Beach-combing for the Kon-Tiki
After a few restful days in the village anchorage on the atoll of Raroia in the turquoise waters of the Tuamotus we moved across to the eastern reef of the lagoon and spent our first night anchored off a teeny sand atoll with 2 coconut palms and a sandy beach, it was just gorgeous. Next day we had Mezzaluna, L’avenir and Silent Sun coming to join us, and a beach bbq was planned. This cute overgrown sandcastle had no wood so we did a big move 1 mile south and anchored off Kon-Tiki Island.
In 1947 Norwegian adventurer Thor Heyerdahl made this tiny motu famous when the Kon-Tiki, a hand built reed raft he had sailed about 4,000 miles across the Pacific ended its journey on the reef. He was trying to prove that ancient mariners had possibly first arrived in these waters from South America. So the Kon-Tiki craft crash landed on the reef, he and his crew survived, waded across the reef to this teeny island, lit a fire to attract attention and were eventually rescued by surprised residents from the village 8miles across the lagoon.
Walkeling & Snorkelling
We were having an exceptional spell of fabulous weather, the convergence zone with cloudy skies and squalls was sitting further west so we had the perfect excuse to stay and play. We headed to the north of the lagoon and anchored in another picture postcard setting, tiny motus with towering coconut palms pebbled the inside of the reef, their white sandy shores a magnificent contrast to the ever changing shades of blue, just magic.
The reef walking here was superb, off one motu we felt like we had returned to the Galapagos with waves of molten lava butting up against each other fighting to reach the ocean. The rock pools were bare of life except for some curious crabs, it felt like a deserted wasteland.
The following day we dinghied ashore to the adjacent motu, not more than 100 metres from its neighbour. We didn’t really expect to see anything different but a whole new underwater world appeared and we didn’t even have to get wet. It was here skipper invented a new word, and the pastime of walkeling was born! (trademark Balvenie pending!!!)
We walkeled in our reef shoes, wading in a foot of water out to where the reef meets the mighty ocean and found vast sunken pools full of fish and coral stranded there by the out going tide. Baby black tip reef sharks cruised on by, all manner of brightly coloured tropical fish scattered to stay clear of the sharks, even eels darted from pool to pool, it was just fantastic, and such a novelty just standing looking down on it all and taking photos from above.
A large coral garden not far from Balvenie provided an opportunity to don our flippers and masks and get acquainted with some colourful South Pacific beauties. All the black and white ones were my favourites here, desperately need a South Pacific fish guide so we can start identifying them all.
Eventually our beachcombing and walkeling minibreak had to end and we moved back down to the village anchorage, we still had the pass to snorkel and the pearl farm to visit! So much to do on such a small atoll.