Mon 18 Jun 2012 04:54
We left Fakarava yesterday afternoon with the destination Rangiroa. We heard
that you're almost certain to meet Dolphins when snorkling outside the pass
at Rangiroa, and since Liz is such a big fan of Dolphins, we decided to make
the detour on our way to Tahiti.
Rangiroa is 150nm NW of Fakarava, within easy reach of an overnight sail.
But sailing between the atolls in the Tuamotos is tricky. Obviously you want
to leave and arrive during daytime, ideally with some hours safety margin.
But because all the anchorages are inside the atolls, and there are only a
few navigable passes through the reefs, you also have to pay special
attention to the tides. You want to leave and arrive with a favorable
current, or ideally during slack water (at high or low tide). The currents
through the pass can get up to 6kn, and you can easily loose control of the
boat and end up on the reef.
Slack water occurs every six hours at the change of the tide. Days being
pretty much exactly 12h long here, there are two chances per day to make it
through the pass during daylight. We choose to leave Fakarava with high tide
at 2pm yesterday, planning to make good speed in 20kn of wind and arrive in
Rangiroa around 1pm, 1 1/2 hours before high tide at Rangiroa at 2:30pm.
That'll give us a slight current in the back, and some time for safety in
case we take longer than anticipated.
Now we're 9nm away from the pass and doing 6kn - looks like we'll get there
spot on at 1pm. Close to the pass we'll turn on the radar to see whether the
map in the chartplotter is correct, or whether we have to work with an
offset (like in the San Blas). But in Fakarava the Navionics charts were
100% correct, and I that bodes well for here too. Makes going through the
channel and around the reefs so much easier! Thank god for technology.
We plan to stay only a few days for snorkeling and diving, hoping to shoot
some good photos of dolphins or maybe even a whale. Although it's too early
for whales, the dive guides in Fakarava said they generally don't arrive
before August. But maybe we'll get lucky and meet an especially fast or
eager whale who's here early. Then, probably Thursday, we'll sail on to
Tahiti were (hopefully) the new sail and autopilot is waiting for me. One of
the autopilot rods broke when we left Hiva Oa, and the spare also sounds
like it's on it's last leg. Only one more day buddy, keep up the good work!