Sunday, February 10, 2013

50 to go to Rangiroa

February 10, 2013 6PM local
Position: 14°50'S 148°34'W as of (Feb 11 0400UTC)
Underway with 50nm to go to Rangiroa, Tuamotu, French Polynesia

About 24 hours from our planned landfall at Rangiroa we determined our arrival time would be just around sunset, so we slowed down to arrive the next morning.

Having some extra time today we sailed by Mataiva atoll. The guide book mentioned a small boat pass and the Google earth image showed a clear image of the pass. So, we went in for a look. The pass just north of the village of Pahua has a range and several channel markers, but the water looked a bit shallow for a keel boat. We stood off and observed the breakers and watched the water flood out of the pass for 15 minutes. Immediately inside the pass ~100M at Mataiva or Matahiva is a vehicle bridge that links two motus. There's room for small pangas to pass under the bridge and access the lagoon, but sailboats would need to tie to the concrete wharf just before the bridge.

Cross currents in the pass from water flowing off the shallow reef laterally into the pass would add an 'X' factor that could shove the boat onto the shallow reef or into the poles marking the port side of the pass. Not a problem for a fast moving small powerboat, but a bigger risk for a more expensive and slower sailing catamaran. Today we had a mixed swell direction with NE swell and some SW swell, so maybe on a day with settled seas the pass would be much less risky. The width appeared to be 35-40 feet and the numerous white and black painted poles that marked the port side of the pass really help delineate the pass as does the leading range. We decided not to risk it and will sail overnight to Rangiroa.

Mataiva Pass Approach observed at 14°51.761'S 148°42.759'W which is a little off on our CM93 charts.

Light winds out of the ESE and squalls today have us motoring the last miles to Rangiroa.

That's it for now.

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