Friday, 24 June 2016

3-2016 Tuamotu Archipelago

Hi from Clare, Thursday 23rd June 2016

We left Nuku Hiva last Monday 13th June. By that time Andrew's infected leg was healing nicely, my shoes were repaired and we were fully provisioned. We heard on the radio that fresh fruit and veg will be scarce until we arrive in Tahiti in some twelve weeks time.

We sailed 90 miles to Hanamoenoa Bay on the island of Tahuata. We spent some time here last year so we knew it to be a calm anchorage with crystal clear water. So with a waterproof bandage on his leg Andrew was able to clean the slime off the bottom of the boat in preparation for leaving. However it wasn't all work and no play and we both enjoyed the 28 degree water. We spent two nights here in company with our Aussie friend Tony and crew on 'Tactical Directions'.

It took us 3 days in company with 'Tactical' to sail the 525 miles to the atoll of Raroia in the Tuamotus. During this time we experienced everything from pleasant sailing to absolutely no wind, pouring rain, threatening squalls, brilliant sunsets, flat seas, big swells, strong winds and this cycle was repeated a couple of times; it certainly keet us on our toes.

The Tuamotus is made up of some seventy atolls and the larger lagoons have navigable entrances. We arrived at the pass into the atoll of Raroia at slack water. This is the best time to negotiate the entrance as the incoming or outgoing tide can be as much as eight knots. Once through the pass we sailed five miles in flat water across the atoll and anchored off Kon-tiki Island (named such because a group of explorers in 1947 drifted a raft called Kon-Tiki some 4,300 miles from Peru and landed here). We are still anchored here as it is too beautiful to leave yet.

We went for a dive with eleven other divers last Monday. To do this we left the Kon-Tiki anchorage on 'Tactical Directions' in company with three other catamarans and travelled back to the pass then launched four dinghies full of divers and waited for slack water followed by the incoming tide. When the time was right we descended into an amphitheatre and did a drift dive through a number of raveens and then out into a magnificent coral garden mostly white and yellow in colour. There were many colourful fish and we saw half a dozen harmless sharks. It was a good dive and we may go back and do the coral garden again at a more leisurely pace. The four dinghies picked us up at the end making the drift dive possible as we had covered quite a distance.

We had a pot luck dinner on the beach on Tuesday night with everyone from the anchorage. We had three Australian boats, three Austrian and one Dutch boat. Andrew says it sounds like the beginning of a joke - three Australians, three Austrians and one Dutchman went to the Bar" but this time we all gathered for drinks at sunset. We had a big fire going for cooking and one chap played his guitar and we had a sing along. It was a good night and only came to an end when a rain squall came over and we all scurried back to our boats.

Yesterday in company with 'Tactical' and crew we dinghied down to a pearl farm. The development of the cultured black pearl is the primary resource in the Territory after tourism. The local people are very welcoming and allow the cruisers to walk through the shed and see the process. This particular farm harvests the oysters and impregnate them.
They are then placed back in the water and tended for twelve months until the pearl has been formed. This, probably not unlike the gold or diamond mines, is definitely the unattractive side of the sparkling jewellery industry.


Tony and crew on 'Tactical Directions' left this morning and so now we can slow down a bit. We are quite happy to stay here as we are not in a hurry and there are a few more anchoring spots within the lagoon. The boat hasn't been this still since we left the Panama Canal and so we are just enjoying life to the full. We will post photos when next we have internet access.

Love Candy xx

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