Skip to content

Moving on to the Tuamotu Islands

May 9, 2013

Hi from Makemo atoll (lat 16 37.6S, long 143 34.2W) in the Tuamotu Islands were we are resting up after a bumpy overnighter from Raroia. We arrived after a 14 hour trip where we had to shorten sail to just a reefed genoa to slow the boat down and not arrive in the dark. We came through the pass at 06:30 local time and bucked a 4 knot current with breakers. It was great to get inside the atoll and have a stable boat to walk around in.

We last posted from Taiohae, Nuka Hiva, after arriving from the southern Marquises. Our top priority then is to have the protective UV coverings on our head sails re-sewn as the stitching disintegrated immediately after leaving Puerto Vallarta. We are thankful to Karl on another cruising yacht that makes the sails good as new.

We take Sunday off and play tourists by renting a four-wheel truck and touring the island. There are many ancient tiki statues on the northeast end of the island and we see them all. It is a rainy day and the waterfalls are flowing. We enjoy a delightful meal at the Chez Yvonne restaurant in Baie D’Hatiheu before heading to the northwest end of the island with its pine forests and rain; lots of rain.

The following day we take Persephone over to the cement fuel pier where we must Med-tie to get our diesel. We end up breaking our mooring line in a nasty swell and we are reminded of a similar experience at this same place twenty-five years ago. We just never learn!

We spend the next four days exploring anchorages around the island. Our first night is in Controleur Bay made famous by Melville’s book Typee. Then we move to D’Anaho Bay on the northeast corner of the island and enjoy a flat anchorage with gorgeous mountains, great hikes, long beaches, and wonderful coral diving. This is our second favorite spot so far.

We leave Nuka Hiva for Oa Pou (lat 9 24.3S, long 140 04.4W) which is famous for its volcanic plugs that are often hidden in the clouds. We enjoy a walk through town and the fruits that are bestowed on us by the locals. We are awaken at first light as the ship Aranui 3 works its way to the dock causing one yacht to move. We later enjoy a tour of this supply ship that also carries up to 200 passengers in grand style. We recommend this as a way to see French Polynesia without the uncomfortable crossings.

Our three day passage from the Marquises to the Tuamotu Islands starts in flat calm conditions and very hot temperatures as we motor along. But by evening we have a breeze and are sailing like a proper cruising yacht. The last two days are spent dodging rain squalls with wind gusts as high as 38 knots. It is not a comfortable passage and we are tired when we arrive in Raroia (lat 16 01S, long 142 27.4W). We anchor off the village and enjoy some terra firma time.

The next day we venture across the atoll while keeping an eye out for coral heads. We anchor off some small motus (islets) and go ashore to explore. The next morning we go to the motu where Thor Heyerdahl’s voyage on Kon-Tiki ended in a shipwreck and find the monument recognizing his famous voyage.

We do some diving before deciding it’s time to head for Makemo. We barely make it back across the atoll and out the passage before dark. The lighting is bad but thankfully, we have laid down an electronic “snail trail” that we follow to avoid the coral heads.

We plan on spending several days here in Makemo where there is no ciguatera fish poisoning and we can eat seafood to our hearts content. Then we will take a look at the charts and decide our next destination.

Randi’s banana bread

Randi’s banana bread

Waterfalls on road trip

Waterfalls on road trip

Fresh water lagoon at Controleur Bay, Nuka Hiva

Fresh water lagoon at Controleur Bay, Nuka Hiva

Road trip to the back side of Nuka Hiva

Road trip to the back side of Nuka Hiva

Tiki on Nuka Hiva

Tiki on Nuka Hiva

Tiki on Nuka Hiva

Tiki on Nuka Hiva

Tiki site on Nuka Hiva

Tiki site on Nuka Hiva

Taiohae Bay anchorage on Nuka Hiva

Taiohae Bay anchorage on Nuka Hiva

Pine trees on top of Nuka Hiva

Pine trees on top of Nuka Hiva

Wayne & Randi enjoy a cold one after a hike

Wayne & Randi enjoy a cold one after a hike

Brian rests on a short hike

Brian rests on a short hike

Quite beach at D’Anaho Bay on Nuka Hiva

Quite beach at D’Anaho Bay on Nuka Hiva

Volcanic plugs on Oa Pou

Volcanic plugs on Oa Pou

Fish are unloaded in Oa Pou

Fish are unloaded in Oa Pou

The Aranui 3 brings supplies to Oa Pou

The Aranui 3 brings supplies to Oa Pou

Volcanic plugs on Oa Pou

Volcanic plugs on Oa Pou

Thunder heads building

Thunder heads building

Cooling off on our first day headed to the Tuamotu Islands

Cooling off on our first day headed to the Tuamotu Islands

Rain squall with a rainbow

Rain squall with a rainbow

Ocean side of Raroia, Tuamotu

Ocean side of Raroia, Tuamotu

Thunderhead behind Persephone

Thunderhead behind Persephone

Wayne watches for coral heads as we cross the atoll at Raroia

Wayne watches for coral heads as we cross the atoll at Raroia

Motus at Raroia

Motus at Raroia

Brian & Sandie with their own motu

Brian & Sandie with their own motu

Brian works on a coconut

Brian works on a coconut

Calm evening in the atoll

Calm evening in the atoll

Monument to the Kon-Tiki that shipwrecked in 1947

Monument to the Kon-Tiki that shipwrecked in 1947

Tern

Tern

An octopus with a crab

An octopus with a crab

Returning after an afternoon of exploring

Returning after an afternoon of exploring

Breakers in the pass at Makemo

Breakers in the pass at Makemo

Persephone after a long overnighter to Makemo

Persephone after a long overnighter to Makemo

From → Travel

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: