June 11-12 – Ahe to Rangiroa, Tuamotos

Raising the anchor was much easier than setting it.  We had to time our leaving to include any complications (we’ve had many in the past), the trip across the lagoon (an hour) and going through the pass at slack.  We were spot on leaving at 1pm with no steep waves.  We arrived outside Rangiroa at 2am and hove to in periodic squalls and big swells, and no sleep.  We motored over to Tiputa Pass and saw big, I mean really big waves crashing into the pass.  Plan B.  Motor over to Avatoru Pass for an 8am crossing just after slack.  It was an easy 3k current against us, much easier than the crossing in Ahe.  After an hour of motoring across the placid lagoon we dropped anchor by the Kia Ora Hotel/village about 9:30am.  An effortless arrival into turquoise waters clear enough to see the coral patches and have plenty of swing room.

What a pity we could only spend 3 days in Rangiroa.    It’s huge.  The whole SF Bay Area could easily fit inside.  We did manage to see 3 tiny stores in our search for baguettes.  A taxi ride into Avatoru village for 2000F/$25 gave us a view of the immediate area.  Small houses and stores in a continuous long line on either side of the one road snaked through the motus.  It was quite common to see both the inner lagoon and the outer Pacific Ocean on each side of the road.  Our last day we motored over to motu Faama to snorkle.  Note to self:  Don’t leave my glasses in the dinghy leaving me fairly blind when I have to walk through crispy coral heads.  Yes we snorkeled.  No it wasn’t relaxing.  Yes Jim had to swim naked back to the dinghy and come fetch me.  And yes we made it back to Kia Ora at sunset.  We also made it to the beach party where we ran into John and Mary on Kittywake.

not sure what this is but saw it as we were walking toward our third little market for baguettes

snorkling just a few feet from the boat we saw lots of fish.  these little yellow and white ones followed us everywhere

Jim snorkling at Faama

Jim snorkling near the boat

lots of clams

big coral heads

tracks probably from crabs but we didn’t see any

we’re looking for a better snorkling spot

it’s all really shallow

time to leave and now Jim has a long swim back to the dinghy so he can come fetch me

our last look at Rangiroa as we leave the Tuamotos

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