Arriving in the Tuamotos we felt that we had finally arrived in the Pacific.....clear skies with little white fluffy trade wind clouds, nice trade winds (nothing over 20 knots so far) and lagoons! The Maldive experience all over again!! Palm trees, white sandy beaches, gin clear water and lots of snorkling looking at coral and pretty little reef fish!
Our passage from Marquesas was 4 days as we chose to go right through to Apataki Atoll where we are hauling out on a hydraulic trailer tomorrow for our bottom job.
Having a forecast of wind for 48 hours which we accepted as good, would allow us to enter Tuamotos with good clear weather to get into the pass with little wind, which is what we got. What we did not bargain for was the little squall system that developed overnight just south of the Marquesas. We sat in that for just over 24 hours with rainy squalls, only one being over 20 knots, which took us by surprise! Our last 24 hours saw an wonderful 18 knot SE'erly come in, so once again, flat water, good wind on the beam, we sailed at 7 to 8 knots plus all day, then had to slow the boat down and wait for daylight to enter the atoll! The entrance was fine. There are many yachts that have written horror stories about atoll entries, like 8 feet standing waves. In adverse conditions, that would be possible. Timing is everything! Our entry was 30 minutes earlier than the best time (we have a slide rule based on moonrise/set) but who is patient??? We had 2 knots against us going in on the ocean side and 4 knots as we came out into the lagoon. That was a little exciting as it was a narrow channel.
We expected some convergence and a day later sailed through 15 miles of rain with little wind. (I use the term 'sail' loosely!) It was like going through one curtain and out another. As we say, warm and wet is doable!!
Before we departed Marquesas, an Australian guy had organised a little dinner get together for the Aussies. Not all the Aussie boats came, but there were 10 boats represented. Its the first time we have out numbered the yanks!! There are going to be a lot of boats for sale in Australia next year!! Virgo's Child and possible one other are the only circumnavigators.
Three other Australian boats left with us so it was good to chat on VHF then HF as we separated. It was strange, but nice seeing other white triangles out there.
Yotreps are not posting our position reports at times for some reason which I am trying to follow up.
We look forward to a cleaner bottom soon!! As we have kept it up to scratch on the way, it has not been a problem. We have rubbed all the red ablative off and are now back to a blue bottom!! It will all come off next year anyway! Haul out will be interesting as we have to drive the boat onto the trailer!!! Bags not driving!
We have made a reservation in the marina in Tahiti to get our injectors serviced so we can be a 4 cylinder engine again. We will also go back in for 2 days when Barn and Anita arrive, then its off to other magical places in French Polynesia. We fully understand the tight reign FP has on visiting yachts as otherwise no-one would leave here!!
Rest day today, exploring the south of the atoll in the dinghy with some other Aussies. Work tomorrow.
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