Beetle is north on Rotoava, calm weather

Good morning – yesterday was a much more pleasant trip up the eastern channel in Fakarava; I got an early start with good visibility, and this time I a) had my first track to follow and b) I knew what to look for in the water – vast improvement over the first time as I could travel more quickly and I had better angles on the sun. The goal was to stop at Pokokota Yacht Services two thirds of the way up the channel. When I got there I found that the anchorage is a narrow shelf that was occupied with boats, and then the depths fell quickly to 65 to 90′, deeper than I wanted to anchor in. So I skipped that and headed along to Rotoava.

On the way around the corner that you clear when exiting the channel I called over to Avatar on the VHF and Steve on Liward (not Leeward, he spells the boat name differently) popped up and said there was a mooring ball next to him in front of the church – so come on over. I did, and he even hopped in his dinghy and helped pass the mooring lines through the spliced mooring eye on the float – that made tying up oh so simple.

Ashika is here from Nuku Hiva, they were there for 60 days (of their 90 day visa) they are here now and feeling a bit rushed as they need to clear the country in the next month. I gave them a copy of my satellite Google Earth images georeferenced for use in their charting software (Open CPN is what they are running, I believe), and I’m working exporting the marks I’ve added that locate the reefy bits in the lagoon. That should speed things up for them a bit.

Then I popped over to shore, hit the store to get some beer, soda, and fresh baguettes! Then I went back and delivered two baguettes to Ashika.

About this time Avatar said that the weather looked really good for a run across to the Blue Lagoon at the NW corner of the atoll. This is that place that nobody on the net had been to yet, so it sort of feels like unexplored territory – and when I asked after that it caught Mike and Shelly’s fancy to see what that was all about. Yesterday afternoon they ran Avatar over there and actually found the small motu with the single palm tree on it (as per instructions from Stephanie at Fakarava Yacht Services) and anchored behind it. Shelly and I talked on the VHF last night and if conditions are good I’m going to run my dinghy over this morning and do some exploring with them.

As of this morning it’s very calm here, no squalls, and I’m on for running Beetle’s dinghy over. With the VHF radio and a big boat (Avatar) already there, the 10 mile run across the lagoon looks like fun (and safe in case of breakdown).

That’s what’s up here, will run across the lagoon and be back in the afternoon. Should be 45 minutes or so to get across on plane provided the water stays flat. And I’m bringing some beer with me to share with Mike & Shelly, we can keep it cold in their fridge while we’re out exploring the NW corner of the atoll.

Enjoy the day! I need to go get organized with the dinghy, extra fuel, radio, etc. plus take my snorkeling gear, sun screen, hat – hope it all fits in the dinghy. I don’t often go on long trips with the dinghy, this will be fun! I will catch up on internet stuff tomorrow (Wednesday), having this light NE wind and Avatar’s company is too good to pass up.

– rob

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