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The Tuamotu Diaries: Chapter 13 - Solitude


sandy island

4/24/23

Two nights ago, we had gotten everything prepared for a sail across the thirty mile stretch of lagoon to the other pass. We woke up in the morning to stronger winds than expected but still started off in that direction. As we sailed away from the shore Joshua and Rachel began to rethink our plans.


Initially we were all down to use the wind yesterday, before it died off today, to make our way across the lagoon. Sailing would be more pleasant than motoring and going down before the wind calmed would mean we had better chances of snagging a mooring before the other boats moved over. It just meant we would probably have one bumpy night at anchorage.

man near mast of sailboat

However, only a quarter mile from our leaving point there were already white caps on the ocean. After talking to some friends that had spent a few days on the other end of the atoll we decided to turn around. Conditions seemed like they would be way too uncomfortable. We decided we would leave early the next morning (today) instead.


To take advantage of our additional afternoon at the pass we got ready to dive once more. I had not mentally prepared to dive all day yesterday. I was planning to take a long nap during our sail to catch up on sleep. I feel I haven’t gotten a ton of quality rest this trip. But I do my best to get excited and help load the boat for the day.


We set off into the pass and started to recognize the flood tide might not have started yet. We made an attempt at the sharks anyway but were greeted with murky water and no sharks. Then we went to the side of the pass along the ledge. Still murky.


There is a baumy back into the lagoon somewhat close to the anchorage we were told was really nice. We decided to go back and check it out while we waited for the tide to switch. The vis isn’t great but it’s good enough. A large blacktip with rounded belly and a chopped dorsal fin was the first to come say hello. She was either pregnant or had just eaten something close to her own size. As I swam to catch up with the boys who has already rounded the corner I was followed. First one blacktip, then three, then six trailed behind me in single file. The baumy was teaming with fish. Each coral head was home to hundreds of striped damsel fish and greenish chromies. They varied in size between a dime and a dollar bill. I saw a large flounder trying to camouflage into the sand and the smallest little nudibranch, no bigger than a grain of rice, hiding out on a large whelk.


I was enjoying the snorkel but by that time a combination of exhaustion and dehydration was beginning to wear on me. I asked if I could get dropped off at the boat while we were close before everyone else headed back out to the pass.


Everyone grabbed a quick snack and refilled water bottles before whisking away to go and dive.


I was alone. For the first time in almost a month I was completely by myself. No one in the other room. No one up on deck. No one just down by the beach. Just me and Agape.


I took a shower on deck fully naked (most showers have been in a bikini for everyone’s comfort) feeling the warm sun and cool water on my skin. I shaved my legs and washed my face. Activities we try to limit to only when necessary to save water.


After my shower, I dried off, laid a pareo on the couch, turned on the fan and laid there butt ass naked eating cheezits and watching Harry Potter without my headphones in.


This might not sound like much but it was glorious. I have loved every moment spent sailing and exploring with this crew but I’m someone who occasionally needs some alone time to decompress. Otherwise, I can feel myself getting annoyed with others for really no reason at all.


I could feel myself falling asleep so I reluctantly threw on a bikini just in case I didn’t wake up before everyone returned. Out of my slumber I heard the click of the carabiner hooking the dingy onto the boat. Voices grew clearer and Rachel popped her head in to see what I was up to. I walked out of the cockpit to see the boys proudly holding up three ono they had shot in the bait ball offshore. They told me about their adventure and I congratulated them on their catch. I’m happy they had fun and I didn’t miss out on anything too crazy.


While Rachel took pictures of them with their fish I started preparing a salad for everyone for dinner. Rachel helped me finish it once she was done with the boys. The salad was plenty for me but everyone else was still hungry so they cooked up some quinoa, green beans, and dogtooth. After eating we played two rounds of hand and foot. Rachel is now over forty thousand points. The boys and I are in a race for last place. Only a few more games and we will find out who is cooking the winner dinner.

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