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Tuamotus / Makemo / Pouheva
(votes: 1)
Type Anchorage
Country French Polynesia
City Pouheva
Available places 20
Max depth 10 m
  • Shops
Views: 1395

For boats

Tides and currents on Tuamotus:
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)
The atoll
Makemo is 4th biggest atoll on Tuamotus. The atoll has two passes, one on NE, near the village. This pass is well marked by buoys, and seems to be easy in most conditions. The second NW pass has a very nice protected anchorage in a little bay near a copra shed on the other side of the pass. This pas is 200m wide, no marks but easy to go.
The main village Pouheva is located close to first (NE) pass. The anchorage in front of the village could be uncomfortable or even dangerous in heavy SE-E winds and the bottom is mostly hard with many coral heads, so you either don't hold or you wrap the anchor all around the coral.
Just drop the anchor ahead of the village. It could be at position:
16 37.700S and 143 34.228W (12 m)
The bottom is sand with many corals head.

Dinghy landing
Perfect dinghy landing point is located inside the small harbour. Pass the head of the wharf to E (wharf should be on your right). No swell inside.

The wharf
It is possible to berth directly to the wharf. The main quay (it’s for supplying ship) has a depth about 6 meters. You can baerth there if the ship is not expected.
Better place to berth is inside the wharf – when you pass the main quay just on your right. The depth there is 2.3m on LW.
Both berth places are safe and protect from NE-E-SE swell and winds.

Easy lagoon to navigate with few and well visible coral heads (in good light naturally) Always watch for pearl farm buoys even far from shore. Some farms west of the village may chase you away.

Makemo is not a port of entry, no possibility to check in / out.

Not easy to buy, but ask the inhabitants (in groceries) 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.

No official tap point on the wharf. The nearest tap is located in the yard of Police office (next to right of post office). Ask about the water at Police office first. Use your own containers.

Bottles available in the shops (no all the time)

No bank, no ATM. The post office does not change US dollars or euro. A big magazine accept US dollars and change some extra if you want.

Few groceries (one bigger), church, restaurant and pizza.

For crews

No WC or shower, WiFi available on anchorage (if close to the wharf) and at the wharf. The best signal strength is near the post office.
Nice town with groceries and bread available, a hydroponics farm, infirmary, very comfortable internet access at the post office.
Meet Gerard the black pearl sculptor (unique art) and shell and ivory (whale teeth) sculptor for unique souvenirs.
I red in guide, there is a dive center run by Ludovic, a French instructor, but I did not find him.
There is a church, be there during Sunday service – nice songs.
You can buy there some jewelry  with pearls and other in souvenir shop, just behind the post office.


Anchorage - no fees
Berthing to the pier – no fees
Large pizza – 1550 CPF
Small pizza – 1000 CPF
Dinner in restaurant – 2000-2500 CPF
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