Ali Baba and sundowners

At the end of the course, our 6th dive was a fast drift at 28m through Ali Baba Canyon, in the north pass. Sisu, our instructor, had positively spooked us at the pre-dive briefing, but in the end we managed, floating 20 cm off the bottom in the 6 knot current. Yup, in deep, fathomless blue with all the fish you could ever ask to see, lustrous coral gardens, elegant sharks cruising at the edge of our field of vision. Despite the ridiculous amount of paraphernalia you need to dive, we are all hooked on this underwater world. Axel and Jochen were beside themselves and I was, too.



At La Pailotte cafe we took sundowners by the lagoon with Gert (“Wind of Change”) and our Canadian friends (“Grin”). Walking back to the dinghy on the track by the lagoon was, as always, a delight. Under a fragile new moon with heady frangipani fragrances, palms swaying gently, the constant susurration of the surf on the eastern side – all intoxicating stuff. Bernard Moitessier decided to drop his anchor permanently at Ahe Atoll nearby, and it is easy to see why.


The ARC jolly boats are beginning to arrive and it is time we moved on. It is 250 miles down to Papaeete, dead downwind in light airs. So it will take us a couple of days. First though, there’s a minor Aries repair to complete and bread to bake.

Tainui is a happy ship.

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