Kauehi Atoll, Tuamotu Archipelago
Thursday, May 26
While still on passage, five days out of Nuku Hiva, Tuesday brought easy trade wind sailing towards Fakarava. The motion was steady enough that Randy was able to work on the water maker again. He diagnosed the problem(s) and was able to get it running again. There was some comment about “Operator Error” as one of the problems. Maybe we’ll learn more later?
At that point, we knew that we could replenish our water supply ourselves and the possibility of visiting other atolls opened up: We didn’t have to go directly to Fakarava for potable water. So plans changed yet again and we are now anchored in the lagoon of Kauehi Atoll. Kauehi is a medium-sized atoll along our course towards Fakarava, being 12 miles long and 8 miles wide with a clear and wide pass into the lagoon. This last factor was attractive to us, as this would be our first entrance through a coral reef pass in Velic.
We chose to anchor in the leeward, southeastern section of the lagoon, near the motu of Mahuehue (a motu is a small island around or inside the coral atoll.) The lagoon is a beautiful clear blue in the deep center, changing to light turquoise in the shallows. The coral heads, or “bommies” as the Australians say, are easy to spot against the white sand bottom. The anchor went down in a sandy patch off the beach at around 15:00 (3:00 pm). The view from the cockpit is the idyllic south-seas prospect: white sand beach, abundant palm trees, and an undergrowth of mid- to low growing shrubs. We are surprised at how green it is, but then again, we’ve also had a few rain showers to wash off the boat and cool the air. Lovely. And the anchorage is calm, the boat motion quiet. No rolling at anchorage here (we’re happy to leave behind the “Marquesan roll”). We can set something down on a flat surface and it will stay there until we pick it up again. Ruth can cook a meal without having to hang on with one hand or grab a handrail. Even Randy has commented on how quiet the boat sits at anchor, and how pleasant it is here. We weren’t aware of how tiring the constant rolling motion has been over the past months; it’s been since Puerto Vallarta, Mexico that we have had a moorage this quiet.