Bonobo: stopover at Hao

Bonobo spent a year in the Gambiers. Nadine and Marc have written to us from the Tuamotus.

We were approaching Amanu, a bit early for the low tide. Here, the cruising sailor must get to know the passes. A lagoon fills and empties, following the cycle of the tides. It also fills with a strong swell which enters the lagoon and increases the height of the water. The current is therefore continually ebbing. The rain didn’t allow us to see the pass, just 500 meters ahead of us. The next low tide was at 6 pm, and it would be dark. The decision was made at once: helm hard to port, and head for Hao.
We arrived at just the right time; Bonobo had excelled itself – 15 miles in two hours and seven minutes! The bore was already forming and was impressive. We maneuvered a touch to the left of the center of the pass, where the current seemed to be weaker. The chart showed 3.5 meters still at this spot – it should be ok. Bonobo reared up, spun, headed right then left, beads of sweat broke out on the helmswoman’s face. The skipper checked the instruments, the engine revs, the speed, then ran back to the bows to check that there were no obstacles in our way, as we were way out of the channel. Our speed dropped from 6.5 to 2 knots, then 2.5 knots, we were picking up speed again, 3 knots, we passed a first red buoy, 3.5, 4 knots, fighting the current, then finally turning to port to follow our route towards the harbor basin. Phew and phew again, we were sheltered. We sailed along the motus inside the lagoon for several miles, and passed the airport, with its impressively long runway, where even Concorde had once landed. It had also served as an emergency runway for the space shuttle.

Boat: Méta Cat Flotteur 42
Who: Nadine & Marc
Where: Hao, Tuamotus, French Polynesia

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