June 8th to July 8th
After a three day sail from Nuka Hiva (Marquesas) we arrived at Raroia. We chose this atoll as our first 'Tuamotu' because it was further to the east and slightly 'off the beaten track' from Marquesas to Tahiti. It was also the place where Thor Heyerdahl ran aground with Kon Tiki in 1947. We visited two anchorages in the atoll, one off the village and one (much nicer) anchorage close to where the Kon Tiki was wrecked on the reef.
We had been over a week without internet and Makemo, not far away, was rumoured to have good 4G internet. So we changed our plans and headed there as our second atoll. It was a good decision because we met up with some Scandinavian boats (Zelda, Seawind and Song of the Sea) who were good company for the next week. We visited three anchorages in Makemo and none were perfect. The first had poor holding. With no wind for the three days we stayed, that did not matter. The second had many bommies and we got the chain and anchor stuck. I burst an ear drum whilst free diving to sort it out which was quite an event. The third anchorage was close to the west pass, and we wanted to be ready for a quick exit to get to Tahanea the next day. But the bottom was even worse with only small sandy patches. After a long search I did (reluctantly) drop the hook in 9m - and got it badly stuck. Fortunately we were saved by a French boat, SV Hippocampe, who we had met in Raroia and had diving gear on board.
The next morning we set off for Tahanea. We chose this as our third atoll as it was the location of a Scandinavian mid-summer party, and we were invited. See the videos below, right at the end, for the Swedish ' frog dance', only possible after a lot of drink! Tahanea is also famous for the manta rays in the north pass. There are so many and it is easy to drift snorkel and swim with them (see videos below).
Then we went to Fakarava, a UNESCO biosphere thanks to some very rare coral, with great diving around the south pass. We chose an anchorage in Hirifa, about 7nm from the pass because it has so much sand and few bommies. We did not want any more drama! We also learned about pearl farming and how the pearls are produced from a retired owner of one farm.
Our final atoll was Toua, and we chose the false pass on the north west corner. Here, a couple are trying to show that you can be self sufficient. They have a small restaurant and all their food and what is served in the restaurant is grown, fished or bred on the island. They want to show it is possible (in most other places there is just pearl farming and coconuts and food comes on a supply ship from Tahiti). The snorkelling there was also fantastic.
Then we had a one and a half day sail to Tahiti which, timewise, is half way through the first year of our Pacific adventure.
Remember to double click on the pictures to get the story behind them. And the videos are all at the end.