Tuamotu Islands: Raroia
01 June 2015 | Raiatea, Tuamotu Islands, French Polynesia
At the end of May, we left Nuku Hiva for the Tuamotu Islands (the word motu means island and usually applies to the individual coral islands that form the atolls. We were planning to visit three islands of this archipelago. The first one was Raroia, where Thor Heyerdahl, had landed with the Kon Tiki, back in 1947.
The passage was a mere 450 miles, a three-night crossing mostly with jib alone. Winds stayed around 20 to 25 knots except when squalls hit us, then the winds ranged from low to high 30s and we had to partially furl the jib. It was during this passage that Alec caught a 5.5 Kg wahoo - the first of many ☺
The pass in Raroia is on the west side of the atoll, and, thankfully, protected from the prevailing winds and swell. We entered with four knots of current against us. I busied myself by taking pictures and video of our progress so I would not think about our missing rudder. There was no reason to fret, as we quickly found ourselves in deep calm waters with almost no current. Roan climbed to the first spreader to guide us around any shallow coral heads, but it turned out these bommies were big and easy to spot and the water around them was very deep. We crossed the inside lagoon and anchored in front of a large flat motu full of coconut trees and thick bushes where Miss Behaving and the rest of the flotilla (Seabbatical, Amelie IV and Perry) had arrived a few days before. The motu and surrounding reef created enough protection from wind and waves that the waters were calm, pristine and that deep turquoise colour only found in the tropics. We fell in love with this place.
We only stayed five days but we enjoyed every single minute. We visited the local black pearl farm and played with water toys (after school, of course!). The snorkeling with colorful corals, fish and sharks (mostly little black-tip reef sharks) was fantastic.
On June 6, we sailed to Tahanea, an uninhabited atoll just 140 miles west of Raroia.