Marquesas
Marquesas

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

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)

Tuamotus Archipelago
Tuamotus Archipelago

Fakarava atoll from our plane

Tuamotu Archipelago
Tuamotu Archipelago

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

Tuamotus
Tuamotus

Exotic South Pacific postcard

Lovely Plage 9 (Beach 9) in Fakarava

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.

Sky and seascpae
Sky and seascpae

Jacaranda anchored among the bommies and black-tip reef sharks

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

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

The Polynesian donut

Firi Firi
Firi Firi

The Polynesian donut is a breakfast staple

Turquoise waters and golden sands

"The blue that hurts your eyes"

Turquoise birds?
Turquoise birds?

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

Fakarava
Fakarava
Sky and seascape
Sky and seascape

Filled with Rorschach sunsets

Glorious sunsets
Glorious sunsets
Sky and seascape
Sky and seascape

Double rainbow after a fast-moving squall

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

Dangerous low-lying aspect
Dangerous low-lying aspect

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

Not all atolls have navigable passes like Ahe

Tikehau Pass
Tikehau Pass

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

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.

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

Hazard: Bommie
Hazard: Bommie

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

Hazard: Pearl Floats
Hazard: Pearl Floats

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

"Pair of Eyes"
"Pair of Eyes"

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

Lookouts
Lookouts

On the deck and the spreaders

Lookouts
Lookouts

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

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.

Lots of bommies in this anchorage!

Anchoring diagram
Anchoring diagram

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

Weather unpredictability
Weather unpredictability

“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