Getting Closer to Civilization
Fakarava is not only popular with tourists, but also with other sailors. As a result, there are facilities for sailors here, unlike what we have encountered until now. We sail halfway towards the northern end of the island and pick up a free mooring buoy in front of a small lodge. It is where Mathieu runs Pakokota Yacht Service, which caters to all of our needs. There is reasonably fast internet, a large washing machine tackles our mountain of laundry, and Mathieu drives us to the village for groceries. After the shopping spree, we enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables again, the first since leaving Gambier. The setting also comes with a curse. We spend hours behind our computers to put blogs and vlogs online, order spare parts for delivery in Tahiti, and send out a newsletter. Fortunately, the sea is always there for a quick dive in some of the clearest water we have ever seen. Sharks, rays, and small tuna regularly swim below us. It’s a perfect combination of nature and sailors’ luxuries.
When we leave Fakarava through the northern pass a week later and set course for Tahiti, we wave at several boats with diving tourists. “The unique ecosystem attracts divers, bringing business to the local population”, Floris contemplates. “In this way, protection works for nature and the local economy.” “I had no idea that the atolls of the Tuamotus would be so big and so rich in coral, fish and other marine life,” Ivar adds. “I’m glad we didn’t circumvent this Dangerous Archipelogo!” At the same time, we realise that there are many serious threats to the atolls and their marine life, such as sea level rise and warmer seawater due to climate breakdown, plastic pollution, and illegal fishing. Yet there is still a lot of nature left. Fortunately, we still have time to preserve it for future generations.