Big atolls

We usually avoid big atolls, because when the wind shifts you suddenly have a few dozen miles of fetch ahead and getting to the protected side in nasty weathers means hours of motoring against the wind. Fakarava is more than 30 miles long and doesn’t offer many protected corners (no protruding reefs to hide behind). Its attraction is the South pass where hundreds of Grey Reef Sharks hang out, so we picked up a mooring next to the pass and snorkeled it a few times, but last night the dreaded wind shift came At 2 o’clock the wind turned to the north, picked up and soon Pitufa was bouncing in the choppy waves. Fortunately we didn’t see more than 15 knots of wind, but it was still uncomfy, so we headed up to the old village of Hirifa further north, where the reef bends into a corner that offers better protection.

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