One of the things the Tuamotos are famous for are their black pearls. Way back in the day they used to grow white pearls naturally. Many years of harvesting, however, and the white pearls were gone. The Chinese realized that it was a perfect environment for pearl production and brought in pearl farming. These pearls would be black pearls and were manmade by artificially implanting a small plastic bead into the muscle of the oyster. It is still a lengthy process, as a good size pearl would have to be replanted into a larger oyster year after year to produce the perfect pearl. It could take up to 8 years to produce a high rated black pearl! But with thousands of farms most of the worlds supply of black pearls come from the Tuamotos. Farming is not as prevalent as it used to be, but there are still some massive oyster farm fields floating out in the atolls. Some friends and us got to visit one of these farms and see the process behind the scenes.

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This particular farm was owned by a German and his wife who was local.

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Pulling up a oyster basket to show how the implantation process works.

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Instruments used to pry open the oyster to implant the graff that holds the implant. The pearlescent comes from inside the shell

The German guy who ran the place gave a very extensive, but interesting explanation of the process. He opened up an oyster and dissected it to showed all the parts involved in the implantation. By the end the poor oyster was just bits and pieces…then this happened…

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This is our friend Darren of s/v Gratatouille, he likes to eat….anything. He seemed to be concerned about the oyster bits going to waste and asked the owner if it was okay to eat it. The owner was sort of slack jawed, but recovered and replied “well, I guess so, no one has ever asked before”. So, he showed Darren the edible part and down the hatch it went. While we all stood by in horror/amusement, Darren was declaring it “deeeelicious”. Hmmmm…

After that we all went up the the pearl shop where you could buy loose pearls or those turned into jewelry by the owner and his wife. Our friends bought loose pearls as gifts for family and to make jewelry. I found a really cool necklace for my mom.

Owning a pearl farm is a pretty lucrative business, and you can’t beat the view while you are working.
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Maybe my next venture should be to become a pearl farmer?

The first part of July found Me and Tawn in Seattle. I had a job with Danno and so we took the opportunity to visit friends, pick up some boat parts, some new kite boarding gear, and some other bits we needed to bring back to the boat.

Tawn flew back through Hawaii so she could hangout with friends Dave and Jen for a few days and buy a new kite board. I flew back via L.A. and got back a day before Tawn did.

My baggage did not.

Half of all the stuff we bought and stuffed into our luggage was in my checked bag. The one the airline lost! Easily $1000 worth of boat parts and other goodies. Luckily it all showed up on Monday afternoon, but the welcome back to Tahiti was marred just a little.

Since we had a few days to kill waiting for my luggage we spent it putting the boat back together and ready to go cruising again and goofing off around town.

This does not mean the same thing in Tahiti as it does in Seattle. I was a little sad.
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We left Papeete, Tahiti and sailed to the Island of Moorea about 25 miles away. Moorea here we come!
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We were sailing in to Cooks Bay on Moorea island through the pass under headsail alone when the wind completely died. So we rolled up the jib and fired up the engine. That is when shitty reared it’s lumpy brown head.

We’ve had this reoccurring electrical issue that I have been unable to track down. Somewhere in our rat’s nest of an electrical system there is a short. Every now and again, it shows it’s self in the form of a burnt fuse. Which, once blown takes away our ability to charge the batteries with the alternator when the engine is running. Luckily we are in the South Pacific, so we have more than enough sun and wind to keep the batteries charged up.

Historically this issue shows up so infrequently that I sorta don’t give a shit about it. The fix has always been to look at and wiggle some wires, then replace the fuse and it works for another couple months. As a quick aside, if you need an electrician to work on your boat. Hit me up. My rates are reasonable and i’m pretty sure i’d rip you off WAY less than any other “Marine Electrician” you’ll end up hiring.

It is however, officially time to pay the piper. The issue seems to be permanent. As soon as I turn on the ignition, the fuse blows. No matter how vigorously I wiggle wires.

So we spent two days chasing and replacing wires and connections. Good news is I found two corroded wires and replaced them. Bad news is, there is at a minimum one more bad wire somewhere and I have not found it yet.

Honestly though this is not a bad place to work on your boat.
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But the sun was shining and there was miles of coral reef to snorkel. So we said fuck it! Jury rigged it so we can at least start the engine and we’ll fix it properly when we haul the boat in Tonga in a couple months.

Right now the patch is to just start it, let it burn up the fuse and carry on. At this point in the story i’d like to take the time to apologize to the good people of Papeete, Tahiti and a couple small towns on Moorea. I’m pretty sure we bought all the 30 amp fuses on those two islands…..sorry if you needed some.

I bet if you made an offer this beauty it could be yours.
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Anyway, here are some pictures of awesomeness that we are experiencing instead of fixing stupid wiring issues.

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Ali Beth, the shorts you bought me give me awesome balancing powers.
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And of course we can always find the bar for sunset drinks!

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In the case you do not know us, we have been back in the states for about a month. CB got an opportunity to do a quick job out in Montana and I had to travel as well or my visa would have run out before he returned. So on July 10th CB flew out to Seattle and on the 11th I flew out to Hawaii to visit friends I had not seen for 5 years…thanks for the hospitality Dave & Jen. I stayed in Hawaii about a week then headed to Seattle on some travel passes a friend gave me…thanks again! A quick trip to Chicago was also managed to see family and my cousins new baby…u are a cutie Clay😄 After I returned to Seattle both CB and I were able to catch up with friends and spend time on more boats. We do miss the PNW, but are ready to return home to the boat for more adventures.

One change in plans is that we are not going to New Zeland this year. Instead we are going to haul the boat out in the Vava’u group in Tonga. The boat will spend the cyclone season hanging out in a custom cradle with 8 tie down points to cement. It is also stored in a quarry with 3 high sides. Feeling pretty secure about that and our insurance is happy. We will be looking for a place to stay locally near the boat…maybe some housesitting! We plan on just hanging out in Tonga and doing a lot of kite surfing during the cyclone season. Then in April or May we will head off for another season of cruising in Tonga and Fiji. This area is too amazing to cover in one cruising season. We are lucky enough to be able to spend one more season out there before heading back to work hopefully in NZ.

In the meantime, here are some rage inducing photos of what we have been seeing and doing in the past few months.

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This is at a mother’s day feast we were invited to. These guys are professional Marquesian dancers who compete yearly in Papeete. They are bad asses and really get into it. Probably one of my most favorite photos.

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This is supposedly one of the largest waterfalls in the world, dropping 900 feet into the valley. Trail access through Daniel’s Bay on Nuka Hiva island.

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We hiked about an hour and then had to swim up through these caves to get to the actual waterfall. Since it had been raining for a week, the falls were raging and it was so windy from the water rushing down that we could barely open our eyes and didn’t get any photos of the actual falls.

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Beautiful Catholic Church on Tahuata Island.

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Daniel’s Bay on Nuka Hiva. A local lady living near this beach invited us in for kai kai (a meal). She served wild goat in coconut milk, rice and a bunch of delicious veggies and fruit.

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The awe inspiring spires above Ua Pou, our last stop in the Marquesas. This was probably our favorite spot in the Marquesian islands.

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Palarran anchored outside the village in Makemo Atoll.

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Beach fire with the crew of Peregrine on an unmarked spot on Makemo Atoll.

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South Fakarava paradise…favorite place EVER!

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I DECLARE THIS ISLAND MINE!

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The shades of blue here are amazing. The water is so clear you can’t tell the difference between 60 feet and 6 feet.

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Everyone has been asking what we do all day…well there is a lot of this…

I’m gonna let this be a photo blog solamente.

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I had the early morning watch as we came into the Galapagos Islands. This is Kicker Rock. We would later do my favorite dive of the trip there.

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Isla San Cristobal is thick with Sea Lions. They make themselves at home on any dock, beach, swim step or dinghy.

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There are tons of weird looking lizards here…the black lava lizards actually surf! I name this little guy Eddie….Eddie Lizzard.

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Boobies!! Haha made u look….it is a blue footed booby…the bird people😲

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Darwin is all over this place….fun fact….Charles Darwin…the living legend of evolution….only spent 5 weeks in the Galapagos islands!

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There are crystal clear bays all over this place. We swam here and young sea lions came up and played with us.


I swam with these guys near the boat. The one is playing with an egg that got chucked overboard….never broke it, just held it gently in it’s mouth tossing it to his buddies.

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We went to a turtle reserve and nursery on Isla San Cristobal. They bred the turtles and hatched the eggs. Turtles from new borns on to 100 years are found here. They start in a nursery and are kept in protective cages until they are old enough to not be eaten by predators. We may have gotten to close to this guy, but the guide kept telling us to get closer! I love these guys, look at the cute little guys tongue in the close up….but as you can clearly see, CB is wary….he’s thinking “that is not a dog”

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CB and Robbie holding up the bar on Isla San Crystobal….the beers here are huge!

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Apparently there is a version of volleyball played in Equador that exists nowhere else in the world. When they play they catch the ball and then toss it back over the net…only briefly….but there is definitely a catch. And they are very serious about this game. Maybe the fact that they are playing with a soccerball has something to do with it….ouch!

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The whole town showed up to watch these bozos yell and scream at each other….their own team mates. I am not sure what was being said….but even when they won the point arguing took place.

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This guy was the angriest and started all the shit talking…he is abbout 4 1/2 feet tall…always the little guys😊

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Everyone got into it….even this little girl. She stole the ball, maybe she got sick of all the arguing and wanted to end the game😄

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In Santa Cruz, the biggest town, there is a eating street. At night the road is lined with food vendors. They all basically sell the same thing, so there is a mad rush to get your business as you walk by each place. The center of the road is full of tables and chairs and everyone eats family style. It was the cheapest and best place to eat. CB and I each got a lobster and big beers for 12$ each!

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Santa Cruz had a fresh fish market where you could buy fish straight off the boat. The market is right on the wharf and the women cleaning and selling fish spend most their time shooing off the Pelicans and the sea lions….who are slippin’ and slidin’ around under their feet.

We also visited Isla Isabella which was our favorite island. Less people and tour boats and the town still had that undeveloped feel. Dirt roads were still the norm. Isabella is worth a post of it’s own and once we get the videos edited we will put up the goods.