Day 2 - 12 27.691S 142 37.094W

Mike and Liz Downing
Thu 17 Jun 2010 03:45
This is our noon position and the noon to noon for the 2nd full day was 131.3 miles. The squalls came again last night. They were not so vicious as the previous night, but lasted longer (big black clouds stayed over us for longer, giving longer periods of high winds and some rain), but they all disappeared at midnight and we had clear star lit skies for the rest of the night. Expecting squalls and keen on a quiet night, we only had the inner genoa up (no mainsail) so it could easily be reefed according to the wind strength. We just went a bit slower in the periods between squalls.

The distance from the Marquesas to Tahiti is about 750 miles. Between the two at about 500 miles from the Marquesas is the band of the Tuamotu Islands which you have to go through if going on a straight line course to Tahiti. There are around 76 islands and the majority if not all, are atolls with an island surrounded by a lagoon and a fringing reef outside. The lagoons can be very big - the biggest is 45 miles long and 18 miles wide. The lagoon is like an inland sea. Most are a few miles in each direction. The majority have passes into the lagoon and you go from a sea depth outside the lagoon of several thousand feet to mostly under 50 feet in the lagoons. A lot of the atolls have small villages somewhere around the edge of the lagoon and good anchorages in crystal clear water (so we read and have been told!). When it all sounds so good there is always a catch. For the Tuamotus it's the passes into the lagoons. The tides in the passes can be extreme - too severe to enter unless you time it right. In most cases you enter at slack water, so you have to time your arrival or be prepared to hang around outside until slack water.

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