The "high islands" we left behind after spending almost a year there (internet photo)
We had arrived in the "low" islands by sailing 500 miles to the SW of the Marquesas. What an abrupt contrast! (internet photo)
Fakarava atoll from our plane
We arrived on Raroia, our first Tuamotu atoll after a 4 day sail from the Marquesas.
Exotic South Pacific postcard
Lovely Plage 9 (Beach 9) in Fakarava
The Tuamotus barely rise out of the sea. Instead of a landscape it would be more appropriate to call it a sky and seascape.
Jacaranda anchored among the bommies and black-tip reef sharks
We visited severn atolls, spending almost 6 months in this quiet and remote corner of French Polynesia
The Polynesian donut
The Polynesian donut is a breakfast staple
Turquoise waters and golden sands
"The blue that hurts your eyes"
The white underside of terns reflects the blue water of the lagoon
Filled with Rorschach sunsets
Double rainbow after a fast-moving squall
Jacaranda is our pot of gold at the end of the rainbow
Atolls "deformed with disproportioned trees like bristles on a broom" (Robert Louis Stevenson)
Not all atolls have navigable passes like Ahe
The pass is a narrow channel that communicates between the lagoon and the sea. (photo: Ben Thouard)
We watched friends on svTa-B struggle to barely power through the pass at the wrong time when the current was strongly against them.
Passes can be tricky because of strong currents; here you can see the disturbed water and calm water in the same pass.
Coral heads, or bommies, rise abruptly from the lagoon floor
Ahe was a minefield of pearl floats. Here they were just outside the marked channel
Rupert Murdoch son's megayacht Sarrisa has a crew member stationed on the top spreaders as a lookout
On the deck and the spreaders
The higher the view, the better the ability to spot bommies and obstructions
Google Earth chartlet shows the pass and the larger bommies. The smaller bommies may not show up and clouds can obscure your reading.
Lots of bommies in this anchorage!
Source: Cruising World magazine
Buoying our anchor chain to avoid getting it wrapped around the bommies
svMaluhia anchored in a pretty clear spot in Raroia
“Rapidly changing weather patterns call for flexibility and good navigational skills”. You can get caught on a lee shore.
An artsy version of a sky and seascape