Wednesday, June 9, 2010

To a Motu

16* 15.4' South
145* 37.2' West
Fakarava, Tuamotus, French Polynesia
June 9, 2010 Motu1

Yesterday, we decided to go to a motu. I thought that "motus" only described the islands or islets that make up the ring of whatever land there is around an atoll. Evidently, they can also be smack dab in the middle of the atoll also, as we are anchored off of one right now. It took us about 4 hours to reach this atoll. We had a coral head watch going the whole trip and one reason that we stopped here on our way to the north end of Fakarava which would have been another couple of hours.
Anchoring here was exciting. It is deep around the atoll - over 100 feet of water and it comes up quickly with coral heads close to the shore. There are trees on this particular motu, so we first decided to perform a stern tie like we would in British Columbia. Unfortunately, we couldn’t seem to get the anchor to bite into the underwater slope that approached the motu. Then, we tried anchoring stern to stern with Totem and then tying off the sterns. This would have been a great solution except that a squall came out of the south and made the motu a lee shore with the maximum windage of both boats working to push us onto the shore coral. As the scouting group was exploring the motu at the time that the squall came up, there was an emergency evacuation. After Brad scouted the rest of the motu in the dinghy while I held station on  CAPAZ off the motu with Totem silhouetted against a beautiful rainbow, we decided to try the other side of the motu. It was getting late in the afternoon and the light to look for coral heads was failing. The rule around here is when you are inside an atoll, have your anchor down by 3:00. We are anchored in 90 feet of water with all our chain out and almost enough swinging room to not hit the shoreside coral heads if the wind changed direction again. Which it did at about midnight. We were able to pull in enough chain to still be safely holding, but not swing so close to the motu. The squall passed and the rest of the night was quiet.
I think I have had enough of motu exploring!

 Motu 2

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