May 27

Today was our first full day at Makemo in the Tuomotus. The atoll is simply exquisite. A thin ribbon of land covered with palm trees stretches for miles, reminds me somewhat of Fire Island in New York. The water is crystal clear and is just packed with coral and fishes. In the morning we began the day by cleaning out the forward cabin bilge which was filled with water caused by a failed bilge pump, but after that we unpacked the scuba compressor and set it up on the foredeck. I filled our two tanks and at 10am Jonah, myself and Kelly off the S/V Soersce (pronounced Sair-she - Gallic for "Freedom") went into town to pick up bread at the bakery. Afterwards Kelly came back to the boat with us and she and Kate had coffee while Jonah watched a video. I relaxed.

At around 1pm Kate, myself, Kelly and Gavin (Soersce's owner/skipper) went out the pass to dive. Our intent was to drift dive in through the pass on the incoming tide but we were a bit early and the tide was still ebbing (flowing out). We floated about waiting for the tide to change and in about a half hour we were ready!

We put in about 200 yds outside the pass at slack water and in a few minutes the tide started pulling us into the pass! Another crew from Gavin's boat was in the dinghy following us by out bubbles. The coral was amazing and the fish were prolific! We saw huge schools of trigger fish, huge beautiful parrot fish and several Whitetip Sharks! Kate saw a spotted eagle ray, which I missed and Kelly and Gavin saw a 6' Lemon Shark which both Kate and I missed. By the end of the dive the current was pulling us through the pass at close to 5 knots I would guess. A really great dive. We plan to do the same dive tomorrow afternoon, but in the morning we are going to go into the lagoon and anchor off one of the many coral heads which rise to the surface of the lagoon and dive there. The water is supposed to be even clearer inside the lagoon and the depth of the water around the coral heads should be close to 100ft making the dive akin to a pinnacle dive.

We can easily imagine spending a month or two here, but two or three weeks will have to do. Kate and I have even discussed not even bothering to visit any of the other atolls (of which there are at least 10 which are appropriate for our vessel) since we can't imagine any place being any better then this (equal perhaps, but how could it get any better?).

After a week or so here anchored off the village near the pass we will cross the lagoon and anchor off the two Motus (small islets) fringing the Eastern edge of the lagoon. Another boat we spoke with spent a week over there and report that the 3 miles which separate the two motus are spanned by one continuous white sand beach! Plus since the motus block the prevailing Easterly wind the safety of that anchorage is unparalleled.