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Tuamotus / Manihi / Paeua
(votes: 1)
Type Anchorage
Country French Polynesia
City Manihi
Available places 10
Max depth 10 m
  • Water
  • WiFi
  • Laundry machines
  • Shops
Views: 1353

For boats

General about tides and currents on Tuamotus:
The majority of the atolls have at least one break in the reef called pass. 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 strong 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 many 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 pass 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 are 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 works, not very precise but it does.
So, there is no easy way to predict current or slack water in passes, but you can follow this tips:
  1. Slack is about 1-2 hrs after HW and LW
  2. Never sail through the pass during the night
  3. Observe the water and waves in the pass when approaching from the see by binoculars
  4. 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 and the pass
Manihi is almost most north atoll on Tuamotus. The atoll has one pass located on SW. It’s quite narrow and shallow. The shallows depth is about 2.5m on LW. The pass is well marked – first by green and red buoys then by North Cardinal Mark.
If you send an email to Xavier Michel (xavier.michel@mail.pf), who runs the Sailmail station
here, he will send you tide info.
When approaching to the pass you can follow this route:
  1. 14 27.637S and 146 03.742W
  2. 14 27.452S and 146 03.612W
  3. 14 27.352S and 146 03.538W
  4. 14 27.252S and 146 03.486W
  5. 14 27.195S and 146 03.435W
The shallowest place is between 3 and 4.
The main village Paeua is just on the right (E) from the pass, but you have to approach there around North Cardinal Mark.
If you prefer to have someone lead you through the pass, "Fernando" will do so if he is available. You can call "Fernando" on VHF 16 (or 08). He works at the airport, so if there's a plane coming in at the same time, he may not be available. There is a charge for this service. His price list says 2500 XPF (about $25 US) per boat to bring you through the pass and another 2500 to escort you to the anchorage. That price may be negotiable.
Anchorage near the village is rough and open for NE-E winds. The bottom is coral and the depth about 20 meters. It could be at position:
14 27.531S and 146 03.290W (20M)
Better, more quiet but far from the village anchorage is located:
14 27.805S and 146 03.031W with depth about 10m and sandy bottom. Unfortunately distance to the village is about 1NM.
There is a place for many boats.
Dinghy landing
The best place for dinghy landing is inside the small harbour
14 27.541S and 146 03.433W
You can tie and leave dinghy there.
The wharf and harbour
In emergency it is possible to berth directly inside the small concrete harbour. If you can, ask for permission in Mairie (Town Hall) first, which is near the harbour The approach to the basin is 4 meters deep, keep going in the middle. Inside the basin moor to the quay on the left (most north - 14 27.532S and 146 03.435). There is usually an aluminum floating platform, you can moor to it. Other option is to drop the anchor from your stern and moor bow to the quay. Near the quay is very shallow, berthing stern could be danger for your rudder.
The second big wharf is in the pass. But is reserved for supply ships. There is a strong (up to 4kn) current. It’s possible to berth there, but ask in Mairie (Town Hall) first.
The passage from SW to NW and vice versa is pretty easy. Follow the green, red and cardinal marks, close to the shore. But BE CAREFUL, there is some coral heads. Keep a sharp look all the time. There are many places to anchor on the lee side of the east side of Manihi coast.
Manihi is not a port of entry, no possibility to check in or out.
Fernando is the man who likes sailors and is very helpful for us. His house is near the shore between the harbour and the pass. It’s a white house with large window with price list in it. He speaks English, bakes a baguette every morning, can supply with fresh water, share own WiFi. Any question? Visit him and just ask. – very helpful.
Not easy to buy, but ask Fernando. The easiest way is to buy fuel directly from the supply ship (coming 2 times per month). They sell fuel in 200l barrels only.
No official tap point on the wharf. Ask Fernando, he can share own good quality water directly from his bakery. Use your own containers.
Bottles available in the shops (not all the time)
No bank, no ATM. Payment in US dollars is rather not accepted.
The town has few shops, the biggest one is 100m from the harbour. Limited products, especially vegetables and fruits.
Few churches, bars, and home made food. You can make laundry by yourself, at Fernando’s house. Cost 1000 CPF. Ask Fernando.
Airport is located on the other island, 2NM from the village. To get there you have to get a ride by boat. Ask locals.

For crews

No WC or shower on shore.  
Paeua is a very pleasant village. It is big enough to have some roads, a couple of eateries, groceries and its own bakery.
Manihi was known as the biggest  pear factory on Polynesia. Many farms was closed because of disease of shells. But some of them are still working. If you want to buy some pearls or visit pearl farm ask Fernando or Xavier.
On one of the island few miles away E from the village live Mr. Xavier Michel, who provide private radio station SailMail. He also offer for sailors many free services: information about tide, sea level and current report, weather forecast etc. on e-mail, he can help in booking pearl farm visiting, taxi boating, Tahitian meal, water and diesel. Contact: Xavier.michel@mail.pf
The real attraction at Manihi are the people. Talk to them, enjoy the time spent together.
Snorkeling or diving in the pass is main attraction here, but do it only on incoming current. There is one diving company without the office, if you want to dive with them ask Fernando. Cost for one dive 7500 CPF (75USD).
WiFi: there is a WiFi (available at anchorage), name ViniSPOT, but it’s not free and rather qu slow. One hour cost about 4EUR, 20hrs – 40 EUR (payment via internet with credit card). In 2016 the system worked wrong and with 1hr credit you can surf all the time. You can use WiFi at Fernandos house. Just go there and ask.
There is a church, be there during Sunday service – nice songs.


Anchorage - no fees
Berthing to the pier – no fees
WiFi at Fernando house – no fees
Laundry 1000 CPF per one load (8kg)
Visiting Pearl Farm 2500 CPF per person (one pearl gratis)
One dive – 7500 CPF
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