Mixed weather for the 450 mile passage to the Toamotos with very variable winds in strength and direction from SE to NE and 3 days of very cloudy grey conditions. However it was never too windy nor too rough so no complaints on that score. Another passage with no sightings, no dolphins, no whales and just one fishing boat as we closed on Ahe in the early hours of the last morning. Our trailing of a fishing line proved unsuccessful too. We managed to hook two, both reel screamers, both big but the first just bent the hook and the second broke the line like it was a piece of week cotton.
The Toamotos earned their reputation as the Dangerous Isles because the Motos & coral reefs are so low lying and hard to spot and we did not sight Ahe until we were about 5 miles away, a thin line of coconut trees fringing the horizon.
On Ahe there is just one pass into the lagoon, about 85 fett wide at its narrowest and just 3-4 metres deep over the bar. Through this rushes all the water in and out of the lagoon with the tides so a slack water passage is recommended. Only having the tide times for another atoll Rangiroa about 90 miles away we had to guess and rely on the look of the water. Motoring in we had about 2-3 knots of tide against us, so slow progress but plenty of steerage way. Once inside over the bar current slackened and we could follow the marked channel across the lagoon to anchor off the village of Tenukapara.
Even though Ahe is one of the smaller atolls the lagoon feels vast inside and strange to be encircled by all the islets which comprise the rim. Strange too that night when the boat was so peaceful on the anchor, so still, no rocking or rolling, it was hard to remember when the boat had last been that quiet aboard, the San Blas Islands I think back in January.
The people in the village are super friendly. I was outside the PO and a women asked if I had any music. She rushed off for a memory card and I put a lot of reggae on it for her. She gave me a whole load of bananas.
Off to another atoll in the morning.