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Thread: Amanu - a taste of the Tuamotus

  1. #1

    Default Amanu - a taste of the Tuamotus

    Occasionally, you stumble onto something special - usually in the places least visited by other yachts. For us, this has been Amanu - an atoll in the Tuamotus. Usually only visited by 5 boats a year, when we arrived we brought the number up to 10 at the same time! Mostly because there had been a lot of us in Gambiers this year, leaving within a few days of each other because of weather.

    We arrived at low water, but due to wind there was no slack current in the pass - we had to wait a few hours before we could attempt entry. We punted-and-drifted outside the pass catching up on laundry etc. Then about 3hours after low tide we punched in against 4knots. The pass has a dog-leg at the end, easily seen.



    We anchored in the main safe anchorage which is a little way from the village and next day we went ashore. The other boats that were already there told us the Mayor had invited us all to a lunch, so the cruisers took dessert whilst they provided freshly caught fish and coconut savories. It was a very pleasant welcome to what turned out to be an incredibly friendly people. One local, Moana, joined another boat and us to explore the island. Here's a co-incidence - the other boat (Stellar Polaris) is owned by Andreas, former Fastcat owner and particpant on this forum - but he's back on monohulls for now. We had a great time with them. Moana joined them and we both headed to the Navel - a star shaped reef in the middle of the atoll. Local tradition says you have not arrived in Amanu unless you have visited the navel.



    From there, we went up to the northern pass, which is too shallow to use for boats. After a dinner onboard Stellar Polaris of freshly speargunned fish bbq-ed to perfection - we piled into dinghies and went as far along the pass as we could, before jumping out to walk the outside of the reef looking for lobster. The sea was a bit too high to find any but we had fun, and know the technique now!

    Next morning, I snorkled the pass with Andreas and Maggie - and saw a 2m grey shark - biggest yet. Then we headed to the northern end of the atoll - what a glorious spot!



    Moana took us ashore to meet some of his buddies and we had fresh coconuts harvested from the tree and opened. A truly idyllic lifestyle they have - as they have no ciguatera in the atoll, they can fish for food and have coconuts for the rest!

    At this point, the weather picked up and as it was our last night, we headed into the small harbour for the night. The entrance is 8m wide and we're a bit over 7m, so this was quite tight with 20knots on the beam:



    However, once in, it was a calm tranquil spot for the night - as long as the wind didn't shift as there wasn't room to swing 180degrees!



    We'd been invited to join Moana and his wife, a local school teacher - along with the principle teacher and her family for a goodbye meal. It was just us and a couple who were leaving Stellar Polaris to return back to Norway. We had a great time with BBQed Unicorn fish, poison-cru and more coconut goodies. We provided some beer and a great time was had. The mayor came along to wish us fair winds and we were gifted some exquisite shell necklaces. The welcome at Amanu was nothing short of incredible - and it will be hard to top this elsehwere in the south pacific!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Too far north to be comfortable.
    Posts
    120

    Default Re: Amanu - a taste of the Tuamotus

    Lovely write-up, thank you.

    Paul.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Gosport
    Posts
    336

    Default Re: Amanu - a taste of the Tuamotus

    Looks fantastic - bit different to Gosport !

  4. #4

    Default Re: Amanu - a taste of the Tuamotus

    We're now in Fakarava, and the number of sharks in the south pass is incredible! Reminds me of Gosport on a Saturday night...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Santa Barbara, Calif.
    Posts
    542

    Default Re: Amanu - a taste of the Tuamotus

    Thanks for the story and the photos. Keep 'em coming!

  6. #6

    Default Re: Amanu - a taste of the Tuamotus

    Quote Originally Posted by rickp View Post
    We're now in Fakarava, and the number of sharks in the south pass is incredible! Reminds me of Gosport on a Saturday night...
    If you dive, do a drift dive through the big pass in the north. You will need to use one of the schools as it requires being dropped into the blue (30m) on the outside and drifting with the incoming tide through the pass. There was a wall of about 200+ sharks that opened to let us through and then closed behind us. There are also swordfish that wait by the coral heads just inside the entrance. Fantastic.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Amanu - a taste of the Tuamotus

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter View Post
    If you dive, do a drift dive through the big pass in the north. You will need to use one of the schools as it requires being dropped into the blue (30m) on the outside and drifting with the incoming tide through the pass. There was a wall of about 200+ sharks that opened to let us through and then closed behind us. There are also swordfish that wait by the coral heads just inside the entrance. Fantastic.
    Doesn't sound that different to the south pass, to be honest. We'll be back down at the south end for the grouper spawning....

  8. #8

    Default Re: Amanu - a taste of the Tuamotus

    Quote Originally Posted by rickp View Post
    Doesn't sound that different to the south pass, to be honest. We'll be back down at the south end for the grouper spawning....
    We dived both and the sheer scale of the northern pass wins hands down. It is the largest pass in the whole of French Polynesia.

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