Sunday, 20 July 2014

Fakarava South Pass


We left our solo anchorage this morning at around 1015 for the 2-hr motor transit to the south pass anchorage. Thank goodness we left when we did and arrived at noon, while the sun was high in the sky. The anchorage is a hard-won prize after a journey of about a mile through a coral field. Even with waypoints from another cruiser (once again, Soggy Paws), and standing on the bow for a better view of the coral, it was still challenging to navigate the last stretch. Were we ever relieved when we had our anchor set! We had radioed our Belgian friends on SV Nautilus from the channel, and we ended up anchoring right beside them, which was nice, since they are leaving early tomorrow morning for Papeete (Pap-ee-et-eh). After lunch, the kids went ashore with them, then we followed a short while later. After the trip to the beach, the girls came back to Fluenta to play cards (and to play with Benjamin) and the boys went to Nautilus to play with PlayMobil - those toys have been around almost forever, and they never fail to capture the kids' attention. When we went to take their daughter back, within a couple of minutes all four children were deep into the play.

We have found yet another beautiful spot - turquoise water, white sand beach, and glorious sunshine. It feels like we could spend weeks in this one anchorage. This pass into the atoll is world-famous (designated by UNESCO) because of its shark population and Napoleon fish (I think). In fact the interplay between the sharks and the groupers was filmed during the last full moon (before we got here). We will go to the pass/beach tomorrow morning and see what we can find; our friends showed us some spectacular photos of both sharks and Napoleon Fish tonight. Unfortunately the 90-day clock is ticking, so we will move along within the week.

Given the beauty of this place, I guess it is not surprising that many more cruisers have discovered it this year as compared to other years. Usually there are only a small handful of boats in the anchorage, but right now, even towards the end of the season, there are a dozen boats. In fact, it is possible that we are enjoying the last season of anchoring here: we heard this afternoon that by next year, people will have to anchor in the SE corner of the atoll, about 7 nm away. It is sad that not only are there more boats, but some of the sailors have not practiced good stewardship (anchoring on coral, leaving garbage for the locals to dispose of, taking food without asking) which has likely escalated any changes to the regulations. I am glad that we have made it here now.

That's all the news for a day on the move. It is nice to be in one spot for a few days. And if you are wondering about getting your Ben-fix, we should have internet in Papeete, so we can upload some photos then :)

Love to all,
At 7/18/2014 4:41 AM (utc) Fluenta's position was 16°20.29'S 145°29.77'W
At 7/18/2014 4:41 AM (utc) Fluenta's position was 16°20.29'S 145°29.77'W

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