Tropical depression

17’13.8S 141’59.3 W course 285′ speed 6,7

Amanu was our home for the last four days. We arrived at the pass on Tuesday morning. With no wind, we entered at daylight and as close to slack tide as possible. The pass to get into the atoll Amanu, is described to have strong currents, but at slack tide, three hours after the moons meridian passage, the current runs out the least. But the thing with these atoll’s is that they only have a tidal difference of about 50 cm, but their real current in the pass comes from the water that is washed in with big waves on the windward side. So the water running out has much to do with the wave hight, and seems to always be strong.

We made our way in, passed a little white church, where kids ran out to wave at us. Under full engine we normally do about 7/7,5 knots, going through the pass, our speed was reduced to 3,6 at a time, with reef on both sides and over falls behind and in front of us. Very spectacular.

We dropped anchor close to the village, to first introduce ourselves and see where the best places where. Here we found out about the belly button, a little knoll in the middle of the atoll, that was seen as the bellybutton of the atoll. Snorkeling was said to amazing here as there was lots of corral, a steep drop and so many big and small fishes. We also heard where the best anchor spots were and so made our plan.

We headed out to the belly button first and it was all they said. Although we could not anchor there, so we had to keep the Tecla drifting around, we did our dinghy runs to the knoll and spend over 2 hours exploring it. As I made my way back swimming together with Penny, I kept my snorkeling glasses on and was really happy I did. As we got to the steep drop I saw a massive ray floating below us. It was feeding with his mouth open and two other sucker fishes joined in looking for a good snack. Magical!

That evening we dropped anchor knowing we would spend at least two days there as the weather was about to deteriorate and strong winds were expected for Wednesday and possibly till the afternoon of Thursday. We ended up staying a little longer as we had a low pressure area pass below us, bringing 30/35 knots of wind and lots and lots of rain. Torrents of rain and even a whole morning of thunder and lightning. Our conclusion was that this was nothing short of a tropical depression, something that could turn into something way worse! We dropped a second anchor, got our foot of the proverbial gas peddle and slowed down into holiday mood! Snorkeling and exploring in the morning and presentation or small activity in the afternoon, after lunch and a nice siesta.

On Friday afternoon we picked up the anchors and moves back to the little town at the pass. We wanted to be ready at the pass because the wind was expected to turn North, uncomfortable at our old anchorage and for the morning as slack tide was around 09:30. But also because we wanted to pick up some ornaments for our cocktail evening! Blue water sailing cocktails were on the menu made with many many limes from le Gambier! And we all needed accessories to our outfits. Two local people had shown us some amazing shell necklaces and palm tree bark hats, that we needed to go back for.

Although the dinghy ride back, in a torrent of rain was very interesting, the evening was a great success!

Next morning after a slow breakfast, we picked up the anchor, headed to the pass and went through with 9,8 knots!

Once out on the ocean, we were able to sail for two hours, but then the showers came and the wind died out completely. Gijs attempted to sail again later in the evening, but the winds proved a little too light. We are heading for Makemo next, hoping to arrive in the afternoon.

All well on board, Jet


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