Our journey isn’t a typical sailing journey in only one direction. We move slowly, our plans change daily, the stops usually take longer than expected, and we also tend to return to places we visited before. As a matter of fact, we often move in circles. That’s absolutely fine by me, but when I have to write my first article for the Hive, I find myself facing a huge dilemma. Where the hell should I begin? I decided that I’d start right in the middle, geographically as well as chronologically speaking. Let's start on the atoll of Fakarava - simply because this is my favorite anchorage.
Fakarava is part of the Tuamotu, which are a thousand-miles long island chain between the Marquesas and Tahiti. This is a dream destination, but it’s also very far away from anywhere. The high prices of Air Tahiti don’t help, nor does the rare and unpredictable marine transport. That’s why the only tourists here are hardcore divers who know that the underwater world of the Tuamotu is a sight worth seeing, regardless of the price and the long travel hours. We arrived there on our sailboat, so I can add that Fakarava is also worth a 3000-mile long transoceanic trip.
The most beautiful corner is the southern part of the island, where the blue sea plays with the pink sandy beach. Rick and I spent a few weeks here, but even so I never got bored of the view. You could probably find somebody saying that there’s nothing to do out there. Well, in a way that’s true. It depends on what you like to do. In Southern Fakarava there are no souvenir shops and no nightlife whatsoever. Even so, I can never get bored there.
How could I, when I can ...
Go to the beach, where I can swim among brightly-colored fish and corals?
Climb to the top of the mast and take pictures of this amazing view, so different at various times of the day?
Row to a tiny island with pink sand and palm trees, which at that moment is mine and mine alone?
Talk to neighbors, who come for a chat and to invite us over for a drink, or we organize a potluck by the campfire on the beach?
Go collect lobsters?
Always have something to photograph when I’m underwater?
And also …
I can throw a few breadcrumbs into the water and dozens of bright yellow fish will come and fight over them;
I can get busy cleaning the keel from shells and unwanted growth;
I can spend the whole afternoon pulling myself up and down the chain to improve my freediving skills;
And if I really run out of ideas, I can sail a few miles east, where I find new bays, new people, and new underwater places to explore.
I have always had a connection to the sea. Born in the coastal village of Sistiana (near Trieste) in northern Italy, my earliest memories are of watching the heavy waves slam ashore when the local winds were blowing hard. As a teenager, the sailing club became my focus – not just for my love of water sports, but also for the handsome boys that sailed there. I went on to become an Optimist instructor for the club by summer and a junior school teacher by winter. However, ten years of focusing on the needs of children dampened my maternal instincts somewhat and I felt the need to travel. The sea was the obvious way to go…