Tuesday, July 26, 2016

One Of Those Perfect Days - Rotoava, Fakarava

Why does she look so happy? Check out that beach!

Why does he look so happy? Read on...

Don't you just love those days when everything works out wonderfully and you know it will become a day for the memory books? 

After leaving south Fakarava we sailed north until we anchored in the lovely town of Rotoava. It actually felt like the "big city" after 5 weeks without internet or stores. The town has free mooring buoys and we were able to pick one up right between our friends JACARANDA and MALUHIA. We were told that bicycle rentals were available from Fakarava Yacht Services on the far side of town, Linda from JACARANDA contacted them and they agreed to bring the bicycles directly to the quay were we tied up our dinghies.

When we arrived at the quay they were already unloading the bikes from the back of their van. These were comfy beach bikes in excellent condition that would be perfect for the unpaved, coral roads ahead.

We head out to the North Pass on our bikes.

We headed north through town, cheerfully wishing everyone we passed a hearty "bonjour" and "ia orana" (Tahitian greeting), past the airport where the paved road ended, and continued on the more challenging road of dirt and coral. 

Shells? No. Road? Yes!
Eleven kms later we reached the end of the road, the remote and windswept Fakarava North Pass where Cinnabar will eventually exit the lagoon. 

Linda and Sylvia watch the water rushing out of the north pass.
As Linda and I stood there gazing at the water rushing out she wondered out loud "I wonder where the people go to SCUBA dive?" About 2 minutes later a spiffy, large inflatable blasted by us, out the pass, and dropped a boat load of divers into the water. Question answered.

SCUBA divers dropping over the wall outside north pass. photo courtesy of Jacaranda
MALUHIA had done the ride a couple of days before and told us about a picture-perfect beach with fine, white sand at km #9, so on our way back we took a short detour off the road and ended up at a quintessentially south pacific beach where lush palm trees drooped over alabaster white sand. Tom and I jumped in while Chuck relaxed and Linda looked for treasures.

A perfectly beautiful south pacific beach. photo courtesy of Jacaranda

Ready to roll. (photo courtesy of Jacaranda)
Luckily the wind was very light that day so we had almost no headwind on the return trip. As we road through the quaint and picturesque town we stopped at the bakery/store to place our baguettes and croissants order for the next morning, then continued to Fakarava Yacht Services to return our bicycles. We were now on the far end of town so we had a pleasant walk back to the quay to look forward to. However our fun day was not about to end.

Linda had seen some in-water tables at the nearby "5 star" resort Pearl Havaiki and she was not about to continue on until we got a picture of her sitting at the table. In spite of the numerous "Tables For Hotel Guests Only!!" signs littering the area Linda and I shed our outer garments, stepped over the guests lolling in the sand and made our way to a table while Tom followed with a camera.

Linda and Sylvia - scofflaws enjoying the Pearl Havaiki. Photo courtesy of Jacaranda

Unfortunately the snack bar was closed so we were denied drinks. It was now 5:00 p.m. and we were starting to get hungry. We had plans to eat at Rotoava Grill, home of some famous cheeseburgers, but since they didn't open until 6:00 p.m. we stopped at a charming beach cafe for drinks. It was the perfect place to watch the sunset.

Drinks at the wonderful La Paillote, perfect spot to watch the sunset.

When the grill opened we found a table outside next to some flaming tiki torches and enjoyed some of the best cheeseburgers we'd had in quite some time. 

Cheeseburgers in Paradise

After dinner we enjoyed a wonderful stroll back to the quay under the stars, and agreed that our day was one of those special ones that would stick in our memories for a long time.

Linda, Chuck, Sylvia and Tom  - all smiles


  1. Wow, wow, WOWWWWWW! What a spectacular adventure! I don't think that can be beat! Love you both!

  2. Amazing... what a wonderful day!! The bike ride and cheeseburgers in paradise? Yeah, i guess!!
    love you guys

  3. Indeed....a wonderful day in Paradise. May you enjoy many more!!!!

  4. Ab Fab!!!! And I thought we were in Paradise here in Kauai...topper!
    Is there a song titled "Fresh Ahi in Shangri-La?" XOXO

  5. Wow! Good for you guys! Looks like weather has improved? We loved Fakarava when we were there about 15 years ago and it sounds more cruiser friendly now. Are there still pearl buoys stretched across the water? When we were there there was a "channel" between the north and south passes but the horizon was so white with buoys it looked like surf. Enjoy!

  6. It is wonderful that our four good friends are enjoying this adventure together! Love the pictures of you all.

  7. @Heidi - I've heard there are fewer pearl farms in Fakarava than there used to be. We pretty much only saw the pearl buoys as we approached the town of Rotoava and I don't think they are as plentiful as you describe. Still, there are some in business and they are a major tourist attraction.

    @Susan - Thank you for telling us to keep an eye out for Jacaranda. We're so very happy that our paths have crossed and we've been able to spend a good deal of time with them.