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Ahe, Tuamotu Islands

May 5, 2017

Tuamotus Isles. A longtime dream came true when we tied up to the jetty of Ahe, on Monday, Labor Day. We enjoyed Marquesas a lot, but got a bit fed up with the horrendous amounts of rain, almost every day for three weeks and a lack of clear water. Here we have a few moments of shower daily but nowhere near Nuku Hiva and Hiva Oa. 500+ miles distance makes a difference. Firstly the Tuamotus Isles are atolls with coconut trees being the only feature to look for when navigating. Pre GPS these 20 or so atolls were named “the Dangerous Isles”, due to the difficulty finding them, the rather fierce currents and the rather poor charts available. With GPS, up to date charts, clear sunshine and preferably Polaroid sun glasses you are fine. If you go slowly. The difficulty is the numerous coral heads or “bommies”.  You feel safe with 15 meters depth but three meters ahead you have a coral head, 1 meter below surface. If you are lucky and avoid a hit, next challenge is to avoid getting the chain entangled round these bommies. Being the only gringos here we are allowed to moor alongside the jetty. That is unless the twice-weekly ferry arrives, carrying groceries; bread, beer, vegetables and other valuable goods every Friday and Saturday. Finding a place to anchor is a nightmare so today we snorkeled with a buoy and a line to find a suitable coral head to moor against tomorrow when the big boat comes in. We’ll tie a floating nylon 30 mm rope to the coral head base rather than try our luck with our anchor. We checked the surroundings and hope we have a 20 meter swinging radius before hitting any bommies nearby.

It sounds like all our time is spent on engineering our mooring adventures. Not true. We spend at least 1,5 hours in the water enjoying the wealth of marine life daily, picking shells on the shore, 2-3 hours fixing broken gear and the rest just trying to understand how privileged we are. The day we arrived, we talked a few minutes with a young guy curious about our boat. We mentioned that we tried to buy some fish. Half an hour later he came back with a 2.5 kg prime filet of yellow finned tuna. A gift.  Later he came back with his girlfriend giving us lemons, which we know are imported and expensive! The great thing with a small community is that it is easy to get to know people. The main village of Ahe has about 200 inhabitants. What is interesting is that Ahe is one of the biggest Tahitian Pearl industry Isles with more than 50 companies operating here. The approach from the outer reef passage to the main village is littered with thousands of buoys with pearl oyster ropes. We will try to move to the “bolder” tomorrow and then back to the quay on Sunday for a couple of more days. Rather than moving between sites we prefer to stay in one place to feel more known and enjoy the premises.

From → Sailing Notes

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