Cruising Tikehau

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tikehauvillage 

tikehauNWUsing the word “anchorage” in an atoll in French Polynesia is a little weird because there are miles of anchorable depths in more or less protected regions of the atoll and it is fairly rare that there is only one good spot even in the well protected region. Boats tend to congregate near villages, or near waypoints given out in guidebooks.

When you find your own little corner of paradise, away from a village and away from the guidebook waypoints, another boat will see you anchored and come over to investigate your spot. Not that I’m complaining too loudly because we’ve done that ourselves. Always wondering if the other guy found something good. We’ve become better at moving around and finding our own corners. Satellite imagery has made locating good spots a very fun game for the navigator.

tikehaubirdmotu Tikehau is an atoll in the Tuamotus that is interesting in a number of ways. Tikehau is relatively small which is usually good news for wave build up across the lagoon (i.e., fetch).

However, it is a circular atoll and we found that the fetch wrapped around and so always seemed to hit the boat just a little bit off from the direction of the wind. Because the boat was facing into the wind, the fetch hit the boat at 20-30 degrees and caused, not a rolling motion, but a short little jerking motion that drove Carol and I bonkers.

tikehauNEWe started calling it Lumpy-how and we had to get rather creative in avoiding the fetch in order to enjoy this atoll (which is beautiful, more on that later). tikehaupbrWe ended up anchoring in more unusual spots, surrounded by reefs, or behind a line of coral heads or behind an island in the middle of the lagoon. We also moved around a lot as the wind switched. it was fun to explore an atoll “fast”. We kept joking that we were cruising charter style, never spending more than a night or two at any one anchorage.

We spent a night or two anchored in front of one of the expensive honeymooner hotels and it was fun to have the same view and to be reminded of how much of a dream location we are currently cruising in.tikehaupass

You can always see where we are currently anchored by checking out our map. Switch it to satellite view if you wish to see images like these.

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