15:49.53S 145:07.03W Kauhei, Tuamotos

Eric Alfredson
Wed 24 May 2017 20:36
Tuamotos, Tuesday May 23,2017
Hello all Lisanne friends.
We have just arrived Kauehi,  one of the smaller atolls in the Tuamoto-archipelago. This is just as you imagine the real South Pacific with coral reefs, chrystal clear water, palm trees and perfect sand beaches. There is a cute little village ashore with 350 inhabitants, a church, a shop and a post office. There are three sailing yachts here. One of them is owned by a divemaster so we have arranged to go drift diving with him in the entrance channel to the archipelago tomorrow. There is a very strong tidal current in the entrance channels to these atolls so you can only enter them at slack tide and with the sun behind you. But this morning we missed the time and had 6 knots of current against us when we entered after a nights sailing from the Makemo atoll.
Here is a summary of what we have been doing the last weeks since we arrived Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas:
The Oyster fleet gathered in Nuku Hiva and we were all 28 boats anchored in the beautiful bay. Many of them we had not seen since Panama.
The islanders arranged a day for us filled with traditional Polynesian music and dance shows. We also got an opportunity to try the outrigger  canoes and taste local food and drink. In the evening we had an Oyster party with dinner and dance. It was good to see everybody again, have a beer and listen to all the stories from the Pacific crossing.
We also went on a tour around the island of Nuku Hiva and learned a lot about the Polynesian history. We saw some of the old Tikis and old settlements from the time before Europeans discovered these islands.
On our last day on Nuku Hiva we went on a 4 hour hike  through the jungle to a 350 m high waterfall. The scenery was dramatic . On our return we had lunch with a friendly local family living in the valley. Breadfruit, grilled goat, home made chutney and mango juice was on the menu.
We left the Maquesas and had a 2 1/2 day sail to the Tuamotos. A nice reach to the south. First stop was the Makemo atoll. These atolls are amazing.  A rim of coral with none or two entrances. They are much larger than we anticipated. it is a completely different world when you are on the inside. No ocean swell and he clearest blue water with perfect sand beaches (well on the downwind sides anyway).
The Makemo village was really nice. Fairly basic with the church as the focal point. But all the houses look nice and they keep their gardens immaculate !!  Super friendly people. They dont get many tourists here so they are all keen to talk to us sailors. Mostly in french of course. There are lots of kids around and they are all super entusiastic to talk to people who are not from the island so they come running up to you and hug you and say bonjour.
We stopped for two nights at the village and then moved on inside the lagoon to a perfect anchorage where we met up with a few other boats from the Oyster fleet. It was a bit tricky to navigate inside the lagoon as there are coral reefs all over the place which are not on the charts.  We had one person up in the mast to spot the reefs. An American boat just ahead of us ran aground unfortunately. But luckily no serious damage.
The anchorage was really nice.  We had a cricket game one afternoon as one of the English boats had a set. The english and aussies had to teach us the rules. A strange version of rounders really. There was a nice shelter built there probably by some other yacht people with a homemade stone BBQ so we all had a fantastic beach barbecue party that night with a big bonfire.
There were 100s of hermit crabs around us looking for a bit of food. We had a crab race which was good fun and they tickled our feet and cleaned up the waste food after us.
We tested our diving equipent on the nearby reef and saw some black tip reef sharks and other fish. We also got the chance to clean the bottom of the boat with our diving gear on.
One of the boats, Meteorite, are keen fitness entusiasts, and they try to encourage other boats to join them so we joined their morning class on the beach. Exhausting ! Quite tough to keep in shape after these long crossings.
The plan is now to visit some of the other Tuamoto atolls and to do some more diving here before heading to Tahiti where we will be in the beginning of June.
Best regards from the Lisanne crew.