Saturday, August 11, 2012

Photo Essay of Our Tuamotus Passage

July 22-27, 2012

The weather wasn't ideal for our passage to the Tuamotus...

Cloud drama

....but one of the many reasons we love being at sea is for all the rainbows.

Double rainbow
We had a couple of squalls along the way, and after our experience outside Taiohae, we took extra precautions:

 
Ready for anything


 It turns out they were unwarranted this time.
  

No need for ski goggles
 The scenery was beautiful...


Evening light on the main-our courtesy flag shadow is visible

Evening light on Silhouette

Cloud and rainbow

Pamplemousse over the stern deck

Sunset clouds

....but then the wind picked up.
 
Scrap of a headsail







I forgot to mention this sail configuration in the earlier post about our passage to the Tuamotus. When the wind came up out of that "windless hole" in which we were motoring, it did so at night, and it did so to the tune of about 23 knots. In the dark and with that much wind, we just put out some headsail---and it didn't take much. In the morning, we changed to the double-reefed main/staysail configuration that we used for the next three days. 

Sailing under a handkerchief sail

Sea state 1

Sea state 2

Sea state 3

Double-reefed main and staysail combination

Another view of the same sail configuration

A nasty squall in our wake-this one didn't hit us

A friend of mine in Dutch Harbor used to call these "Jesus rays"

Towards the end of our passage, the wind came down, but the swell was such that we still couldn't shake the reef out of the main.

The wind came down enough to add a furled headsail to the reduced sail combination


Sailing under the staysail and two reduced sails

Another view of the same sail configuration-We love our boat:  can you tell?

Eventually, (and I think I forgot to include this in the previous post as well), the sea state also came down enough to where we could put out the full main and headsail again. This was during the very last morning of our passage. 

Here is Silhouette passing between two atolls. These atolls were eight and ten miles away, respectively, and we could see no sign of them with our naked eyes. Compare that to the volcanic island of Hiva Oa--- which we first spotted from 28 miles away---and Nuku Hiva or Ua Pou, which can be seen from 30 miles away. 
 
Look to either side of the glare to see what an atoll looks like on radar-Only the sides of an atoll with palm trees give a return

Below is our first view of Tahanea atoll, from about six miles away. You can see why (until the advent of GPS) the Tuamotan archipelago was called the "Dangerous Archipelago" and its reefs are littered with wrecks. Imagine trying to navigate through these coral atolls with just dead reckoning and celestial navigation. 
 
First view of Tahanea atoll from six miles away
Getting closer to the atoll

Unfortunately, I was too busy to take pictures of our entrance through the pass.

Inside the lagoon

View from at anchor inside the lagoon

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