Surviving and Thriving in Maupihaa

Tossing shells with Dad
After saying goodbye to our friends on SV Moana Roa, we headed out the Maupiti pass and on to Maupihaa to meet up with our friends on Remi De, Dafne, Elena, Rockstar, and Outsider.  On the way, I would turn one year older – a birthday at sea.  Before we left Bora Bora, Mark had surprised me with a day at one of the fancy resort spas for some birthday pampering.  Not a bad place to be for a birthday!

In the first evening of our sail, we noticed whales breeching off the port stern.  It was amazing and unsettling at the same time.  Would they come too close to us and breech at an inopportune time?  Visions of a whale slung over our deck quickened my heart rate and sent me turning the autopilot a few clicks more to starboard, just to be on the safe side.  I watched, relieved, as the spouts of spray confirmed that the whale was going further and further away from us.

Good winds allowed us to sail most of the way, even getting us to the narrow pass of Maupihaa by 8 a.m. the next morning, faster than we’d anticipated.  We’d heard from a friend, who’d already sailed through the pass, to get in as early in the day as possible, because the strong outgoing current picked up in the afternoon to 6 knots.  Since we got there early, we only had to push through 3-4 knots of current to get in.  It was a tight squeeze, hugged by shallow coral reef along each side that created a space barely as wide as a one-lane road.  I was very happy not to be at the helm, but rather up by the mast, spotting bombies (shallow coral heads).  Later, on shore, we’d hear of one catamaran that misjudged the reef.  He had left with the sun in his eyes and had to be pulled off by a local’s fishing boat.  Luckily, no major damage was done and everyone was fine, but I’m glad that wasn’t us!

Dinghy full of friends coming to hang out on the beach!
Guys out foraging for food
The kids were immediately swept up into the flurry of beach play, and I enjoyed reconnecting with my girlfriends from the other boats, too.  The men reverted to their hunter/gatherer instincts, going out daily to hunt lobster and coconut crab, trolling for wahoo, spear fishing in the pass, or digging in the reef for escargot.  Hio, the 20-something hunk whose family lived here, was amazing at finding food.  He knew this place – where to go hunting and when.  All the men were thrilled to learn from such an expert in the ways of island foraging, and followed along any chance they could.

Learning to grate coconut
I marveled at the warm welcome and positivity from the sweet family who live on this tiny atoll.  Mark and I often have conversations about how to be deliberate with this special time we have with our kids – deliberate about who we are as a family and the impression we want to leave with others.  This family quickly became an inspiration to us.  The joy and generosity that they convey to each and every cruiser is a true testament to the legacy the parents have passed on to their children.

During our stay in this paradise, we learned all about island life and survival, but we also learned how to thrive and love deeply.

The ladies hanging out with Hio :)
Coconut crab hanging around waiting to be dinner

Cooking those coconut crabs!
Learning how to make cowrie shell necklaces

 While we were in Maupihaa, Elizabeth celebrated her 9th birthday with a beach cupcake party.  Our new friends made her a gorgeous shell necklace and she got lots of hugs!  Her friends all brought specially made gifts, and they had a great afternoon enjoying the island.

Homemade cards are the best!!

Kids in their natural environment

Helping Michael after a fun boogie board ride!   

Opening a special pearl bracelet from Dad - priceless...


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