I mentioned in my recent blog that we were planning a trip to Tuamotus. It is a 300km sail North East, even further into the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The plan is for Dad, Oli and I to sail the boat while Mum and Liz fly there. Mum is done with big ocean passages and over the years has followed Dad for thousands of sea miles and many days at sea during various trips, even though her vertigo makes the experience almost unbearable. So she and Liz are taking a little time out in Tahiti before joining us in Fakarava. We found a nice little apartment for them to rent with a pool, not too far from the airport. Liz is super excited to be going on her own little trip with her Nanny Beach.
The weather so far is looking good for next week, the Tuamotus are very low lying atolls known for their treacherous shoals, rocky reefs and strong currents, but also their unimaginable beauty, incredible marine life and one of the best places to dive on the planet. We have to plan the navigation meticulously, thank goodness for GPS. We also have plenty of charts, tidal curves and pilotage information for the area. Dad is amazing and I am keen to learn as much as I can from his Navigation experience and knowledge. Oli is also keen and after reading the Kontiki Expedition is ready for an adventure. He also really wants to catch a fish!!
Tomorrow we stock up with fuel water and stores to keep us going for a month as there are few shops where we are going. We also load the dive cylinders a good friend of Dads has lent us. Matthew is a super chap who builds coral reefs for a living by fragging and growing baby corals he replants them for hotels around French Polynesia. When we get back he is going to let me help out…. I can’t wait!!! He is also randomly originally from Paimpol in Brittany, this is where Oli and Lizzy’s other Grandparents live. We also need to get the boat ready for sea tomorrow, making sure everything is stowed away and safely secured. The last thing you want if it gets rough is a boat full of flying objects. Meals when at sea are normally simple, instant noodles, sandwiches and cuppa soups. After a day or so it always gets much easier and a bit more time can be taken in food prep. It is amazing how your body acclimatises so easily.
The Tuamotus stetch across 1500km of Pacific Ocean, made up os 77 atolls. Fakarava is a the second largest at 1121 sq km. Rangiaroa is the largest atoll and is the second largest atoll in the world at 1640 sq- Km. We hope to get here at some point as it is also great for diving.
Most of the preferred dive sites are in the passes. This is gap in a reef that acts as an inlet for yachts and marine life. As there is no coral there the waves do not break so easily and create a small entrance way. However it is also the outlet for all the water washed into the lagoon by the breaking waves. This means the current can be fast, on Fakarava an out going tide can reach 6 knots. All of this high energy and water movement attract the most amazing marine life. It also means that entry in and out of the pass must be planned well and can be very dangerous is some weather/tidal conditions. We will get one chance every 12 hours to get into Fakararava when there is slack water. Once missed you have to wait another 12 hours.
We are all so excited to be making this trip, going to Tuamotu is an opportunity of a lifetime!! Plus the weather looks great!!
I am not sure how great Wi-Fi is out there but I will write often and upload when I can.