George and Gel (son and girl friend) arrived in Fakarava on a Sunday and we were off Monday to Apataki as our plan was to spend a significant amount of time in Fakarava at the end of their stay.
Apataki is almost rectangular in shape and is of average size – approximately 18 by 15 miles.The primary population centre is Niutahi and has roughly 400 inhabitants. There are two primary passes in to the lagoon – Pakaka Pass near the village on the southwest corner of the atoll and Tehere Pass on the northwest corner. While Pakaka Pass is billed as the main pass, in our estimation, Tehere Pass was a better choice and was our primary means of entry. During our pre trip, we circumnavigated the lagoon on the inside but it is important to note that the lagoon is, for the most part, uncharted so you are on your own.
After passing the town and seeing its very limited appeal along with the currents and nature of Pakaka Pass, we concentrated our exploration on the northern and eastern side of the lagoon. The eastern side sports a number of pearl farms and beautiful beaches. The northern moths are charming but require settled weather and light trades as it is exposed to the south and untenable in heavy winds from that direction.
Our guide also highly recommended Assam’s Pearl Farm which was indeed a highlight and will be covered in another post.
Our first stop due to failing light was just inside the pass. Once again, slack water in the passes determines both departure and arrival times in the Tuamotus unless you want to really get the adrenalin pumping. This necessitated a late arrival at Apataki and the uncharted waters of the lagoon are no place to be wandering about in poor light.
There was time for a bit of dip off the stern.
And some time to test out our Mark 2 Boom Swing.
Dinner was fresh fish meatballs with linguini and a salad – wonderful.
And a bunch of happy campers who retired early.
Next morning it was down the coast a bit to a lovely beach for some walking, swimming and snorkeling. Most enjoyable.
But then Gel and George got conned by Debby in to a trip to the dreaded pearl farm. Finally George and Gel left Deb – they couldn’t take anymore.Kind of like the “Hotel California”, you can check out any time you like but you can never leave. We finally had to drag Deb away – pearless, kicking and screaming.
Next it was on to Assam’s place, but more about that next time.