Wednesday, May 4, 2011


The Tuamotus are probably the most talked about and anticipated part of visiting the French Polynesian islands. They are located approximately 500 miles southwest of the Marquesas and about 200 miles northeast of Tahiti. They're made up of 78 islands, all but two being coral atolls. All together, according to our guide, they extend almost 1000 miles. The reason they're the most talked about is because they're so low lying they're only visible about 8 miles out and each has a pass that must be entered and exited only at slack tide to avoid heavy currents (there's even a spreadsheet to help estimate these currents and no to all my geek friends, I didn't create it) and other various dangers. Once inside the atoll, you have to worry about avoiding coral heads as you move around. Many boats choose to just go straight through to Tahiti and avoid these dangers altogether. What do you think we chose?

You would be right...we're stopping. As a matter of fact, we plan to make this our largest leg of the French Polynesian. The diving is supposed to be phenomenal and the waters crystal clear. This is also where many/if not most of the black pearl farms are located (I hope I'm able to experience and write more about these later!).

Easter Sunday, since it rained all day and our Easter egg hunt really didn't take that long, we pulled out all of our charts and guidebooks and did some research. We had a hard time settling on the atolls we were going to visit as there are so many to choose from. Knowing we only had about a month (to allow time to visit Tahiti and Bora Bora before our visa expires), we decided to start in the middle and make our way north visiting four of them; Makemo, Tahanea, Fakarava, and Taou. We made our decision first and foremost on which ones appealed to both of us. Other factors included how easy the pass was, village or no village, diving reports, etc.

So for three days we've been heading towards Makemo. It has a village, potentially supplies (not that we need any, but some fresh bread would be nice), and internet (I know, amazing right?). Today our wind pooped out on us...seriously pooped. It was clear it was going to take us an extra day and a half to get there and we would have to wait several hours for slack tide (for the record...Jake and I were finally comfortable and really didn't care if it took 10 days to get there, but the waiting around for slack tide didn't sound too fabulous). We decided to turn a little to the southeast and go to one of our first choices that got crossed off the list and make it by morning...Raroia. There is supposed to be a small village there as well as a small pearl farm. The diving is reported to be fantastic and the pass pretty uneventful. By the time you're reading this, we'll be gathering real data and will report back accordingly. :) As for the other atolls, I'm going to refrain from discussing them until we actually go as it's all speculation from here. I'm sure all of these atolls are going to produce some Andy Mac originals though and can't wait to share them!

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