Underway to The Tuamoto Atolls
11 May 2016 | 9 30'S:140 29'W, On Passage, Nuka Hiva to Kauehi Atoll
Today we said good-bye to the Marquesas and started a 521 mile passage to the Tuamotos. While the Marquesas are steep mountain peaks poking up from very deep water, the Tuamotos are low lying coral atolls, surrounding islands which are no longer there. The atolls are simply a large circular reef with ocean in middle. There used to be an island in there, but it is long gone, leaving just the reef. Part of the reef has sand and palm trees, and part is just a reef. Some atolls are just a few miles across, while the largest is over a hundred miles in diameter!
As you can imagine, with such low lying land, these are pretty dangerous landfalls to make. They say that you can't see them until you are just a couple of miles away, and then they often don't show on radar. Thank God for good charts, chart plotters, and google earth! We'll be employing all of these to make sure that we don't go aground like another boat that headed off from Mexico with us - Morning Dove.
The first atoll that we are headed to, Kauehi, has a pass on the leeward side that will let us enter the lagoon inside the atoll. It's gorgeous flat water and coral in there! As long as can avoid the bommies, coral heads, it should be quite an interesting type of new island to explore. Even better, these will be anchorages with no waves!
We should arrive in 3 days if this great wind holds, and four days if the wind softens. We have to hit slack tide to enter the pass so it is quite possible that if we arrive a little late, we may have to wait quite a long time to enter the lagoon.