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Friday, August 16, 2013

Tuamotus waypoints

Some of you have missed "seeing" where we've been in French Polynesia this season so I'll do a brief rundown on our stops in the Tuamotus from June 17 to July 27.

Fakarava South Pass (West): This was a favorite of ours in 2010 when we were one of a handful of boats who ventured over to this side of the pass. Most cruisers opt to anchor in deeper water to the east of the pass in front of Manihi's lovely pension/restaurant amidst the fir trees he and his wife planted on their motu. But this season we found many more boats were anchoring on the west side in spite of the longer dinghy ride for snorkeling/diving the pass. Neville and Catherine of Dream Time, along with help from several other cruisers, created the Fakarava Yacht Club beach "bar" on a sandy motu. We enjoyed many bonfire evenings there and we hope it survives cyclone season to open in time for next season's visitors.

Fakarava lagoon: On our first day of lagoon transit from the South Pass to the North we hit a period of incredibly calm weather. We anchored in 70' in mirror flat water. This is not a tenable stop in anything but perfect conditions. The reward here is a fantastic low tide reef walk. Two kinds of live cowries were in abundance along with many other interesting forms of marine life to observe (but not touch).

Fakarava near Tonae: This was a nice stop to stretch our legs and explore on the coral "road" which is more like a track. We chose to hike north where we found spurs leading to the outer reef for a nice beach walk at low tide.

Anse Amyot, Toau: This was a favorite stop of ours in 2010 when we had calm and settled weather. Unfortunately this year there was much more wind and we were hunkered down for almost 10 of the 28 days we spent here. Instead of daily snorkeling we escaped the wind out on the boat by going ashore. John was drafted to build Valentine a chicken coop. This is not the kind of thing he normally enjoys doing (give him a piece of electronics to fix and he's a happy camper), but it turned out great and it let Gaston get on with the jobs that are more important to him like clearing more of Motu Kai for planting palm trees for producing copra. A by-product of clearing the land of brush is turning up old garbage burn piles. I helped sift through these to separate out (broken) glass and aluminum. We think (hope) the latter is sent to Papeete for recycling. Gaston asked John and Chris of Privateer to help dig a pit in which to bury the glass. This was a difficult job and we all agreed that it might be better to bury the glass out at sea... As a reward for everyone's hard work, Gaston and Valentine took us out to Motu Pagnoi in their go-fast boat for a picnic. This turned out to be the calmest day of our stay there.


{GMST}16|31.244|S|145|28.368|W|Tuamotus|Fakarava South Pass (West){GEND}
{GMST}16|22.678|S|145|26.368|W|Tuamotus|Fakarava lagoon{GEND}
{GMST}16|15.583|S|145|32.837|W|Tuamotus|Fakarava near Tonae{GEND}
{GMST}16|03.552|S|145|37.248|W|Tuamotus|Fakarava North Pass{GEND}
{GMST}15|48.221|S|146|09.141|W|Tuamotus|Anse Amyot, Toau{GEND}