10 June 2006

10-Jun-2006 Noon

  • 10-Jun-2006
  • 14°58.2000"S/147°38.1000"W
Rangiroa Atoll, Tuamotu Archipelago
French Polynesia

So... you are probably wondering why we haven't written to say our sail went great. And that we made it through the pass OK. It is because this place is so amazing that we have not had time to sit down and write.

Trying to leave Mahini was quite the chore. It took us over an hour to pull up the anchor because it was wrapped around a bunch or coral heads. Lots of hard work on Sandpiper's windless (electric anchor wench). It took both Tom and I using a chain hook on a winch to get free.

After getting the anchor up, we heading back out of the pass at Mahhini at 12:15pm with no problems. We pulled up the sails and headed to Rangiroa, 100 miles away. We put a double reef in the main, rolled out the jib, put up the staysail, and we were cruising at 6.5 knots. Beautiful ride. Love those trade winds.

Our GPS said if we kept up that speed, then we would end up in Rangiroa at 5am. That is way too early. The sun is not up and the tide in the pass wouldn't be in our favor. At around 5am we were 10 miles from the pass entrance. We pulled down all sails, except the main (that was double reefed), and the slowest we could go was 4.5 to 5.0 knots.

We made it to the pass entrance along with 2 other boats an hour before it was clear to enter. So we all motored around in circles for about an hour in 20-30 knots of wind and some nice swells. At the same time we got hit by a squall, and there was no way we were entering a pass during a squall. So after another hour, we said "Lets do it. It looks fine". Of course as soon as we entered, the others followed. We hailed them on the radio to report "We're not sure if we are actually going through with this. So you might not want to follow us." But they did anyways.

The pass was something! The current was still ripping when we went through. We had to buck it at full throttle, and were only making 1.5 knots.

Once inside, we found PARADISE! We are anchored right along a beach in front of the Kia Or Resort Hotel. It has small thatched-roof bungalows sitting over the water along a white sand beach. This is the place that everyone should come visit when they think of the South Pacific. Have you ever seen the screen saver that everyone has of paradise?? This is it...

The water is really clear. We can see the bottom at 25ft in the moonlight.

Amy and I had dinner at Joesphine's Pension. It is right on the water's edge. We had a huge dinner of tuna caprse, a main course of rice and curried Mahi Mahi with papaya chutney, and a dessert of chocolate tort. Very delicious!!

Our current plans are to stay here for about 2 weeks, then sail across the lagoon (which is about 15 miles) for a few days, check out the black pearl farms, take a bike ride, snorkel, crash the hotel pool, and check out the vineyard here. Can you believe that they grow grapes here??. We plan see as much as we can.

The gravel roads here are made of crushed coral from the reefs!! All the islands here are no higher 4 feet above sea level. There is no way I would be anywhere around here in a typhoon. One of the locals told us that last time a typhoon was heading this way, all the women and children were evacuated to Tahiti.

I am not sure where one would go for safety in a storm, as all the buildings are only one story, and the water would cover the whole island.

Amy and Tom

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