A beautiful Atoll of the Tuamotu Islands, French Polynesia
Lat/Long: 016° 18 South / 145° 38 West
Our second stop in French Polynesia was the atoll of Fakarava. The island groups are quiet far apart. The trip from Nuku Hiva to Fakarava was a straight line of 560 nm – that’s quiet a distance. We had to time the departure and arrival as to enter Fakarava, it is important to respect the tides and currents to safely enter the pass/“cut”. This meant that we had to slow Moonwave down for parts of the sail as the wind picked up and we were going faster than our planning. It’s been a while since we unpacked the storm jib but it was good practice and it worked well.
We entered Fakarava through the North cut and the first thing we noticed were the beautiful water colors. The shallower depths in the lagoon are causing beautiful turquoise water colors compared to the deep blue of the deep ocean. The passage of the cut went well and we anchored in the North close to the village of Tetamanu. Again we had a warm welcome by the locals and also big thanks to Aldric and Stephanie [and their girls] from Fakarava Yacht Services. They help us to find our way around Fakarava with great tips and recommendations.
Fakarava is known for it’s great dive spots and they didn’t disappoint. But even without getting wet, the corals were just beautiful and in great conditions, a joy to admire when just by passing by tender.
At the local snack – le snack du requin dormeur – you can have your lunch in the water with nurse sharks swimming around you. We stayed at the beach for our lunch as we don’t like to share…
After three days in the North of Fakarava we had an amazing sail to the south of the Atoll. We followed the channel markers on the Eastern shore and again we had to slow Moonwave down a bit as there are lots of coral heads and as it was our first time in the area. We had a nice breeze, flat water, sunshine, turquoise water and no traffic. Dream conditions to sail the 27 nm to the southern cut.
Fakarava is also known for it’s black pearl farms. The farms are mostly placed in the center of the atoll. You can visit the shore based farms with great explanations about pearl farming.
We went for an early morning dive at the famous dive site/pass in the South cut. The dive and underwater world were very impressive and exceeded our expectations. Lots of big fish swarms including barracudas, some tuna as well colorful reef fish passed in front, under, above and behind us. The water was crystal clear with the entering current. The drift dive was an experience and we also saw the famous wall of sharks.
Pictures are from both dive sites.
As the weather and wind had turned we didn’t stay long in the South of Fakarava. We hoisted our sails and left towards Tahiti as soon as the current had shifted and we could leave the beautiful lagoon via the southern Pass/cut.
We will miss the beauty of Fakarava, but there are still many other islands to discover ;-)
Next stop Tahiti & Papeete…