Blog 41. Fakarava and Toau. 15.48S 146.09.E

David Batten
Sat 23 Apr 2016 17:54
Monday, 19/4. We left the mooring at the southern anchorage at about 08.00 and set about retracing our course down the middle passage. Most of the boats used the "inshore"passage which on our electronic charts is marked as having a 2 m patch, but we discovered later that there is a minimum of 10 m throughout. Passage north was much faster than passage south, with Koza, another 17 m yacht sailing/motor sailing parallel with us but down the "inshore" passage and slightly faster. Koza arrived first and picked up the last buoy, so we anchored further north than before and nearer the buoys that Do Over, Barabara Jean and Belafonte were still on. As we had missed 2 opportunities for eating ashore we arranged, via Fakarava Stephanie, a pick up from the Snack Shack, not a great place if you want customer service, but the food was edible and the sharks circling in front of the shack were entertaining.

Tuesday, 20/4. Surprisingly nice morning, so laundry and snorkelling on the am agenda, the latter around some rocks on the lagoon side of the main channel and then on to the green marker at the northern end of middle channel going south. Snorkelling was excellent, with really good fish, including some very curious reef sharks, which we could probably have done without. Unfortunately, with Carango's 2 hp outboard, the pass was just too far to dinghy with 6 on board, as we had been told that the snorkelling and diving there was Pm and it blew up from the SSW, giving us about a 30 mile fetch, so a very rough anchorage and no option of activities involving the dinghy. Good thing we ate out last night!

Wednesday, 21/4. Another calm morning, so more snorkelling around some rocks to the north west of us. Architecturally the most impressive and no sharks, so much enjoyed, along with the swim back to the boat. Then a long session on the Internet at Yacht Services, followed by a delicious lunch at the Rotoava Grill, tuna or steaks all round, except for Anthony, who went for a chow mein. Afternoon for the girls was more retail therapy at the pearl farm, while the boys went for more internet at the long suffering Yacht Services, then it was goodbye to Stephanie as the forecast was improving and we were planning a visit to Tuao, the Island to the north of Fakarava.

Thursday, 22/4. Another calm morning, so upped anchor shortly after 7.00, heading for the pass. We were a little early for slack water as it was on the ebb but we were in the company of Koza and several other non WARC boats. Nina was hoping to join us, but she was unlucky enough to have her anchor caught on some coral and needed the help of Dan on Do Over, who is a qualified diver, to help her get free. It was too late for setting off on a 42 nm windward trip. The pass was quite rough, with standing waves of up to a meter but only for a short distance and Alcedo motored through it without problems. We then set sail to windward, following Koza who was clearly heading for Tuao as well. After one tack to get round the SE end of the island, the wind dropped so we motor sailed, with Koza gradually getting away from us. The pass into the anchorage has very visible leading lights, but there is not much room when you get into the bay. We rejected one buoy with a very short strop in 4.5 to 5m and found a better one half way down the north side in 11 to 12 meters. A lovely place with great coral heads and turquoise waters, but no meal ashore. The family left today for a wedding and won't be back until Sunday, so our dinning arrangements remain unlucky! However, Anthony and Tessa managed to buy 11 fish for 1000CFPs or less than $1 each, so we will not go hungry. We are looking forward to a day of snorkelling and walking tomorrow and maybe entertaining Nina.


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