We did beat the clock—the wind filled back in enough to motor sail and we made it in with what turned out to be time to spare the other afternoon. The other boats in our group were all 15+ miles behind us, so none of them were able to make the afternoon slack water and had to hold off entering overnight.
It turns out that Pacific Northwest sailing sets us up well for atoll sailing. We’ve had loads of experience with tidal passes (including nearly being sucked through one backwards when we lost our engine in little Ceilydh) so the pass at Makemo was fairly straight forward. We punched through the standing water at the mouth of the atoll (and through a big pod of frolicking dolphins that we couldn’t really take the time to enjoy…) then went full throttle to get through the pass.
Once in a group of locals waved us into the pier to tie up—so we pulled in and joined the two French boats already there. It felt a bit like a party. Maia ran around with the kids (and lamented her poor French). I tried to talk to the adults (and lamented my poor French), but gradually (with hand gestures and garbled words) we got the lay of the land.
Yesterday morning we watched Britannia and WGD arrive—then headed into town to explore the five streets. Yes, five (although I only counted four…) As we wandered we saw a kid with an armful of baguettes and asked where to find them—so she handed us one of hers, then pointed us the right way.
Pico had missed the first slack water of the day—so we were all there to watch them enter 6 hours later. They crossed the rough water to our hoots and cheers. Once everyone was settled we headed off for our first snorkel in the clear, clear water. We just explored the little reef off of town—but even there I saw fish I’ve never seen before.
As the sun set and the two French boats pulled out—our buddy boats pulled in and filled up the pier. “This is just like summer camp!” Krister told us all with a big grin, as we wandered from boat to boat and planned activities for the days ahead.
Summer Camp—Tuamotus style…