Arrived Rangiroa

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Sun 3 Apr 2011 03:31
Position: 14 58 .06 S 147 38.22 W
At anchor off Reporepo Island, Rangiroa Atoll
Wind: East, F3-4 Gentle to moderate breeze
Weather: Mostly overcast, occasional showers, warm
Day's run: 153 nm

We had to sail a long way to get here, a total of 182 miles to cover 85. Because I could not enter the lagoon until 11 due to tides and overfalls, last night I headed to the north so as to remain well upwind of our destination. At 1.30 this morning I gybed and reversed course so that we were off the entrance to Passe Avatoru at eight, still too early but I did not want to stray too far away from the atoll's entrance and I thought I may as well check conditions and confirm my tidal calculations. Sure enough as we approached a strong tidal race was clearly evident so to kill a bit more time we gybed again and headed out to sea for an hour and half before gybing once more and returning from whence we had just come. Thus it was that we ended up sailing so many miles to cover a relatively short distance. One of my cruising guides to the area states that slack water in the entrance to the lagoons occurs at the moon's meridian passage. I worked this out to be 11.17 and we ended up entering the pass just after 11. Sure enough conditions had calmed remarkably with no appreciable current at the entrance and we continued to sail in. At the outer end of the pass there was a lot of activity with boats in the water, large inflatable buoys, pavilions ashore and I could hear an amplified voice coming across the water from the beach. As I passed the breakers on the eastern side of the pass the reason for the activity became evident, namely a surf carnival, and I got a good view of some of the action as the Sylph sailed close by the surf.

As we approached the inner end of the entrance the wind became light and fluky and the remants of the ebb current became noticeable. I found that we were losing headway and being set down towards a reef on our starboard side, so I furled the jib and started the engine to give a Sylph a bit of a boost. We were soon past the danger and into the deeper water of the lagoon where I shut down the engine and reset the jib. We then tacked to windward another four miles to where we now are, the nearest reasonable anchorage to the Passe Avatoru, tucked in behind Reporepo Island. There is another pass right nearby but I had read in some of my notes from other cruisers that the Passe Avatoru is the main pass and is to be preferred with less turbulence. Unfortunately the main village is now four miles behind us. I sailed to anchor but messed it up a little and once Sylph had fallen back on her cable I was only a bit over a boat length away from another boat at anchor.  I know I would not have been happy if someone had anchored this close to me, so I had a short spell, cleaned up a little, then weighed anchor and motored about 60 meters to clearer water where I would not cause any concern.

I have been ashore, there is a small shop nearby but it is very basic and doesn't sell beer. Oh dear! It seems I shall now have to wait until Monday before I can get in any essential supplies.

All is well.