Cruisers Forum

Join CruisersForum Today

Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 31-03-2016, 14:25   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 5
Tuamotus, advice?

Following a lot of research into Pacific destinations for a five week charter, the Tuamotus have come out top of our list. We are looking for a real Pacific experience. We understand that the sailing is fairly challenging, which doesn't worry us as we have 10,000 sea miles under our belt.
Does anyone have any advice or experiences they could share on the Tuamotus?

Leopardstar2002 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31-03-2016, 14:54   #2
Registered User
Dave852's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Tavernier, Fl
Boat: Outremer 50
Posts: 664
Send a message via Skype™ to Dave852
Re: Tuamotus, advice?

South pass at Fakarava, not to be missed.

Sent from my iPad using Cruisers Sailing Forum

Dave852 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31-03-2016, 15:14   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 5,463
Re: Tuamotus, advice?

Great place and wonderful diving but I had no idea you could charter a boat there or is this not a bareboat charter?
robert sailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31-03-2016, 15:25   #4
Senior Cruiser
roverhi's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Kona, Hawaii, Carlsbad, CA
Boat: 1969 Pearson 35 #108 & 1976 Sabre 28
Posts: 6,128
Send a message via Yahoo to roverhi
Re: Tuamotus, advice?

We spent a couple of weeks at Ahe many years ago. Outstanding diving, flat water anchorage, easy pass and unspoiled small village at that time. Definitely recommend stopping at any of the islands that haven't been developed/no hotel/airstrip. Stopped at Rangiroa but it was too civilized for our tastes and diving not nearly as good as Ahe.

Anchored off Makatea, a raised atoll unlike most of the other Tuamotus that are low atolls. Diving was great but didn't go ashore because the anchorage was insecure. The bottom drops off almost vertical beyond a small fringing reef. Dropped all 250 of chain and it went down vertical. The wind pushed us in towards the Island so our stern was only a few hundred yards from shore. A change in the wind and the boat would have drifted out to sea. Wanted to go ashore because the Island had an abandoned guano mining operation and supposedly all of the equipment including a steam strain. Yeah I know, sail to SoPac so you can see an abandoned industrial site.

Our experience may no longer be the case as navigation in the pre GPS days scared off many cruisers going to the Tuamotus. Ahe had a reputation as being cruiser friendly then so there were a few other boats there both times we stopped but not enough to feel crowded. With the many Islands in the Tuamotus, shouldn't have a problem finding an unspoiled one.

FWIW, there were a lot of reef sharks inside the lagoon. The black tip sharks are very passive and will not attack unless severely provoked. I counted more than 30 sharks one day I went spearfishing by the time I'd speared a couple of groupers and had them on a stringer. This was in one location across the lagoon from the village. There was an Italian Swan 65 there the first time we anchored who were avid spear fisherman. One of the crew speared one of the sharks and didn't want to lose his speargun so he hung on with the shark towing him around. The shark eventually got tired of the sport and bit the guy on his thigh. Guess that's what you get for wearing Speedos.
Peter O.
'Ae'a Pearson 35
roverhi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31-03-2016, 15:44   #5
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Home port is San Diego, California, but Rutea is currently in Panama for the hurricane season.
Boat: Contest 48
Posts: 700
Images: 1
Re: Tuamotus, advice?

The amount of experience you have is probably irrelevant unless you have specific experience negotiating coral lagoon passes, which isn't so hard as long as you're willing to be patient and wait for slack water to enter or leave a lagoon. What we found to be more challenging was keeping an anchor chain from fouling on the coral heads and, indeed, we had several friends who spent many hours trying to extricate themselves from the grip of a bommie. We had differing levels of success by 'floating' our anchor chain.

By far, the biggest problem we had in the Tuamotus was that, being American, we could only get a 90-day visa for French Polynesia (extensions are difficult if not impossible to get once your there). We could have spent years in the Tuamotus alone and they remain one of our favorite places that we have visited in the last 5 years of our circumnavigation. Makemo Atoll was one of the more remote atolls we stayed at and the sea life was nothing short of spectacular.

Fair winds and calm seas.
nhschneider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31-03-2016, 16:06   #6
Registered User
Dsanduril's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: South Pacific
Boat: Outremer 50S
Posts: 1,540
Re: Tuamotus, advice?

Originally Posted by Dave852 View Post
South pass at Fakarava, not to be missed.

Originally Posted by nhschneider View Post
... Makemo Atoll was one of the more remote atolls we stayed at and the sea life was nothing short of spectacular...

And, if you're into remote places and in the vicinity of Makemo and Fakarava I would throw Tahanea into the mix. Uninhabited (unless some temporary fisher-folk happen to be around) and absolutely outstanding. There are bommies, no markers, charts are not complete, so high sun and diligent eyes are a necessity.
Dsanduril is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31-03-2016, 16:28   #7
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Germany
Boat: secondarily boatless
Posts: 179
Re: Tuamotus, advice?


I am not quite clear - do you want to use a charter boat or are you on your own?
For charter the closest point probably would be Tahiti or Raiatea. From Tahiti it's about two days to Fakarava, from Raiatea it's three, and it is upwind.

We've been to Manihi, Ahe and Fakarava. Manihi is very nice, but the pass is difficult and fast running, so you need tide tables there. Ahe is easier, and in Fakarava both passes can be crossed any time, as long as you can do 8 knots under engine.

The south pass in Fakarava is awesome, and there is a very nice anchorage in the eastern corner - see picture below.

I second the mention of anchoring problems - I had to dive in Manihi and in the north of Fakarava to free the anchor - you simply have lots of "bommies" and the anchor chain will wrap itself around them gladly. If you don't have diving equipment I would not recommend going there...

Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	DSCN6234.jpg
Views:	84
Size:	48.3 KB
ID:	121802  
Oliver L. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31-03-2016, 17:40   #8
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 5,463
Re: Tuamotus, advice?

Yes chain in a coral head, very common. At the time we were there I had a tank and 40 feet of hose with a regulator that I used for cleaning the hull. After spending an hour trying to remember how many times we spun a 360 I final gave up and waited for another boat to arrive that had proper dive gear. After 2 days without any visitors I finally wrapped the hose and taped it to the tank and went down the chain in 50 feet of water and sure enough I was wrapped around a mushroom shaped coral head and would never have gotten the chain clear. Decided I better get proper gear and a refresher course as it had been many years since the last time I had dived. Yes bring dive gear to visit that neck of the woods and don't forget to buy some black pearls as that's a big industry there and you can get some nice ones for very little money. People are wonderful.

robert sailor is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Crew Wanted: Mexico to Marquesas, Tuamotus, Tahiti + Saffa Crew Archives 0 27-03-2016 08:52
Crew Wanted: Short Term Crew on 43' Catamaran Cruising around Tahiti and Tuamotus Cramelzy Crew Archives 0 27-10-2014 01:36
No advice is good advice! Doodles General Sailing Forum 29 04-05-2012 17:36
Tax Advice Needed - Sailing Advice Given mparent General Sailing Forum 0 12-07-2010 07:16
Navigable Tuamotus ess105 Pacific & South China Sea 4 11-09-2009 13:24

Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 12:01.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.