After we checked out of Bora Bora we went and anchored behind a motu across from town to wait on weather. The plan was to go to Maupiti, an island 25 miles to the west. It has a south facing pass into the atoll, so we wanted to wait for the large south swell to go down before attempting the pass. On the sand banks near where we anchored they take tour boats out to feed and play with the sting rays. Does “crikey!” ring a bell? (Steve Irwin the Crocodile Hunter) We took the dinghy out and as soon as we anchored it a dozen rays swam up close to see what we brought them for late afternoon snacks. It was a little unsettling when you jumped in to 3-4 feet deep water and these guys all swarm under you. They are about 3-4 feet across. No food from us.
Since we are already checked out of French Polynesia we aren’t really supposed to go to Maupiti. But, there are no Gendarmes in Maupiti and the locals are friendly. Right now there are about 10 boats in the atoll and probably 8 of them have already checked out. The other thing strange about checking out was the fact that when I gave them Chris’ US passport the visa in it was expired by 30 days. We had a letter from Immigration indicating that they were going to issue Chris a carte de sejour (extended visa), but it wasn’t ready yet. No one asked for the letter, so I didn’t volunteer it. No problems – just a normal check out.
We motored over to Maupiti and followed the ranges into the narrow pass. Surf breaking close by on either side and 3-4 kts of current against us, but it was pretty easy with the 4 ft seas. Inside the pass are some moorings that are right next to an area where the manta rays hang out. There’s a large rock in about 20-25 feet of water that the current passes by and they just seem to hang near.
As Chris is fond of saying, “It’s always a good day when you can swim with mantas”. If the wind cooperates we will do one more snorkel with the mantas in the morning after procuring fresh baguettes, then its off for 5-6 day sail to Suwarrow, in the Cook Islands.