Cruising The Tuamotus Atolls: Kauehi and Tahanea

I had heard so many wonderful things about the Tuamotos atolls and their turquoise water lagoons, but they also had a fearsome reputation as the Dangerous Archipelago. The passes to enter the lagoons could be treacherous and once inside the lagoons one had to avoid hitting coral heads and reefs! Dangerous indeed.

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Seeing our first Atoll. The atolls are only visible about 8 miles from the reef..

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Approaching the big wide pass of Kauehi atoll at High slack.. This was the first time we were entering an atoll pass, we were definitely a little apprehensive!

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Cheated death again! Made it inside the lagoon, with the pass in the background. We had a glorious flat water sail in 12 knots of breeze across the lagoon to the village 5 miles north.

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Aerial view of Kauehi atoll. The village is on the north east side..

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Stops (center) at anchor at Kauehi Village. For the first couple of days we kept saying “Wow” every few minutes. These atolls are so beautiful with the turquoise water, sandy beaches, palm trees, pristine reefs, lots of fish and sun sun sun.. makes a change from the Marquesas!

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We had a blast exploring the village with Fred and Cinda from S/V Songline.

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As we were walking past his home, a local called Ririfatu invited to have coconuts! The hospitality and generosity of the people here is amazing and they don’t expect anything in return.

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Glenda and Cinda enjoying the favourite local drink..

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Boat storage Tuoamoto style..

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A local boy Mariano befriended us and showed us his homemade toy boats.. They kids were really friendly and we ended up playing with them a lot.

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We also hung out with Dennis and MaryLee on S/V Lardo who picked up some baguettes for us hot off the plane from Tahiti.

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Beautiful sunset in Kauehi Village..

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After Kauehi village we went south to S/V Lardo to explore the beautiful and untouched motus (mini coral islands) on the south side of the Kauehi atoll..

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The south side motus were magical… I was finally in the south pacific paradise I had been dreaming of all these years. We had a bonfire on this motu with S/V Lardo and a couple of the other world cruising boats from England and Austria.

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Most of the time we were anchoring in sand peppered with coral heads called Bommies. We had to use fenders to lift the chain above the coral heads to prevent wraps. Hard work!

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After Kauehi we did a 60 mile overnight passage to Tahanea (aerial view above), a national park atoll that is uninhabited and protected.

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Even the sign was rustic!

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Stops (center) at anchor in the lagoon near the middle pass. The ocean side can be see in the right. The motus are not very wide!

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We did a lot of snorkeling at the amazing reef at the pass

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Lots and lots of sealife.. 

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..and many sharks.. 

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..Moray Eels

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.. and beautiful clams that contract as soon as you get close. We ate some of the clams raw right off the reef in Kauehi.

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We had a great time snorkeling with Mark and Yuka from S/V Merkava. Yuka was chasing the sharks! Image00022
Mark with Glenda. We had a bonfire with them and Andy, Monica and Jake from S/V Savannah. 

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Next we dodged coral pinnacles to get to the south side of the lagoon.. It was amazingly beautiful.

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Pristine and untouched sand beaches..

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Sunny days in the Tuatomus allowed us to practice our celestial navigation..

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Glenda slightly happy after starting a bonfire at sunset on the nearby motu. Stops is in the background.

Next stop Fakarava and Toau Atolls.. Can’t wait !!

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Author: Chet

Avid sailor.

3 thoughts on “Cruising The Tuamotus Atolls: Kauehi and Tahanea”

  1. i’m so happy i found your blog!! will you tell glenda that i miss her dearly? i have been gathering things to send her via post, but i’m afraid you guys have left papeete… next stop? any special requests?? with love from NY

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