Friday 3rd August – Rangiroa
We moved as planned late morning on Tuesday
31st and navigated to the NW corner of the Apataki atoll where we
dropped anchor at lunchtime and awaited slack tide before heading out of the
Pass. The anchor proved something of a
challenge to recover having wrapped itself around several coral heads and was
sufficiently stubborn that we had to re-attach the snubbing line to isolate the
windlass and drive it out pretty determinedly. However, after one or two anxious
moments we were on our way at around 1520.
The 80 NM to Rangiroa passed slowly under engine. Such wind as there was came quite
unreasonably from the west. That’s
just a cool 180⁰ out from where it’s
supposed to blow from and the fault lay with some weather systems well south of
here. We motored through the
Avatoru Pass in Rangiroa at around
0900 on Tuesday 1st August.
We’d just about got the slack water sums right although we still had
around 2 knots of tide flooding in.
The pilotage here looks a bit scary since you need to get pretty close to
some quite big lumps of coral and then over a coral bar with 4m over it -
provided you approach it at just the right point. But, we got in safely and anchored off
the Kia Ora Hotel where James and Mira were staying.
after we’d settled down and sorted out the boat, James and Mira swam out to
Arnamentia bringing a bottle of champagne.
Mira was delighted to be able to show off her magnificent engagement
ring. James had proposed the
previous evening and Mira had accepted.
This, it has to be said, was something of a relief for the rest of us. Crew atmospherics might otherwise have
been pretty interesting.
The Happy Couple
We lunched ashore in the Kia Ora hotel – it features in most yachties’ blogs and
one can see why with extremely relaxed, cool and airy surroundings and the
opportunity to sit in comfy chairs for the first time for months!
Kia Ora Hotel
We dined extremely well at the Lagoon Grill just up
the road from it; the beef is imported from New
Zealand (only just over 2000 miles away as the
crow flies!) and tasted very good. In-between times James took in a massage in
the hotel’s massage parlour (health spa, actually – Dep. Ed.) – what is it with
these Coldstream guardsmen? Carol,
James and Mira (hereinafter to be known as the divers to distinguish them from
the disabled skipper whose ears will allow him no such pleasures) went diving
the next morning. There are so many
wonderful pictures of the various diving expeditions undertaken by the divers
that we’ve decided to produce a separate report crafted by our special diving
correspondent – James.
At around noon on Thursday James and Mira left behind the
dubious pleasures of their Kia Ora Hotel suite for the lavish accommodation to
be found aboard Arnamentia.
Obviously the dinghy nearly sank under the load of luggage they’d
brought. To be entirely fair most
of that proved pretty useful because it was camera equipment, diving equipment
and worthwhile stuff like iPads.
Not a single dinner jacket or ball gown in evidence.
On Friday 3rd August at around 1030 we
upped the anchor and headed for the Tiputa Pass out of the lagoon to begin the 200NM passage to
Tahiti and the first island we’ll visit in the Society Islands
group. The currents in the
reputedly pretty fierce and we’d taken a bit of care to work out when slack
ought to have been. Low water was
supposed to be at 1000 and slack water about half an hour later. The dive boats had been heading out to
conduct drift dives in the pass for a good hour – these are almost always done
on an incoming tide. Nonetheless
when we got to the pass the current in the centre of it was still going out at
around 4 knots and there was quite a chop at the seaward entrance to it. So, really, this slack water calculation
business still remains something of a mystery. However, the conditions were nothing to
worry about in Arnamentia and we had great entertainment watching the dolphins
playing in the choppy waves off the entrance as we shot out to sea and headed
SSW for Tahiti