Calou's Blog

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

Arrival at Makemo

24 May 2011 | Tuomotu Archipelago
We finally arrived in the Tuomotu archipelago at the island of Makemo after three days and three nights of sailing. The weather was mostly excellent with fairly consistent winds in the 15 to 20 knot range, though there were times when we had to motor and other times when we had to put in a double reef.

Delightful Sunset
Delightful Sunset

Like all of the islands in the Tuomotu, Makemo is an atoll, or a narrow ring of coral just barely above sea level with a protected lagoon in the interior. Makemo atoll is typical, the lagoon within being about 40 miles long. The ring of land surrounding it is about 300 yards wide.

Arrival at Makemo Atoll
Arrival at Makemo Atoll

On our arrival we were informed that we could tie up at the wharf where the monthly supply ship docks. When we arrived we saw a very peculiar little boat with no mast, no sails, and no engine; it was being sailed across the Pacific Ocean by a young French woman named Anne; the boat is propelled uniquely by a large kite. Anne required 83 days to reach the Tuomotu from Peru, though she only had brought provisions for 75 days, so she had not eaten for 5 days upon her arrival.

It turns out that Anne had previously attempted to row around the world in a row boat, had rowed across the Atlantic, and had stopped at our home port of the Corinthian Yacht Club in Tiburon, California, just a few years ago.

We also were greeted by a famous French singer known simply as "Antoine", who is much beloved in France for his island style music and his sailing videos. He's sort of a French Jimmy Buffett.

Antoine, Anne, and me at Makemo
Antoine, Anne, and me at Makemo

Here's a picture of Anne's boat:
Anne's boat
Anne's Boat

The natives here are extremely friendly, even moreso than in the Marquesas. The island has a population of only a thousand, so the Makemos are very curious and eager to meet and talk to visitors (especially if one can speak French).

Every day, children from the village crowd around our boat, bringing us flowers and small gifts, and asking all kinds of questions, like where we came from, places we visited, what the passage was like, etc.

children from village bring us flowers
Children from Village Bring Us Flowers

The next day some other boats with kids aboard arrived from the Marquesas: French boats Charade (3 kids), another Beneteau (3 kids), and Evergreen (1 teenager). So the wharf has been crawling with children, from boats and dozens of children from the village, speaking French, swimming in the crystal clear water, and playing soccer.

The azure waters and wharf of Makemo atoll
The Azure Waters and Wharf of Makemo Atoll
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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