Wednesday, July 7, 2010

South Fakarava Revisited

Dates: June 26-July 3
Anchorage Location: S Fakarava Atoll, Tuamotus, French Polynesia 16°31.26'S / 145°28.35'W
We had a nice time revisiting South Fakarava again. This time we anchored on the other side of the pass, where we heard from others that the anchoring was much better. Charlie's Charts only shows an anchorage on the north side of the pass, which the electronic charts cover pretty well. But last time we found only depths of 45 feet and lots of coral, with little protection from any northerly winds. Below I'll list a couple of waypoints to get into the south side anchorage from the main channel.
We ended up anchoring in 12-15 feet, with good sand and only scattered coral heads. In this area there is enough space to easily anchor 10 or so boats. There is a shallow coral bar to the north, and another one to the south, and the rim of the atoll to the east, so there is reasonable protection from North around East to the SW. There are a number of uninhabited atolls with palm trees and beaches within dinghy distance of the anchor area.
It is a little longer dinghy ride from the south side to the pass to go diving. We spent one afternoon looking for a shortcut across the shallow reef between us and the pass, but never found much of a shortcut. We could get across at high tide by picking our way very carefully with the engine half-cocked, but at low tide, with tanks in the dinghy, we would have never made it. So it is about a mile and a half dinghy ride to the pass (but the pass is also mile from the anchorage on the north side).
We got very strong E-NE winds for a few days due to a passing high pressure south of us. But we did manage to fit in 2 pass dives and one lunch with Manihi at Pension Motu Aito.
Manihi's pension (guesthouse) is the one with the red roof just ashore from the north pass anchorage. It is much more extensive than it looks from the water. He stands by on VHF 08, and can arrange a very nice polynesian lunch or dinner for groups of cruisers (2000 CFP per person). If you have friends flying in who would rather stay ashore, this is a VERY nice place to hang out. Much nicer than the pension at Tetamanu. Check them out at or email or PH 74-26-13.
We were waiting for light SE winds to hop up to Raraka, about 45 miles NE. But as the NE winds persisted, we decided to skip Raraka and head straight for Tahanea.
At 7/2/2010 6:28 PM (utc) our position was 16°31.26'S 145°28.34'W
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