The Anaa Project
No doubt that Anaa is a untouched pristine atoll but can it compete with all the other locations that are in everyone’s mind? It is not the easiest and I think that in the Seychelles or Christmas islands you achieve your dream fish easier and with less effort. The biggest drawback is the poor accessibility of the atoll by plane. Once a week a flight is fairly poor. I would have stayed longer if there would be at least two flights every week. But that’s not all!
For me Anaa was just perfect. It had something like an adventure somewhere completely remote. That it is so purely accessible is also an advantage because the atoll is still as it was made. Hundreds of miles to the next biggest civilization. I personally don’t need expensive lodges or guides in brand new boats. I’m more in favor of this authentic feeling with some really local guides that grew up there. I can not deny that I had my doubts whether this is a great idea but the project turned out to be the perfect choice.
Anaa has some limitations that are worth to mention to not give a wrong impression because being there with wrong expectations might cause confusion. GTs, the highest prize on Anaa aren’t easy to catch. There are numerous GTs on the reef but this is hard and dangerous fishing and none of the fish can be fought in an easy environment like on the Seychelles. You will loose more fish than you land. In the lagoon there is business as usual, plenty of bonefish can be caught and surprises won’t hide for long. You can compare it with a wild water ride in a canoe or in a bigger rubber dinghy. Both can bring you downstream but in the canoe the chance is higher to kiss a rock. It is up to you whether this sounds like a challenge for you or not. If you do you wont regret.
Giant clam on the reef
A few words about my guide and the people on Anaa. There are about 300 people on Anaa and all 300 are extremely friendly. Everyone is highly committed to make your stay a success. Rafael my guide is a excellent guide although he hasn’t much experience in guiding. His assets are his eagle eyes and the right motivation do what is needed and possible to catch fish. He grew up on Anaa and knows each spot like his backyard. The only limitation with Rafael, and by this the Anaa project comes on the table, is that he doesn’t speak much English but he is engaged to learn it. Talking with hands and feet is the daily business. I had a similar issue on Cuba and Los Roques because I can’t speak a word Spanish too.
The Anaa project is about to make Anaa ready for a limited number of fishermen. This starts with more flights by Air Tahiti, teaching the locals in English, refurbish the boats, fitting them with better engines and much much more. The future will show if the ambitious plan will be come a success. It highly depends also on the clients that are willing to experience an remote adventure. It’s a project for the entire community where everyone can profit.
Tagging a bonefish for the scientific program
By all this we should not forget Alex Filous who is the scientist on Anaa making his doctorate studies by a bonefish research project. Many open questions will be answered with his studies and the research program will be also a basis for a sustainable fishing on the atoll. With the help of anglers, Alex begun to identify the diet and spawning season of the bonefish on Anaa. This research is still in its infancy and we still have more questions than answers. Where are all the smaller bonefish? What are their movements and habitat use patterns in an isolated atoll? What is their survival rate after catch and release? How many are eaten by sharks? You can be part of it.
Alex was for me a big help. It started with translating to French but also with his excellent guiding expertise he gained being a fishing guide all over the world. He and Rafael became friends. I will miss all the stories we have shared the nights on Anaa. Friends for life!
French Polynesia and Anaa has much more to offer than just fishing. It is a part of the world for a good filled wallet but it also offers some specialties. Another dream came true for me when I had the chance to dive with sharks, rays, turtles and even dolphins. Something I will dream on till I come back is the astonishing cuisine with the daily fresh caught fish. It’s less the French cuisine but more the fish itself you can experience at home, parrot fish, mahi mahi, long nose emperor, moon fish and marlin.. Incredible!!!!
Check out Fly Odyssey (www.flyodyssey.co.uk). They made my dream come true and they will do also for you. There are still dates available to join the project. This is not a sponsored advertise but much more an honest recommendation to help this unique project. And to help Anaa.
The reef! Is’t it a beauty
Repairing the engine
Sunset at one of the gates. The perfect finish after a successful day on the reef.
Easy life on Anaa
Swiming with sharks. Dangerous?
Big hermit crab. I love those guys. The big ones are more shy than the smaller ones