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Monday, July 16, 2012

Tahanea atoll toward Fakarava South Pass

July 16, 2012
Underway position at 11AM local: 16°38.0029 S 145°07.4347 W
Tahanea atoll toward Fakarava South Pass, Tuamotu, French Polynesia, South Pacific Ocean

Winds were strong overnight and I was a little doubtful that we'd get underway today so we slept in until 7:30AM. Just before going to bed I decided to throw another anchor over the side as a little extra insurance and a more peaceful sleep. The second anchor rode wrapped on some coral, so this morning Kathy jumped in to untangle the rode. She can be pretty handy. The wind was down to 18 knots out of the east so we decided to sail from Tahanea, we'd just have to brave the pass which was ebbing strongly and creating some pretty nasty standing waves on the outside. We managed to sneak around most of the really nasty stuff by hugging the east side of the pass and heading a little SE once we were outside, effectively skirting the current against wind ugliness. Head to wind we raised a full main and we were off. The first 6 nautical miles were fine, but then we needed to turn more East and with a really deep wind angle we went wing on wing until a big nasty squall started to loom up behind us. It looked scary so we dropped all sail and it worked out just fine to have the tempest blow past us and pelt us with some rain. With nothing ominous on the horizon we decided on a symmetrical spinnaker as our course to Fakarava was just a touch North of East and the wind was steady directly out of the East. With the spinnaker pulling nicely we've made 8.8 nautical miles made good in the hour. Between noon and 1PM we made 9.6nm good. The boat is flat and dry and we are frequently surfing at sustained speeds of 11.5 knots with our best speed of the day 12.7 knots.

It looks good to go for Fakarava South pass which we hope to catch just at the end of the flood which we're estimating to be around 2PM based on our observations at Tahanea atoll. Enjoying some big fat Wahoo tacos as I write. We really stocked up on Mexican tortillas and who knows what keeps them fresh this long, but who cares as they really are a treat in the middle of the South Pacific.

Just arrived at Fakarava. Cleared the South pass at 1:35PM with a slight flood tide. Easy even with 18 knots out of the East and 2 meters swell out of the E-ESE. Anchor up to anchor down 54nm in 6.5 hours for an overall average speed of 8.3 knots. Anchored at: 16°31.2985 S 145°28.3375 W 5 meters sand and coral with great holding.

That's it for now.

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