Marquesas
Marquesas

The "high islands" we left behind after spending almost a year there (internet photo)

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Tuamotu Archipelago
Tuamotu Archipelago

We had arrived in the "low" islands by sailing 500 miles to the SW of the Marquesas. What an abrupt contrast! (internet photo)

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Tuamotus Archipelago
Tuamotus Archipelago

Fakarava atoll from our plane

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Tuamotu Archipelago
Tuamotu Archipelago
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We arrived on Raroia, our first Tuamotu atoll after a 4 day sail from the Marquesas.

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Tuamotus
Tuamotus

Exotic South Pacific postcard

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Lovely Plage 9 (Beach 9) in Fakarava

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Sky and seascape
Sky and seascape

The Tuamotus barely rise out of the sea. Instead of a landscape it would be more appropriate to call it a sky and seascape.

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Sky and seascpae
Sky and seascpae
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Jacaranda anchored among the bommies and black-tip reef sharks

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Jacaranda's Tuamotu Route
Jacaranda's Tuamotu Route

We visited severn atolls, spending almost 6 months in this quiet and remote corner of French Polynesia

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NASA photo of the Tuamotus
NASA photo of the Tuamotus
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Historical Map of the Tuamotus
Historical Map of the Tuamotus
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Firi firi
Firi firi

The Polynesian donut

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Firi Firi
Firi Firi

The Polynesian donut is a breakfast staple

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Turquoise waters and golden sands

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"The blue that hurts your eyes"

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Turquoise birds?
Turquoise birds?

The white underside of terns reflects the blue water of the lagoon

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Fakarava
Fakarava
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Sky and seascape
Sky and seascape

Filled with Rorschach sunsets

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Glorious sunsets
Glorious sunsets
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Sky and seascape
Sky and seascape
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Double rainbow after a fast-moving squall

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Jacaranda is our pot of gold at the end of the rainbow

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Dangerous low-lying aspect
Dangerous low-lying aspect

Atolls "deformed with disproportioned trees like bristles on a broom" (Robert Louis Stevenson)

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Not all atolls have navigable passes like Ahe

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Tikehau Pass
Tikehau Pass

The pass is a narrow channel that communicates between the lagoon and the sea. (photo: Ben Thouard)

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Tahanea Pass
Tahanea Pass

We watched friends on svTa-B struggle to barely power through the pass at the wrong time when the current was strongly against them.

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Passes can be tricky because of strong currents; here you can see the disturbed water and calm water in the same pass.

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Hazard: Bommie
Hazard: Bommie

Coral heads, or bommies, rise abruptly from the lagoon floor

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Hazard: Pearl Floats
Hazard: Pearl Floats

Ahe was a minefield of pearl floats. Here they were just outside the marked channel

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"Pair of Eyes"
"Pair of Eyes"

Rupert Murdoch son's megayacht Sarrisa has a crew member stationed on the top spreaders as a lookout

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Lookouts
Lookouts

On the deck and the spreaders

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Lookouts
Lookouts

The higher the view, the better the ability to spot bommies and obstructions

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Manihi Pass & Lagoon.jpg
Manihi Pass & Lagoon.jpg

Google Earth chartlet shows the pass and the larger bommies. The smaller bommies may not show up and clouds can obscure your reading.

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Lots of bommies in this anchorage!

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Anchoring diagram
Anchoring diagram

Source: Cruising World magazine

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Buoying our anchor chain to avoid getting it wrapped around the bommies

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svMaluhia anchored in a pretty clear spot in Raroia

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Weather unpredictability
Weather unpredictability

“Rapidly changing weather patterns call for flexibility and good navigational skills”. You can get caught on a lee shore.

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An artsy version of a sky and seascape

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