Wednesday, August 16, 2017

French Polynesia's best kept secret. Mopelia

About 135 miles west of Bora Bora lies Mopelia (a French Polynesian atoll). Technically after checking out of French Polynesia, you're not supposed to visit Mopelia, but the trip is worth any risk of getting caught, and honestly if you saw the the sketchy pass to get into Mopelia, you'd know that no official would risk their boat to get in.  Us, however..... we handled the pass like a boss!

The pass to Mopelia is the main reason people don't sail here. The guides books all but guarantee that you'll wreck your boat or die attempting this pass. Yes, it's sketchy, super skinny and the constant outgoing tide makes it's a bit more of a butt puckering experience, but it can be done. 

Pass entering Mopelia

We waited until the sun had come up just enough to make visible both sides of the reef. With the engine punched down, we motored against the current and slowly made our way through the pass. The pass itself isn't very long, but it took the better part of 10 minutes to motor against the 4 knots coming at us, moving at a snails pace.

Once inside Mopelia, a picture perfect paradise was waiting for us. We spent several days enjoying the company of buddy boats we hadn't seen since Mexico, relishing in pot lucks and happy hours. Mopelia is host to 4 different families who are all copra farmers. Every 8 months a supply ship will come purchase all the copra and pay out the families. Other than that one supply ship every 8 months the only other boats that visit are cruisers. 



Mopelia is famous for the Seeadler wreck just outside the pass. Although the wreck is 100 years old, you can still make out different pieces to the ship, including cannons and anchors. 



Cannon ball off Seeadler

Copra Shed



What made Mopelia a special stop for us was the generous family living in the NE corner of the motu. The lovely family took all the cruisers to find lobster at night. The two daughters of the local family were able to catch 6 lobsters...cruisers only caught 2. After the night time lobster catch, the local family offered to cook the lobster and host a cruiser pot luck the next night. 

Lobsters

We approached the beach the next night for the lobster dinner and our jaws hit the floor. The family had prepared an entire feast for 18 people complete with a tablecloth, cutlery, folded napkins, cut coconuts to drink from and a spread like no other pot luck we've attended. Their giant table was covered in lobsters that had been slathered in a curry sauce, giant coconut crabs that had been steamed to perfection, and bowls of poison cru. 


The mother and daughters had made each of us, by hand, shell necklaces to keep. It's moments like these that we treasure... an unexpected night that will stay with us forever. 











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