06 June 2006

06-Jun-2006 Noon

  • 06-Jun-2006
  • 14°27.6000"S/146°3.1998"W
Manihi atoll, Tuamotu Archipelago
French Polynesia
South Pacific

We made it to Manihi and through the pass! We fist saw land around 9am Monday morning ,and made it to the pass at exactly noon. We had a boat 'Yol', from Turkey, about 10 miles ahead of us all night. We kept in radio contact with them throughout the passage. They actually weren't even coming here, but decided to stop because we were. We don't even know them. Weird.

Anyways... the pass. Ya, it was hairy. 'Yol' actually went in right before us. As we started to make our way in, he came on the radio in a panic saying "I'm coming out and following you in". Great! So 'Team Sandpiper' took their positions, Amy at the helm keeping a close watch on the depth finder, and Tom at the bow watching for any coral or shallow water up ahead. Thank goodness for polarized sunglasses.

Coming through there was no current, so that was good. But at the top of the water way, the water seemed to be small rapids. We did hit 7.5 feet of water, which is pretty shallow. 7.5 feet of water in Mexico is no big deal because you can't see bottom. But 7.5 feet here is scary because the waters so clear that you can see giant boulders. Heck! 20 feet of water is scary here because it is so clear.

Well. We made it through along with 'Yol', headed to the right, and there was our friend Ken off of the 'Panache'. We are the only boats here. If wasn't for us, the 'Panache' and the 'Yol' wouldn't be here either. For some reason people follow us.

We haven't even been to shore yet. We are just doing boat projects and catching up on sleep.

These atolls look exactly how I pictured. Crazy! Ron, can you try to find a photo for the blog so the folks at home can see? [Here they are] These people really live out in the middle of nowhere, off the grid. Their homes are 2 feet above sea level. If a hurricane ever hit here, forget about it.

Most of the islanders are black pearl farmers. You can see in the middle of the atoll are houses on stilts. These are their work houses with the pearl farms beneath. I am hoping to go on a tour of one soon.

We are off tomorrow afternoon for Rangiroa. It is 100 miles away, so it wll be an overnight sail. Rangiroa is a much larger atoll, actually the largest in the world. We will probably hang out there for about a week so you'll here from us then.

Love to all,

Amy and Tom

Notes From Ron:
  • Polarized sunglasses eliminate the reflection of sunlight off of the surface of water. They allow you to see below the surface. More info here.
  • I think the Sandpiper's draws about 5.5 feet of water. I hope Tom will give the exact depth. So 7.5 feet leaves only 2 feet of water below the keel... not a whole of lot of space there.
  • The pearls are black, not the farmers.

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