Ti Marick

A magical lockdown in the Tuamotus

We were in the north of Fakarava when Covid caught up with us.

In the Tuamotus, this is where the first case was recorded - a Swiss diver. Near the garbage bins, a poster read: «Coronavirus alert, sailing boats forbidden». The mutoi, (the municipal policeman), strongly advised us to leave the anchorage, which we did after we were sure that we could return two weeks later when the Cobia, one of the schooners that supply this part of the Tuamotus, passed by. Then we sailed to Toau, about 15 miles away. Like everyone else, we were astonished to learn that all trade, movement and travel on the planet had stopped. Thanks to our Iridium Go we always had access to our emails. Our days were well organized. In the morning, the men went spearfishing. Even though it was a bit difficult at the start, they really enjoyed discovering and sharing these moments together. After lunch, we went to stretch our legs on the ocean-side of the rocky outcrop, in the shade of the coconut palms. Or we would head out in the dinghy to discover new snorkeling spots - the sea bed is beautiful. Night falls quickly: 8pm of course meant a relaxing aperitif before finishing the evening with a film or a book. Then it was absolute calm: not a sound except the waves on the reef, with no intrusive light except the moon. One day we anchored near an abandoned pearl farm. We could make out a small house nearby, hidden among the coconut palms. We approached in the dinghy to greet the occupant, while respecting the regulatory distances. The welcome was polite, but distant. During one fishing trip, the guys watched helplessly and amazed as the sharks pounced on their catch. Predators hungry for easy food. But little by little the hunters became very efficient and fish became part of our daily menu. Every day we would drop by to greet the family that we had met ashore. Sometimes we would bring them fish and they would teach us which ones were edible; their advice on ciguatera was precious. As the Cobia was due to pass by a few days later, we headed back towards Fakarava, in the company of two women from the small island, with their coolboxes. Their presence on board when we arrived at the dock greatly facilitated our disembarkation. 

Who: Marie, Patrick, Erwan
Multihull: Outremer 4X
Where: Tuamotus
Blog: www.followingsea.net


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