When we came through this atoll one year ago, we were not very impressed with the greedy individuals we met in the Omaka Village. After one week we pulled out of here very disappointed. Later on, good friends of ours on Pacific Bliss advised that we needed to visit the other side of the atoll at Te Tautua Village where we would find the best people in all of Polynesia. Hard to believe given these are people only seven boat miles apart….
We arrived at 4pm last night, challenging the NE pass where we had little information for. We didn’t want to go through the pass we had transitted one year ago as we wouldn’t have enough light to make it across the atoll (to clear all of the coral heads). All our chart showed breakers at the pass – now that’s a little disconcerting! Sure enough, there were breakers! We knew locals have identified the shallows with sticks and we had a lat/long position of the one coral head in the middle of the pass – this was on land on our digital charts. We started to enter and I turned around just North and said, “I don’t like this!” There were breakers to the left of us and what looked like shallows ahead and to the right of us. Doug was sure he could see the path through so we made another loop and I white knuckled my way through. We surfed one breaker that rolled us rail to rail but Long Shot II responded to my requests beautifully. I wouldn’t let Saylor come on deck as I figured if we hit the beach, she wouldn’t end up being flung overboard! As the depth sounder read 22 ft then 11ft as the wave passed, Doug found us a path through. The light was too low to maneuver safely but we figured we would just anchor and wait. Off in the distance was the village boat coming to guide us to our anchorage – thank goodness! Thanks to Sarah Jean II who had told them of our arrival and request for a guide.
We are anchored two cables off a beautiful little palm tree lined village, in 10ft of turquoise water with a sandy bottom. The breeze is just enough to keep things cool for us and there are children laughing and playing in the water all around. Our guide who brought us here was the very good friend Pacific Bliss told us about. We offered Rio fresh Barracuda that we had just caught and he said, “No, that’s for you to enjoy. You are a guest to our island.” This is definitely not the same reception we had one year ago. Today we spent the day ashore and it was overwhelming how different it is here. Even the locals here complain about their neighbours across the way. Riley spent hours swimming the sharks all around us while we de-salted the INSIDE of the boat (a bit of a wet passage). The only thing blocking us from paradise is that Customs (from the other side of the atoll) want us to pay the $350 again to clear into Penrhyn, even though we have already done this in Rarotonga. Guess they still want their piece of the money pie, and we are hardly surprised by this. Stay tuned as this is bound to get more interesting.