Archive For The “Pacific Ocean” Category

Tonga

Tonga

From Beveridge Reef, we ran three nights to reach Tonga and spent two weeks there touring the Vava’u Group. We enjoyed the more relaxed pace in Tonga, where the anchorages are only an hour or two’s run apart, and we’re not going to sea every time we move the boat. The real standout for us,…

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Beveridge Reef

Beveridge Reef

We stopped off for a few days at Beveridge Reef while en route to Tonga from the Society Islands in French Polynesia. Beveridge Reef is an uninhabited, but anchorable atoll, about 130 miles southeast of Niue. Perhaps one reason the atoll is unininhabited is there is no land–the entire reef is underwater, giving the feeling…

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The Society Islands

The Society Islands

The Society Islands were the third and final major island group we visited in French Polynesia. With mountainous shorelines and fringing reefs, these islands felt somewhat like a combination of the previous two groups: the Marquesas and the Tuamotus. Our first stop was in Papeete, the capitol of French Polynesia. Here we did our first…

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The Tuamotu Archipelago

The Tuamotu Archipelago

From the soaring peaks of the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia, we travelled 465 miles to the barely-above sea level Tuamotu Archipelago. Of the seventy-eight islands that make up this archipelago, all but two are coral atolls. The Tuamotos are renowned for excellent diving, and we agree: the diving there is out of this world….

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Diving Anse Amyot

Diving Anse Amyot

The Tuamotus Archipelago consists of seventy-eight islands, and all but two are coral atolls. The islands are known for amazing diving with excellent visibility and abundant fish, creature and coral life. We’ve spent two weeks here now, diving at four different atolls: Raroia, Tahanea, Fakarava and Toau. While the diving in the South Pacific is…

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Marquesas Islands

Marquesas Islands

The Marquesas Islands first showed up in version four of our planned itinerary across the South Pacific. We weren’t even going there initially, not because it wasn’t appealing, but because the islands were a long run east from Hawaii. And we decided to make it even more challenging by going to Palmyra Atoll and Fanning…

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From Hawaii to French Polynesia

From Hawaii to French Polynesia

We arrived in Baie de Taihoae on Nuku Hiva, in the Marquesas Islands of French Polynesia, 31 days and 2,550 nm after leaving Honolulu (trip log map). We had stopped at Palmyra Atoll and Fanning Islands for 11 days, for a total of 20 days at sea. We left Honolulu with 2,350 gallons of diesel…

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Fanning Island

Fanning Island

From Palmyra Atoll, we travelled 200 miles southeast to Fanning Island, another atoll in the Northern Line Group of the Line Islands. Fanning Island is part of the Republic of Kiribati, so this would be our first exit from the U.S. into another country since leaving Seattle last September, over 4,000 miles ago. The entry…

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Palmyra diving

Palmyra diving

The diving at Palmyra is incredible, with huge schools of colorful fish and extensive stands of healthy, vibrant coral. We saw Parrotfish and Surgeonfish over a foot long–much larger than we’ve seen in the past. Black-tip reef sharks were exciting to see. Fortunately, as in the shallows, they avoided us underwater and didn’t approach too…

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Palmyra Ternado

Palmyra Ternado

We were given permission to tour Strawn Island, directly west of Cooper Island (map), the only island on the actual wildlife reserve portion of Palmyra Atoll where unaccompanied public access is allowed. Several idyllic coves are along the lagoon side en route. Slightly less idyllic is the cove below right, the site where the bone’s…

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Palmyra above and below the water

Palmyra above and below the water

Amanda Pollock, the Wildlife Refuge Manager for Palmyra, had returned on-site the day before we had and invited us along on her site arrival boat survey. This was an opportunity for us to tour the East Lagoon (map), off-limits to visitors due to current at the entrance and water shallowness. The military built a causeway…

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Palmyra ashore

Palmyra ashore

We went ashore to Cooper Island the day after arriving in Palmyra for a tour of the camp and to walk the trails. The camp has several “pets”, including a tame Booby, a dog and a cat. Eric Pholman of the Nature Conservancy (left in the photo below) said the animals were grandfathered in when…

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Palmyra Arrival

Palmyra Arrival

  We arrived at Palmyra Atoll six nights after leaving Honolulu. Conditions on the run there were by far the best we’ve seen. We had the wind and current behind much of the way, and boat motion was minimal until the last night. Jennifer normally needs to wear a scopolamine patch for offshore runs, but…

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Heading to Palmyra

Heading to Palmyra

Yesterday we got our first ever outbound clearance paper, or Zarpe, leaving Honolulu bound for Fanning Island, Kiribati via Palmyra Atoll. While we’ve left the US before, so far it’s only been to Canada, where a Zarpe is not required to enter the country. But Kiribati, and most other countries we will visit over the…

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