Saturday, May 29, 2010

Escape from the Fetch

16* 39.3' South
143* 23.6' West
East End of Makemo Atoll, Tuamotus, French Polynesia
May 29, 2010

A low pressure system to the southeast of our position in Makemo created some wind that, over its 10 miles or so from the opposite edge of the barrier reef that comprises the atoll, got some pretty good wave chop built up. We made the decision to seek shelter at the eastern edge of the atoll where our anchoring gear would not be in as much peril from the wind, waves and coral heads.
We spent the afternoon traversing the nine miles or so very slowly so that we could easily see the coral heads with the catamaran, Stray Kitty and Totem following behind us. We made our way to the other end of the atoll without mishap.

Once we arrived, we were greeted by beautiful turquoise blue flat water, white sand beaches and an impending squall approaching from the ocean side of the atoll. We were again lulled to sleep with the gentle lapping of our lake in the middle of the ocean.

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This particular atoll does not have continuous motus or islets all the way around it. Most of the "land" on this atoll lies on the north side of the atoll. The remainder is formed by the ancient barrier reef that used to ring the volcanic island that once inhabited this location on the map. The reef is what keeps the water so relatively calm, no ocean swell. We are currently anchored where the more or less continuous motus give way to open stretches of reef only.
Our first morning here, a group walked out to end of the motu shelling as we went. The hermit crabs get the best shells which is a little frustrating. However, a local had taught one of our group that if you whistle the crab will poke out of his shell making it possible to evict him. After one successful eviction, I got way too much grief from Bryce and Austin, so my policy on shelling is only uninhabited shells.

Yesterday, after schoolwork was done we packed a lunch and headed into the beach for an afternoon on the beach. The made a hermit crab sanctuary and there were quite a few games of cards. The dads took the spear guns and went in search of dinner. They got a total of five fish and we decided on a potluck aboard Stray Kitty after using Capaz's swim step as a fish cleaning station.


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Today we went in search of some good coral heads for snorkeling. Unfortunately, the wind was up a bit which made the windward side of the each coral head we tried a little too rough. The dinghy ride upwind was not very much fun for the wet snorkelers. It is really beautiful here, but we will probably move back to Makemo tomorrow and then, continue on to Fakarava.


EastMak 009 EastMak 065 EastMak 019

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