We went into Toau through Pass Otugi on the E side with an incoming current after a nice close hauled sail from the N Pass of Fakarava Atoll. We spent almost two weeks in the SE corner of Toau, kiting, and socializing with the boats we had been traveling with. It was at Toau that I feel like we really explored an atoll. Fakarava was a turbo expedition of fun and Toau was a lazier (perhaps because we were all tired) exploration of atoll life.
The Tuamotus are a great place for small beach fires, particularly on the more isolated ends. Although all of the land is owned, people don’t seem to be concerned about what happens on the edge of the beach on an isolated motu within the atoll.
Although the water clarity was good, the isolation (um, except the pack we were traveling with), and the gorgeous shell beach motus on the S end of the atoll were the reason we stayed so long. We kited 6 days, spent a day walking the motus and splitting coconuts, had 3 or 4 social hours on the beach, and dinghied back and forth between boats for various dinners and sundowners.
We met one of the coconut harvesters in the area and he invited us to his home for breakfast which turned out to be a 4 course extravaganza of dishes featuring coconut, morning-caught fresh fish, plus fried bread and coffee. Totally spoiled. Go ashore on the SE corner and say hello to Vaitea if you are in the area and speak some French (he doesn’t speak any English) – incredibly welcoming guy.