31 May Rangiora in the Tuomotus
If you read the last blog post you might be familiar with the importance of entering Atolls at slack tide. Since our Tide Calculator worked well for Manihi, we assumed it would work well for Rangiroa. As we were nearing the entrance we heard Agnes from Ti Sento on the radio, we contacted them. They had looked at the tide table at the local dive shop and it said high tide was 30 minutes later than our information, so slack would be 1 hour later. We decided to enter anyway, and had 3 knots of current and some waves in the channel, it made for a little excitement. All was good, we made it just fine.
Rangiroa is the second biggest Atoll in the world. The Tiputa entrance was much bigger than Manihi, it even has range markers. These are markers that the skipper lines up the vessel, to get the correct boat location as you travel through the channel.
The most recommended anchorage is on the right of the entrance (in front of the Kia Ora hotel). We maneuvered our way through the 20 or so boats to find a good spot for Maia. We ended up at the back of the pack which was just perfect with our anchor and chain draped across the sand.
After our overnight sail to get to Rangiroa, we took a little time to energize before getting the dingy into the water and going to shore to check out things. Late afternoon we headed in and found things to be fairly quiet, as it was a Sunday afternoon. There was a Magazin (little market) open, so we were able to pick up a few things. We walked down to the pass entrance and viewed it at a less favorable entrance and exit time. There were lots of waves and you could see the water speeding through the pass. We dingyed by Ti Sento on our way back to Maia and our new friends invited up for a drink and they filled us in on the area.
Monday, Hannah went on a scuba dive with a Dive shop. Dick and I brought the bikes in and went on an Atoll tour. We road about 6 miles to Avatoru, the village at the other end of the motu (islet). We stopped at Gaugins pearl shop, to check out the local selection of pearls. This area is well known for its black pearl farming. In Avatoru we stopped at M & M restaurant for lunch. They served huge meals. Dick had a chicken sandwich that was on a 12 inch bagette and a “small” fries that was a huge pile on a dinner size plate. I had a large portion of tuna accompanied by about 2 cups of rice! Lunch was good, I had some leftover tuna to feed to a local mama dog that stopped by for a visit.
After lunch we checked out the little harbor and rode around and found a good vantage point for scouting this smaller pass. It had dense standing waves on the inside of the pass and we saw a sailboat that was shipwrecked on the shore across the channel. Yikes! On our way back we found a “Fare House”, a nice size grocery store with a good hardware section in the back. We also stopped at a local boutique, where “Madam” Laura found a dress. (The shop keeper kept calling me Madam. :).
Once we got back to Tiputa, we stopped at the magazin and were so excited to see a flat of lovely looking brown eggs! We decided to stop back the next morning for a fresh baguette and eggs. We ran into Hannah here, which was perfect timing. After her “dive” she had found the “Pearl Lady”, (Kookoo Pareo Artisanat) that a friend had told her about and she had done some shopping and got some amazing deals on some pearl necklaces and bracelets.
Our last full day in Tiputa we stopped on shore and got the local tide times, and did our pass “scout” (it is so reminiscent of the old days of river running, scouting the rapids!) We found out our tide calculator was an hour off! We decided to use local tide times to head out during slack, (high tide plus 30 minutes)!
We also went snorkeling at the “Aquarium”. An amazing reef at Motu Fara, on the inside of the pass with mooring balls to tie up the dinghy. It was really awesome, we saw a variety of fish, the biggest being a black tipped reef shark. The coral was beautiful also. So fun to swim around in the underwater beauty.
On Wednesday, we were so surprised to see 2 Cruise ships enter into the Atoll. (Now, the range markers and the aquarium mooring balls make sense.) We were glad we were stowing for sea and getting on our way. When we passed by the “Aquarium”, it was crazy busy. (Yesterday, the three of us had it on our own for a while.)
Things are bitter-sweet aboard Maia. Our time with Hannah is coming to an end. We are on a two-night passage. We’ve had good wind to start (10 to 15 knots) with fairly mellow seas. Currently, it is light winds (5 – 7 knots) which works well as we are laying in wait for daylight, 35 miles from Papeete, Tahiti! We will be making landfall tomorrow. Excited to be heading into a marina and to be staying on a dock for a bit, checking out the big city of Papeete and possibly being able to wash clothes in a washing machine! Oh yea, we expect better internet also.
Sad for this part of the trip to be ending. Hannah flies out to her home in Vancouver, BC in a couple days. It has been really nice to have her aboard for our passage and adventures for the last 2.5 months. We will miss her.