It was time for us to leave the beautiful atoll of Tahanea to make our way toward Fakarava. Matt and I decided to sail the 9+ miles back to the pass. It was a lovely morning, nice breeze, calm seas. We hoisted our parasail and enjoyed the 2-hour sail. It’s sailing like this that make me just love sailing! Of course, we are inside the lagoon and not in true “sea conditions” but none the less it was spectacular.
A mile out from the pass we doused the sail and prepared for anchoring. We noticed dark, foreboding clouds in the distance so we got to anchoring rather quickly. A torrential down pour and 25kt winds came upon us just as we dropped the hook and secured the sail. Talk about good timing.
Conditions were rough. The swell was 1.5 – 2 meters inside the anchorage. It is a good thing we only stayed here for a few hours as we waited for slack tide to exit the pass. It is only 59nm to Fakarava South Pass which would normally take us about 10 hours. But we could not time our departure at slack tide with our arrival at slack tide properly so we just left early during daylight hours.
It was a chore to try to slow the boat down. We had both the main and jib double reefed the entire way and we were still making 5kts. So, we reefed some more and slowed down to 3-4kts. We still arrived at the wee hours of the morning and had to bob around waiting for slack tide and the sun to wake up. We entered with no problems as the sun welcomed us to Fakarava.
Fakarava Hirifa Anchorage
We have only been to the Hirifa Anchorage once and were not able to leave the boat due to poor sea conditions. So, it was fabulous to explore the beaches with new and old friends. At the end of the beach is an eatery called Hirifa Café which was closed. But they did have a plethora of baby animals running around. About 12-15 piglets, kittens and puppies.
Matt and I decided to head to N Fakarava to get some provisions and beer. We were low on everything as we have not provisioned in over 6+ weeks (out of sugar, flour, eggs, fresh fruit and veg) and beer. Fakarava is a long atoll and N Faka is about 30nm from S Faka.
Matt wanted to test out our newly repaired spinnaker. He repaired the clew (lower right corner) and along the bottom. If you look closely you will see another repair at the top. She’s been a good sail, with lots of repairs, but what can you say when she is over 20 years old!
The sail is primarily used for light winds coming from behind the boat (downwind at 180°). However our winds were wonky and came from 60°-180°). Technically we should not have been able to sail once the winds hit 90° but damned if we did not make it work. Fakarava at NoForeignLand.com.
FAKARAVA NORTH – MAIN VILLAGE
The last time we visited Faka N most everything was closed. However, now everything is open and it is a wonderland! We had our first dinner out in 9 months at a lovely, family owned place called Hirinaki Lounge and it was marvelous! This place was so beautiful with drift wood art, sea shells and local wood floors. Open air concept and super tasty food and drinks!
The Phare de Topaka lighthouse is one of the oldest in Polynesia at nearly 100 years old. It is built from giant slabs of coral limestone rock and stands on the ocean side of Fakarava atoll. It stands 14 meters high (45’ tall) and is surrounded by beautiful palm trees. You can see this immense structure from anywhere in the North Fakarava anchorage. It is an incredibly unusual style with ten terraces made of stones, coral, and cement. Built in 1957 under the direction of a woman, Mrs. Taui Degage.
Originally, the lighthouse served as a landmark for fishermen and pleasure boats day and night. Today, it is no longer active or in use because other more modern models have replaced it. It is likely to be demolished as it is in the protection zone of the airport.
Matt and I made haste and went to visit this monument that will most likely be torn down soon. But we took the long way around. We crossed over to the windward side of the atoll to do some shelling and took a long leisurely walk to the lighthouse, 2.8miles away.
Along the way we found a small monument which believe is a tombstone. The lighthouse was immense and truly an oddity in its surroundings.
A Round of Celebrations
Our friends, Josh and Rachel met up with us in N. Faka. They were entertaining Jack (Rachel’s dad). We had two fabulous meals! We took them back to Hirinaki Lounge.
The food was just as amazing as we remembered. I got the mahi grill and Matt got poison cru (their version of ceviche).
The next day we headed to https://www.havaiki.com/Pearl Havaiki Lodge for lunch and some water time! They have several concrete tables in the shallows of the water where you can sit and enjoy a tasty drink while under the hatch roof. It is a beautiful property with lots of art and funny statues.
We took full advantage of the lovely setting and cold drinks! Josh, Rachel, Jack, Matt and I.
They had these fun red chairs at the end of the dock that were calling to us!
Fakarava always seems to surprise me. Great internet, new, tasty eateries, decent provisioning, and great people.
Events from this blog post occurred during the end of May, 2021 – early June, 2021. Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind our adventures.