The center of town. The airstrip is a 10-minute walk to the left, the pearl farm a 10-minute walk to the right.

 Thurs 19 May – We’re now anchored in front of the only town on Raroia, called Ngarumaoa, on the west side of the atoll and on the other side of the lagoon. This would put us on a lee shore in strong (say, 20 knots or more) trade winds, which here blow from the E or SE.

Being on a lee shore (having dry land or reefs or rocks or other sailing hazards close behind you and strong wind and waves on your bow, trying to push you onto the hazard) isn’t good anchoring practice in any case; here the situation is compounded by the presence of bommies (coral heads). In other words, if conditions deteriorate and you have to get your anchor up in a hurry and get out of danger, you could find yourself trapped, with your anchor chain wrapped around or caught under a bommie and no or very limited ability to maneuver and free up the chain.

But for us, no problem. The wind is backing around the compass and when it settles in the E or SE is only 15 knots at most.

Reggie’s place. His magasin isn’t the large building with the sloping roof, it’s hidden behind the boxy little structure to the right of center. The spindly-looking rack to the left of center is a little lift with a short dock attached, for pulling a 15- or 20-ft motorboat out of the water.

Went ashore yesterday and walked around the tiny town, population perhaps 200. Met Régis (“Reggie”), who owns one of the magasins (small grocery stores) and seems a bit of a wheeler-dealer. No beer – the supply ship hasn’t been here in at least a week, so many shelves are bare – but we did buy a couple of matchbox-fuls of pakalolo, Marquesan grown, 4000 CFP, about US$38, each. Small matchboxes, not US kitchen-match sized. Quality so-so, but reasonably effective.




Reggie was a bit drunk but was very friendly and convivial; he treated us each to a Tabu, a tequila-and-lemon-scented Tahitian beer, not half bad actually, and we hung out on the beach in front of his house with him and a few dogs and two or three of his buddies. Very pleasant, the more so that we didn’t stay overly long.

Then we walked up to the other end of town (which took perhaps 15 minutes, walking slowly), to the pearl farm there, where there is also a magasin. Out of beer. Hung out there for a little while chit-chatting with other cruisers who drifted in. More about pearls and pearl farming in a later post (I’m looking for the photos I took).


Yaay — the supply ship is in! A red-letter day, and a foreshadowing of partying to happen in the evening.

Scuttlebutt around town is that the supply ship, which normally comes in on Thursdays, won’t be here until Saturday. Also, the plane that usually comes in (yes, there’s an airstrip here) on Thursdays won’t be here ‘til Saturday, if it arrives even then. Air Tahiti is on strike, for the first time in seven years, so services are greatly curtailed for the time being.  [Later: the Medevac plane is still flying — it had to come in and evacuate a seriously ill or injured resident.]

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