We land at Ile Kouaku after scouting out and passing on two other anchorages. After we left Ile Makaroa we swung by two other small islands to see if we could find another “new to us” anchorage. Ile Kamaka was the first stop. This is supposedly the best anchoring spot in the “rocks.” The rocks are made up of three islands (Ile Makaroa, Ile Kamaka and Ile Manui). However, by the time we got the floats and anchor up we noticed two other boats heading in that direction. Drat, people!
We did a drive by and did not feel comfortable squeezing our large catamaran between two monohulls in this small anchoring area. We will have to return as it looked like a lovely spot to spend a few days. Next, we passed by Ile Manui and could not see any suitable anchoring areas. So, we continued onward. Next, we looked at is a small island called Ile Kouaku.
Ile Kouaku is located in the far southeast corner of the Gambier archipelago. It is actually pretty close to one of the three passes that allow cruisers (like us) to enter into the archipelago. Not many cruisers visit this island because it is so remote and distant from the main island of Mangareva.
Kouaku’s Sandy Spit
Kouaku is a small sandy spit surrounded by a reef inside a reef. We maneuvered around several bommies and found a lovely sandy spot between two huge coral bommies. This is a shot of Kouaku that we took from the top of the mountain at Akamaru.
I jumped in the water to check the distance between our boat and the tallest point of the coral heads. The waves create murky water, however it was still beautiful. The coral right in front of the beautiful island of Kouaku is extremely healthy .
The water is stunning and Kouaku actually has beautiful, soft sand on the beach (as opposed to broken coral and shells).
Exploring Ile Kouaku Onshore
Matt and I took the paddle boards to shore to explore this little island. Gorgeous, soft sand covers the leeward side (the lagoon side). It is a rare treat to have sand on the shores as most islands. Broken corals, shells, and rocks cover most motus. On the windward side there are large rocks which make it super challenging to walk on.
Ile Kouaku has lots of beautiful birds and has become a bird refuge. White Terns, Red Foot Boobies and Herald Petrel nest here. Not sure they were wild about us visiting their home.
This island provided a bounty of beautiful photo opportunities
I went snorkeling with our friends on Pitufa near the south side of the island. Again, surprised at the healthy coral all around us.
Here are some beautiful rainbow shots that I captured after a squall. They were too pretty to lump into a collage.