bays in a short period and they all start to look very familiar - another version of Bay Watch?

We ventured to the Hibiscus for dinner and a few beers, and it was very good indeed. The buffet including a huge baked mahi-mahi, pork stew, spinach with chicken, and various other dishes - I was properly stuffed! Really excellent food and plenty of it for a change. There was a party of Americans there from two charter catamarans, some 17 of them in total (fairly crowded I'd guess), who surprisingly were good company and even entertained us with an impromptu cabaret act from each boat which was really fun. Pity we didn't have time to prepare something as whatever it was would have been well received. A really quirky restaurant and well worth the money although they did charge a small amount for the mooring which was a bit cheeky.

Tomorrow we head around the north of the island to the so called 'Coral Gardens', the best snorkeling to be had in the islands supposedly, but it does come highly recommended by other ARC boats who have already visited. Looking forwards to that.

Day 69 Monday 7th May 2018 - Coral Gardens, Taha'a

Rain, and lots of it! Squall after squall all night and into this morning. We are off to go snorkeling at the Coral Gardens which sounds really exotic, around the top of the island some 5 miles or so but if the weather doesn't improve I doubt if we shall see much. But at least standing in the cockpit getting soaked I can wash my underpants whilst still wearing them, true multi-tasking!

This particular island is very green as are the others but has far less stark features, with rolling hills and valleys with only the very interior with higher peaks and ridges. Very pretty even through the mist and the rain.

Luckily, it did clear up around lunchtime when we arrived at the anchorage. And I'm very pleased it did too. We took the dinghy over to the gap between two small islets, one of which contained an expensive looking hotel complex, and between which are the Coral Gardens. We were pre-warned to take footwear rather than fins as once you beach the dinghy you take a short walk to the other side of the reef, don your mask and wade in to drift back with the current to where the dinghy was parked. To be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect but certainly the reality was unexpected: tropical fish in droves came to meet you; the different types and colours of the coral; the variety of the fish; the bright purple clams; I could go on. It really was astounding and possibly one of the best things I have experienced all in water you could mostly stand up in. I even had a one to one with a little yellow clown fish who sat two inches off my face mask, so I said hello through my snorkel and he seemed to be telling me that something fishy was going on……. I think. The trick was not to get too close to the coral heads which was much easier said than done in the current as it did get very shallow. Jean received a nasty graze on her leg and Trevor had a lump out of his shin too, a good job the blood didn't attract sharks! But it really was like drifting around in your own huge aquarium - so we went back and did it three times over.

Weather permitting, we are off to Bora Bora in the morning. I say that because today had been very squally and the sea state off the reef has been quite rough. After dinner though it quietened down a little but intermittently the wind rises, and it rains in squalls added to which there is lightning on the far horizon. Let's see what tomorrow brings.