We were having a delightful spinnaker sail down the west side of Manihi, but as we got closer to the SW corner the winds died. So, we doused the sail and started up the motor and motored our way around the SW corner to the passage into the lagoon. It was a little past noon and we knew from a local we had e-mailed that it was near high tide. With hardly any wind, the seas were flat so we motored right in with a slight current behind us. As soon as we got to the pass we could see how beautifully clear the water was. The bottom was visible 50 feet below! There was a village to our right and the waters became turquoise blue as it got shallower on the edges of the pass. It was beautiful!
As we were entering the pass, two local boys were riding on fiberglass outrigger kayaks. They quickly paddled behind us and rode in the trail of our hulls getting a boost. We were going 7 knots with the favor of the current, so they were really moving. We smiled and waved at them, but they concentrated on moving. After we made the turn into the lagoon, the smiled and waved as they moved in another direction.
The sun was directly overhead, and we had our polarized sunglasses on. We could clearly see occasion large coral heads to avoid, but you wouldn’t want to go driving around in unfamiliar waters without proper lighting here. We spotted the anchorage suggested to us by the simple expedient that 4 other sailboats were there. We got into a marked channel with large permanent buoys and headed in that direction.
We were half way when with our binoculars we recognized one of the two catamarans. It was “Songline” – the boat I helped with their Panama Canal transit. We hailed them on the radio and they gave us a few quick pointers. Soon we were in the anchorage and dropped our anchor in 50 feet of water with a trip line on the anchor (the waters are notorious for having lots of old coral rock at the bottom which often tangle anchors and rode).
Songline gave us the bad news that at this location it is apparently hard to pick up the Internet WIFI for the island. We confirmed that even my long-range WIFI antenna couldn’t connect. So, yesterday we did not write a blog post like I had intended. We instead did some swimming and kayaking exploring a small part of our first Tuamotus atoll. This place is amazingly beautiful! It’s like visiting a post card, or sailing magazine article about the Tuamotus, come to life! I’m in heaven!
Hopefully we will be able to share more and some photographs by this evening!