Calou's Blog

Cruising with the crew of CALOU on the Baja Ha-ha and Pacific Puddle Jump

Arrival in the Tuomotus

23 May 2011

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After a quick three day sail we have arrived at the atoll of Makemo in the Tuamotus. We have been looking forward to seeing this unique place since the beginning of our trip and it is exciting to actually b e here. Our passage was really fast, averaging over 150 miles a day, with the last 24 hours being our fastest since the trip began, at 165 miles. It really helps to have good winds to keep us moving. We did experience a few squalls and I enjoyed watching the sunrise this morning.
Big squall.
Rainbow in squall ahead of us.
Entering Makemo we had to go through our first pass, a break in the coral ring, a channel, where boats can enter the atoll. When we arrived the current was rushing out of the atoll at a quick pace making the entrance too rough for us to get through. So instead we hove to a few miles outside of the entrance and enjoyed a leisurely lunch. Two hours later we tried again as the current was now nearing slack tide. This time the surf was much more manageable, although we still were a bit tense as we motored though.
Approaching the pass into Makemo.
Nice looking beach near the pass.
Once inside the pass, it is like we entered a completely different world. The sea is perfectly flat and stretches out for a very long ways. This atoll is actually 40 miles long. A nice surprise here is that we are able to moor to the cement dock instead of having to anchor. This is our first time not anchoring since leaving Mexico, and what a luxury to just be able to step off the boat onto a solid surface.
Calou tied to the wharf.
After we finished docking I noticed a strange looking craft also tied to the dock. It turns out that a French woman, Anne (, had just completed a drift of 83 days from Callou (Lima), Peru to here. We had a great time talking to her and her parents (who happened to find her near this island and towed her in). Her communications system broke one week into her trip so her family and everyone following her trip at home was very worried about her safety. Her last communication had been about broken parts so they were extra worried. It turns out she was fine and had a good trip, although she mostly ran out of food about five days before arriving here. She expected the trip to take closer to 60 days instead of 83. The problem was she ran did not find the trade winds for longer than planned. Her only form of propulsion was a kite. She is quite the adventurer as she also has rowed across the Atlantic alone. Two years ago she attempted to row across the Pacific Ocean, starting from San Francisco, but a few days out she had equipment failures and had to abandon the trip. She spent last summer floating around on a small iceberg tracking its movement.
Kite boat.
In addition to meeting the charming solo sailor Anne, we also met the famous French singer, Antoine. He had some big hits in France in the 1960s and has lived aboard his trimaran in French Polynesia for the last 21 years.
Local admirer, Anne, and Antoine.
We plan to stay here a few nights, exploring the town and surrounding areas before moving on to the next anchorage in Makemo.
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Vessel Name: Calou
Vessel Make/Model: Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 47
Hailing Port: The Corinthian Yacht Club, Tiburon, CA
Crew: Bruce, Pascale, Antoine
Extra: Sailing on the 20th Annual Baja Ha-ha, departing mid October 2013 from Tiburon, and continuing to cruise Mexico. This will be our 3rd Haha. In 2011 we sailed the Puddle Jump from Mexico to French Polynesia, then up to Hawaii and back to San Francisco.
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