Thursday, May 28, 2015

Arrival in the Tuamotus

We had a great 3 1/2 day passage to the Tuamotus. The wind was a steady 20 knots on the beam. Swells were high at times, but far enough apart to make it fine. The wind dropped to 15 knots on the last day but we were still dumping wind to slow down and not arrive before sunrise.

The Tuamotus are all atolls, which are low lying ring shaped islands. Many of them have entrance channels to the interior lagoon where people can anchor and explore. Our tide information indicated slack tide was about an hour after sunrise which is when we got to the entrance. As our friends Jennifer and Campbell explained, the current in these channels is usually based on the wind and the tidal effects are negligible. It seems that the wind pushed water over the low lying portions of these atolls (sometimes basically at water level) and fills them up like a big bucket. If there has been much wind in the past few days the channels all have outbound currents. Sometimes a lot of current.

We got into the lagoon at Makemo, our first stop in the Tuamotus, but it was a bit of work. We had quite a good current going against us and lots of turbulence as the water squeezed through the channel. We weren't worried about hitting anything as the channel is 300 feet wide and 60 feet deep. The issue was whether or not our engine had enough horsepower to fight the current and whether or not we could keep the bow pointed the right way. It took a while, and we ran the engine hard for about 20 minutes, but that got us through the 1/2 mile channel and off to the nice anchorage.

Now that we are anchored we can do a better investigation as to that smell. We finally found two jars of chopped garlic in the bilge that suddenly started leaking yesterday. The jars are not broken and the lids are tight but the plastic around them is oily and OMG does the boat reek of garlic! Good as Garlic!