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Tuamotus / Raroia / Ngarumaoa
(votes: 1)
Rate:
Type Anchorage
Country French Polynesia
City Ngarumaoa
Available places 10
Max depth 15 m
Facilities:
  • Shops
Views: 585

For boats

Raroia is an atoll located about 450 miles SSW from Marquesas, and it is often a first landfall
for boats from the there. It is about 49 miles north of Makemo and 5 miles SW of Takume.
 
This is the atoll that the raft Kon Tiki finished epic voyage from South America in 1947.
 
There is a one small village (about 200 people) located 2NM SW from the passage. It is on the leeward side of the atoll, with not much protection from prevailing East winds. If there is a strong NE-E-SE wind (more than 20kn) anchorage could be uncomfortable.
 
The passage is well marked with leading lights. But the outgoing current could be stronk (5 and more knots).
 
Tides and currents:
 
The majority of the atolls have at least one break in the reef called passes. But only some passes are wide and deep enough to permit a cruising sailboat to enter through them.
 
The current runs strong in and out of these passes. How much is current depends on a lot of
factors including the moon cycle, wind and wave conditions outside, how big the atoll is, how
narrow the pass is, which way the pass faces, and how much passes atoll has.
 
If the wind opposes the current, there can be large standing waves. And if there are strong
winds or large swell, there can be as much as 8 knots of current. So it is always best to aim to enter the passes at slack or near-slack tide.
 
Some passes are east-facing, and these passes will be dicey on the outgoing current. Some
passes are west-facing, and these passes will most dicey on the incoming current.
 
Entering / leaving the atolls become danger when:
 
1. A strong wind opposing a strong current. This is just classic wind-against-sea and can
always produce uncomfortable and/or dangerous conditions. It is best to try to plan
your arrival at an unknown pass in mild conditions and in good light.
2. When the wind is blowing hard (over 20 knots) out of the SE thru West
3. When the wave heights are high (over 1.5 meters) from the SE thru West.
 
Strong winds and/or waves from East push a large volume of water over the reef into the lagoon, and the only way for this huge volume of water to get out is through the pass. In this conditions (strong wind for several days) there may be NO SLACK AT ALL.
 
In  Tidal Tables or any other Tide software or information available in internet on Tuamotus there is only few points with information about HW and LW (the biggest atolls). If you are between them you can use a simple interpolation to calculate HW and LW time. It is works, not very precise but it is.
 
So, there is no easy way to predict current or slack water in passes, but you can follow this tips:
 
  1. Never sail through the pass during the night
  2. Observe the water and waves in the pass by binoculars
  3. Just try to enter / leave, but If the current is to strong go back and wait until condition will change (usually 2-3 hours)
 
Anchorage
 
Just drop the anchor ahead of the village. It could be at position:
 
16 02.500S and 142 28.265W (12 m)
or
16 02.3247 S and 142 28.1840 W (15m)
 
The bottom is sand and some corals, anchor keep good.
 
Dinghy landing
 
Perfect dinghy landing point is located inside the small harbour. Pass the head of the wharf to S (wharf should be on your right). No swell inside, low quay.
 
The wharf
 
It is possible to berth directly to the wharf inside the harbour. The depth on approach and along the inside part of the wharf is about 2.5 meters (on LW). Take care on approach and keep close to the wharf, there is some rocks on the left then turn hard right and moor to inside pier (see chart in section Photos)
 
The outside part of the wharf (visible from the lagoon) is also available if they do not expect a supply ship, but berthing there is more danger if swell or waves coming.
 
Formalities:
 
Raroia is not a port of entry, no possibility to check in / out.
 
Fuel
 
Not easy to buy, but ask the inhabitants if you really need it. The easiest way is to buy fuel directly from the supply ship (coming 1-2 times per month). They sell fuel in 200l barrels only.
 
Water
 
No official tap point. Ask the inhabitants. We take some water from the owner of the shop close to the airport. He also organize a transport to the wharf by quad.
 
Gas
 
Bottles available in the shop close to airport (no all the time)
 
Other:
 
3 groceries, church

For crews

No WC or shower, no WiFi.
 
The people are very friendly. Some speaks English (wow). We spent many time in front of the shop (this located in the middle of village) with locals. Some beers and coca-cola and long nice talking.
 
There is a church, be there during Sunday service – nice songs.
 
You can buy there some pearls – just ask locals, but they want a lot of many, better is to make a change for shoes, clothes, sun glasses etc.

Fees

no fees for anchorageno fees for berthing to the wharf
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