Puaumu is truly a small piece of paradise. This little motu is located on the north end of the Gambier archipelago. It is a private island owned by two families. One is a friend of ours, Stephan and Manu. Nobody lives here permanently, but the owners and their families do camp out for long weekends and holidays.
For some reason, cruisers don’t tend to come this far north so we often find ourselves alone in this beautiful, serene anchorage. Matt and I are able to cozy up to shore in between the large bommies. Monohulls have to stay out in the deeper water as they have a long draft whereas we have a shallow draft at just over 1 meter.
Exploring the Motus
Matt and walk around the entire island which is a whopping 1nm. It is not the distance but the terrain that make this fun. The leeward side of the island is nice beach or small coral making it super easy to walk on during low tide. However, the windward side of the island is covered in dead coral, large rocks, and debris making it a bit of a challenge to traverse.
We try to walk the island during each of the different tides. When it is low tide you can walk along the water’s edge and find lots of sea treasures that wash ashore. During medium tide you are a little higher on the coral shelf and high tide forces you up on the top of the coral shelf. Always something new to be seen and found.
There are about a half dozen smaller motus south of Puaumu and two fairly large motus to the NW of the island. As you might recall, Gambier is one large archipelago which has motus and small islands all around its outer edge that separate the inside lagoon from the Pacific Ocean.
The red arrow is Sugar Shack located at Puaumu. The two larger motus are on the top of the screen and the smaller motus are the light-yellow marks below Puaumu. They are so small that they don’t have names. It means that in a few decades they will be gone as they are slowly sinking into the sea.
Exploring by SUP
We are able to paddle board to a few of the smaller motus on calm days. But the two larger ones to the NW of us require a little dinghy ride as they are about 1.5nm away.
These two motus are called Tepapuri and Teauaone. Say those three times fast.
Matt and I walk around the entire motu which was about 3.5 miles over several different types of terrain ranging from sand, to small pebbles and shells, to rocks and large dead coral.
Coming around the corner of the motu sat this lone tree awaiting the rise of high tide.
A Few Good Finds
Matt found a long rope and decided to bring it back with us to make a tree swing. It was super heavy.
I found the best treasure of all! It is a glass pearl float. Back in the old age (not sure how long ago, but it was a very long time ago), fisherman used glass floats. Now they are hard plastic which is far more durable. I am trying to talk Matt into letting me keep it so I can add it to my garden when we find ourselves on land. Check out our next blog with more on this glass float.
We decided to take Sweetie to the edge of the reef, after we circumnavigated the motu. As we got closer, Matt had to walk the dinghy in as it was too shallow to use our outboard. We secured Sweetie and then walked to the breaking waves where they were so clear you could see the reflection of the reef below in the curl of the wave.
We were rewarded with a beautiful rainbow after a rain shower.
Puaumu’s beauty has no limits. I love that the water inside the lagoon is so vastly different from the water outside.
Events from this blog post occurred during March 2021. Our blog posts run 8 weeks behind our adventures.