Our first pass entrance
14 June 2018 | Hao, Tuamotus, French Polynesia
Hao, Tuamotus The pass entry was interesting. It turns out there was no slack tide for at least 3 days. Hao is a very large atoll and it has only one pass, so after days of strong wind and swells the lagoon had filled up with so much water that the tides did not make any difference �- the water was continually flowing out of the lagoon creating a strong current, and a 5-6ft standing wave outside. Since it was our first attempt entering a lagoon in the Tuamotus we had no experience and thought this was probably about normal conditions. It took us one hour to enter with full throttle, 3300 rpms. We had at least 7 knots of current against us and had to zigzag up the pass sometimes going backwards. Two other sailboats came behind us and learned from our advancement where the current was stronger and where to cross over to avoid the strongest current. Afterward they showed us the recorded tracks of our three boats passage. We had made a big circle at one point.
Now we are tied up at a small wharf with room for 4 boats along a concrete wall. The rest have to tie up double. There are now 7 boats in here. Unfortunately we had a mishap when a boat tied up alongside us left. He crunched our caprail and tore off a sliver of the teak. He is in the process of fixing it for us now but left to go surfing for a couple of days. We will see if he comes back to finish the job. It is only cosmetic and not structural thank goodness.
The village name is Otepa and the island has about 1200 inhabitants, a lot of them school children from the boarding schools. Saturday all the kids come down to the wharf and hang out swimming and talking to us sailors �- and off course they have lots of questions and want to come aboard to look. The Island is like a necklace maybe 300-400 yards across from the lagoon side to the ocean side. The village has 2 churches and a main harbor where the supply ship can tie up. There are 2 or 3 boarding schools and about 35 teachers from France teaching in the schools and bringing there families.
Yesterday we went diving with a Frenchman and today we will dive the pass again. Wonderful clear water. We saw manta rays, eagle rays, several species of shark, Napoleon wrasse and an abundance of reef fish all shapes and colors as well as a moray eel. I am looking forward to see what today will bring.