Our last morning on Tikehau. When we get up the water is dead calm which gives me an idea. I have a dress with me in case we have time and are able to do a “trash the dress” shoot. We try to work out if we should go now – 6am or after breakfast. Endless stuffing around means it is 7:08 before we are ready to go and at this point breakfast is open, 7am today so we have breakfast first. As we go to breakfast Triston says, all we need now is a breakfast shark, right on cue a shark swam in to view.
We sound shark obsessed, I get it. They are cute though. Anyway, we head to breakfast with camera gear and dress packed in a carry on bag. Triston is happy because Nutella is back on the buffet. It was on the first morning and he hasn’t seen it since. I say the may have run out and just got it back in, or maybe it is only there on certain days a week. The reason doesn’t matter, he is happy.
We walk to one of the spots we have sussed out. It takes a lot longer than we thought. We get about halfway there and I say let’s take some rocky photos. The landscape is a bit unexpected so we may as well take some here while we can. I don’t know if we moved slowly or if time sped up but everything takes a lot longer than you would think.
Time to change
We change in a hidden spot in the bushes. I pull the dress over what I am wearing and then undo my swimmer top so you can’t see the straps in the photo. My change of clothes was easy, I didn’t really change I guess. Triston is butt naked when I turn around. I was like what the hell. He could have taken his shirt off and put the other on, then changed his pants with the long shirt hiding his shame. No, he decided the best way was to remove shirt then shorts. So he was completely naked in the middle of this rocky outcrop.
I just don’t understand the logic. What. The. Hell. Did I really marry this guy? I ask him why he didn’t put a new shirt on then remove his pants. Confused by common sense, he says he will take that on board and look to implement the new process in the future.
So we take photos. Nothing is ever what you hope or plan. There are photos, we were there, they aren’t great. I tried to explain what we would do and Triston didn’t understand. The wind was strong and blowing the dress so I told him to hold the end of the dress, have his feet far away and lean forward like he is about to blow away…
Tikehau DIY trash the dress shoot
With that over, we head to the water for the more traditional trash the dress photos. This will be interesting. 10-second timer, water, heavy wet clothes and trying to look stylish.
I don’t like water so underwater photos will be difficult. It is starting to get hot. The camera was set and it knew what to do. The rest, what can I say. We have photos of us being hot angry fools. Sometimes in the water, sometimes not. Never looking good or like we enjoyed it.
As we get to the beach area that we have decided on we see in the water a fin. On closer inspection, it is a reef shark. I don’t manage to get a photo and the water is extremely shallow. He swims off, he was heading that way anyway I don’t think we had anything to do with that decision.
I said to Triston I was worried that a shark might mistake my dress for a jellyfish, go to eat it and get stuck in the dress. The dress has netting so I am worried about “going fishing” in the dress. It might act like a big cast net and I really don’t want to catch a shark. We tried to quickly get a photo with the shark, I pretend he is still there, just in case he is and we can’t see him.
I think the dress is catching fish
We try different spots, we take photos of each other because I didn’t want to put the tripod in the water. When we left our room the water was clear as glass. Now it is a bit choppy. Not choppy like actual rough water you see but there were small waves and current.
I didn’t see a way to anchor the tripod in the water in such a way that the camera would stay underwater – it likes to float – and the tripod would stay in place. There may have been a better way. I felt there wasn’t, not without damaging something and I didn’t want to damage the reef.
It doesn’t take long for us to be over it and decide to pack up. It is in this moment that Triston has a look back over some of the images we have captured and he says to me that I really shouldn’t puff my cheeks out when I go underwater. So, you know when you’re learning to hold your breath, I think toddlers do it. You jump in the pool and hold your breath and you have your cheeks full of air, for no reason? I never grew out of that.
Oh yeah, I can’t swim
If I get my head wet, my eyes have to be closed. If my eyes are closed and my face is wet, my cheeks are full of air. I don’t really understand how not to do it, I don’t consciously do it. I would have to focus very hard not to do it. So, he looks back at the photos and I am doing it in every single one. We are both, hot, angry and tired, we aren’t going to reshoot them. Even if we tried I would still do it, it isn’t something that I can just snap out of.
We pack up and get changed back into normal clothes. Triston takes his pants off and puts a towel on, then undies and shorts before standing around for a while, then changed his shirt. A slight improvement. I tie my swimmers back up. Take the dress off. Put a sarong on and we walk back. A long, boring, too tired to talk, trek back to our room.
It feels like we were in the water for 20 minutes and if that was the case this walk back was over an hour. We left breakfast around 7:30am and get back to our room at 11am. I have no idea where the time went. Maybe the walk back took 2 hours. Maybe we were in the water for 2 hours. It is hard to say. I guess I could check the time stamp on the camera but it is set to Sydney time.
Did you drone?
As we pass, reception asks if our bag contains a drone. Word has made it back to reception that we went flying yesterday. He says we must go far to fly. So it is confirmed, droning is allowed. Of course in this bag is a giant, sopping-wet, wedding dress.
Reception also enquires about Triston’s dive yesterday. Did he enjoy it? With a monotone voice, convening less interest than intended Triston said it was interesting and he did enjoy it. He sounds bored and sarcastic. He did enjoy it, really he did.
It isn’t long before lunch will be open. We take the dress out of the bag and slide it over one of the deck chairs. The chair sits inside the dress as if it were me so that wind can blow through it. The dress is too large and heavy to hang on anything. This seems the simplest solution to get it dry before we leave. We can only hope that it will be dry before we leave. Did I mention it is massive, 15 layers or something? It is a proper big wedding dress with a decent length train on it. Not the best dress to take on holidays, not a great dress to try and dry quickly after swimming in it.
Lunch is uneventful. Lasagne for Triston and pizza reine for me. Both are nice.
We let lunch settle and plan to pack but we aren’t in the mood for packing so we go for a swim. This time we head to the beach on the other side of the resort. This is a swim. Directly there, very few distractions.
Hello new spot
We take the snorkels but don’t really stop on the way over. The plan is to explore because I have not yet been to this spot. It isn’t what I imagined so I lose interest in any great exploration of the spot very quickly and would rather be in the water. I don’t want to be out in the sun. Today has been the first day my sunburn hasn’t been constant pain, it is calm. This sandy spot is a bit dirty. The only spot at the resort that I have seen litter and there are ‘stink pools’ – water trapped in the sand formation and now sitting smelly and stagnant. I head back and snorkel over reef and rocks that I had not previously seen. Triston follows.
Snorkelling is basically all we have done since we arrived so I am surprised and happy when I see a fish I hadn’t seen here yet. I call him a pufferfish but I really don’t know if he is or not. Triston explores the reef differently from me. This stops us crashing into each other.
As we get closer to our launch spot, back past the pufferfish, towards the stairs, I see one of the sharks. I always think it is the small one, it could be the larger one. Hard to say when you don’t have the others around for scale. I try to take a photo. I try to follow as they do seem to be swimming in some kind of loop.
Triston doesn’t see the shark or the pufferfish. Good thing I had the camera.
Storm time, it was in the Tikehau forecast
We see the wind pick up and then a storm coming in. With the cloud cover settling over the water it becomes difficult to see and the waves get a bit choppy so we call it a day. Rain when in the water isn’t an issue but when the conditions turn and you can’t fully enjoy it or you can’t see anything, I don’t think there is much of a point to stay in the water.
The storm is big and feels like it is going to blow furniture off the deck. It doesn’t, we get the dress inside, it is now dry, before any rain hits. Everything from our balcony or front porch is brought inside and windows and doors closed. The room gets hot quickly without the breeze. From experience we know that the strong winds won’t last long, the storm won’t last long and we can open everything up and air it out again soon. The rain hasn’t hit yet but it looks like it is going to.
Time to hit the Tike
Near 7pm and on the horizon we see the rain coming. Dinner being at 7pm and the restaurant was very busy last night we discuss if we should head to the bar and use the internet before the rain hits or be stuck in our room until it passes. We had to the bar. So did everyone else. No one is drinking, just waiting for dinner and making the same choice as us to arrive before the rain.
Triston orders two cocktails. Insistent I would probably like one. I test. I don’t. He drinks two. We get an olive, samosa and coconut snack platter with the cocktails. I enjoy that. The storm has some of the heaviest rain we have seen but it lasts no longer than half an hour. Wind arrives first and leaves last, the rain goes hard and fast and leaves just as abruptly as it arrived. It’s like your alcoholic friend, showing up drunk to your party, vomiting profusely everywhere and then disappearing into the night without cleaning up after themselves. They showed up and you should just be thankful they did. The rain has come and gone, but at least it rained?
Our last Tikehau dinner
Dinner, we have a special spot, the special chairs. A table reserved for us and decorated. Tonight is our last night and this was a very cute way to say goodbye. Triston chooses Bolognese. We have enjoyed the pasta. I have Carbonara again.
Every night we have planned to get their chocolate molten cake, a chocolate fondant if you are more used to that term. The meals were so filling we had not been able to. We made the conscious effort not to eat the bread rolls but we still couldn’t fit it in tonight. I say it is probably ok, it says ‘Pearl Beach’ not ‘Tikehau’. Our next hotel (Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort) is also a Pearl Beach hotel so we can probably get it there.
No such thing as a free lunch but what about free drinks?
When we sign the bill, there is one for food and one for the bar – as it has been any other time we ordered drinks with our meal – only this time the bar one says $0. Confused Triston looks up and he is told it is right, he wasn’t sure exactly what she had said but he thought it might have been our leaving gift. He understood the part where he was assured that the total for the cocktails was nil. Beyond that, he tried but failed to hear properly. What a nice surprise. Especially for Triston, he drank both.
Again, we have said we will pack but don’t. The water is still, the storm has passed. We stare into the water and watch all that is happening in the light of the full moon. Time stops or speeds up when you are mesmerised by the water and the creatures in it. We are ready for bed by the time we stop snooping on the lives of sea creatures. Triston moves our ready and waiting suitcases out of the way so we have a clear path to the bathroom, should we need it during the night or in the morning.
Tikehau day 5 was 31 March 2018
Updated 27 September 2019