It was a leisurely 4-hour downwind sail to Cook's Bay on the NW side of the verdant multi-peaked island of Moorea (French Polynesia). As we started out on August 10th, Jordan said that it is the time of year that whales are present in the area. None had been seen so far. Well that was till later in the day, just before entering the bay, outside along the reef we saw 2 whales lazing away in about 50 feet of water.
The pass in through the ringed reef was well marked with channel markers and range markers (2 poles on shore in line with the safe track in). Just inside, we swung left and took a safe anchorage (S17°28.911' W149°48.996'), the hook in 45 feet, but as Sea Turtle swung to an offshore breeze, she lay over a sandy shelf with only 5 feet under her keel. The water was so clear we could see the anchor, shells, and fish below us.
Our first anchorage behind the reef
Snorkelling was great. As soon as we were in the water next to Sea Turtle, Jordan spotted large shells and selected a beauty from the white sandy bottom.
This and subsequent snorkels along the reef yielded some nice shells as well as octopus, rays, and the usual myriads of reef fish. One new species was a 2-foot vivid yellow needlefish that swam along beside us undeterred. Another never spotted before was what we think was a Sea Robin according to our fish identification book. This is a very unusual fish with its large wings and bottom trolling feet. Check it out on the internet as we broke our underwater camera.