Arriving in Fakarava
12 July 2012 | Fakarava, Tuamotu's
The Tuamotu Archipelago is also called The Low or Dangerous Archipelago. The reason being is because the low-lying land, making them visible within only a few miles. Very good navigation should be done when traveling in between the atolls at night, because you wont see land. For us, we charted our position on our paper chart every few hours, just to make sure we were exactly where our chart plotter said we were.
So what is an Atoll? Basically, it is a sunken volcanic island combined with coral reef development. It is nothing but a lagoon encircling reef. In the middle of the atoll, is a beautiful lagoon, which is flourishing with sea life. Diving and snorkeling are the big tourist attractions because of all the coral reefs.
Our 7 day voyage to Fakarava was uneventful, which is a good thing. We had rain squalls every day, sometimes just a quick 5 minute rain shower and sometimes an all day rain. On one particular day, we had a nasty squall come over us, which dumped a ton of rain and had strong winds. We rode it out just fine and we were both soaked to the bone. On the last two days, we had nice sunny skies but very little to no wind at all. After doing 50 miles on one day and just barely 20 miles in a 12 hour period on the following day, so we decided to motor the remaining 78 miles to Fakarava. The entrance (pass) into Fakarava is tide dependent because of the flow of water in and out of the lagoon. Our cruising guide says the current is up to 3 knots at flood and 6 knots at ebb. A few of the atolls, it is strongly recommended to wait for slack, but Fakarava has a huge pass, so entering at a favorable tide is ok. Our timing was perfect, and we entered the pass at high tide, gaining an additional 1.5 knots of speed. We followed the suggested route through the large lagoon (avoiding a few coral heads) and dropped anchor on Tuesday morning at 8:30am.
After turning Tanga from a cruising vessel back into our living home, we launched the dinghy and went ashore. We found a grocery store and a place to grab some food, grilled Mahi with French fries.
We will be snorkeling and swimming for the next week. Weve been to shore a few times and havent been able to find Wi-Fi yet. Unfortunately, the posts will become intermittent.
Posted via satellite phone.