Thursday, August 11, 2011

Mopelia - A 'Not To Be Missed' Final Stop in French Polynesia

Almost all of our friends have hurried out of French Polynesia--mostly because their 90-day visa is up, and there is NO EXTENSION POSSIBLe once you are 'in country'. Some have set off on the Southern Cooks route... Aitutake - Palmerston, etc. Others have set off on the Northern Cooks route... Suwarrow. One boat has actually gone north up to Penrhyn, and then on to Suwarrow.

But there are two seldom-visited places at the tail end of French Polynesia (after we have checked out)... Maupiti and Mopelia.

Maupiti is only 25 miles from Bora Bora. But it is a little problematic this time of year--the pass faces south and if there's much of a southerly swell running, it can be impassable. We wanted to go there, but with the current weather, we could get in, but might get trapped there for a few days. So we chose instead to go directly to Mopelia.

Mopelia is 130 miles downwind from Bora Bora. There used to be a village at Mopelia, but a large cyclone in the 90's swept the town away. Now there are only a couple of families living in the southern motu. There is no store. There is no supply boat. There are no charter boats. There are no tourists.

Our friends on Don Quixote made an unplanned stop here a couple of days ago and have said "we may never leave". It is a Tuamotu in the Society Islands--far from the tourist crowds--almost unihabited--great diving--beautiful beaches--clear water. (See Don Quixote's blog link on the left).

We made the overnight jump last night, and came in the pass an hour ago. We too think we have arrived in Paradise. Arriving boats can pick their own half mile of deserted beach to pull up in front of. We are anchored in 20' of sand, near some nice snorkeling coral heads, off a beautiful palm-studded white sand beach. Another boat here, Loose Pointer, just made a dive outside the pass and said it was the best diving he has done in a LONG time.

The weather will be too light to head NW to Suwarrow for 4-5 days. So we are 'stuck' here til at least the 15th. Darn!!

Bonfire on the beach tonight--full moon. Wish you all could be here with us!!
Sherry & Dave
In French Polynesia til August, then west toward Tonga

At 8/11/2011 1:08 AM (utc) our position was 16°46.70'S 153°57.07'W

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