The tuamotos are an archipelago of 73 coral atolls in the middle of the pacific. Entrance into the atolls is through narrow passes with currents of up to 8 knots and coral reefs. Because of this timing your crossing through the pass is essential. Slack water is best but as we found it doesn’t always garentee a smooth entrance. When there have been strong winds, water gets pushed over the surrounding reefs and into the atolls. This water then must exit through the pass and can over-rule the tidal currents. Careful navigation and patience is therfore needed but once through the passes the atolls are stunning.
Our local guide promised us a lovely downwind sail to the tuamotos. We spent 3 days cursing her as we smashed into the wind and waves all the way to Makemo. We were running a little late due to Raymarine issues… our newly installed vhf had messed with the chart plotters. Luckily all that was required (after a few calls to Paul and Gav) was to pull out the sea talk cable. Unfortunately we then had to go all guns blazing to get to the pass into Makemo on time. Pulling more sail out is not something I would normally do at night but we managed to average 8 knots and get there just in time for high water.
Once in the pass I went up the spreaders as we made our way to the anchourage. With the sun behind me I could easily see the coral heads and they were quite pretty from above; turquoise blue and sparkly 🙂 Our ancourage was literally a sandy beach with some palm trees. Sadly because of my now infected toe I couldn’t enjoy the beach bbqs or the beautiful clear blue waters but after seeing everyone’s bug bites and some baby sharks in the water I didn’t mind so much.