Monday, May 26, 2014

Taking Life One Pass at a Time

It is amazing how different the Tuomotus are from the Marquesas. All of these islands are atolls with a large lagoon surrounded by a coral reef. The lagoons are fairly large and free of any swell as this is dissipated by the fringing coral reef. There can be some wind waves and even some moderate chop, however, as the fetch inside the lagoon can be up to 30 miles. Most of these atolls have one or two passes from the ocean into the lagoon and it's all about timing the entrance or exit with the tidal current. Even though the tide is pretty small, less than a foot typically, there is a large volume of water passing through a small cut which can produce a significant current, up to 6 or 8 knots. If this current is then opposing the 20 knot trades then some boisterous conditions can result. We saw some fairly large standing waves in one of the passes as we were entering on a rising tide and it was quite a ride. Add to that some of these passes are fairly narrow and it makes for some exciting times!

We spent several days relaxing in Fakarava (transiting the Garue Pass) after our crossing from the Marquesas, including an expensive visit to a black pearl farm which was well worth it! We then went to the atoll of Toau and spent one night inside the lagoon (Otugi Pass) at a gorgeous, picture post card South Pacific anchorage and two nights on a mooring in Anse Amyot, actually outside the lagoon in a "false pass". The next day we came to Apataki and the Pakaka Pass with it's amazing turquoise water and crossed the lagoon to Motu Rua Vahine. We have been here two nights and are now planning to head up the inside of the lagoon to the North Pass and then on to Rangiroa. After Rangiroa it's on to Tahiti and the Society Islands (Moorea, Raiatea, Bora Bora) ...

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