Kauehi atoll, Tuamotus
Sunday 30th June 2013
Distance run Day 1: 134
Day 2: 153
Day 3: 146
Day 4: 107
Total distance run: 540 nmiles
Why have there been no blog posts during this passage from the Marquesas to the Tuamotus, you may be asking. Simple answer: It was the most horrile trip we have ever done and the last thing we felt like doing was typing at a computer. The wind and seas were relentless throughout the trip, with a slight let-up in the swell on day 2 when Steve decided to put out the fishing line and we caught a big dorado. Getting it on board and filleting it were a task and a half, but we managed and are glad we did as it put a dozen meals in the freezer, as well as distracting us from the wet, miserable time we were having.
The wind was mostly 20-25 knots, with endless squalls packing up to 40 knots, and that alone would not be a problem as we can reduce sail to an appropriate size and it makes for a fast passage. The worst part were the seas which were big with wind waves and swell on the beam, often breaking on the side of the boat and joining us in the cockpit. The only dry place to be was down below or tucked right up inside the sprayhood, though even there the spray sometimes found us. The cockpit was the wettest it has ever been.
The good news is that the mainsail held up well during all this fun, and we made it safely to the Tuamotus, an archipeligo in French Polynesia. We timed our arrival well at Kauehi atoll and entered through the pass into the lagoon without problems. The Tuamotus are an archipeligo made up of coral atolls, consisting of low lying islands surrounding a lagoon. Many, like Kauehi have only one pass into the lagoon, and as currents run very fast in and out, it is essential to make sure you enter or leave at the right state of the tide. There was some turbulent water as we entered the lagoon which took 2 knots off our speed, but as it is a short pass it didn't last long.
We are anchored off the small village in the North East corner of the atoll, and plan to spend a few days here resting up. After five weeks in the swelly anchorages of the Marquesas, the flat water of the lagoon is very welcome, as will be a good night's sleep.