Navigational AIDS, a must have in French Polynesia

Navigation at its most extreme in these parts. There are no paper charts, no depth soundings and no navigational marks in sailing apps such as Navionics. In and aound all these atolls, you can see coral heads or “bommies” as they are called out here in Polynesian waters. You can clearly see the coral heads all about.

We use downloaded files called OpenCPN and of course our eyes. Satélite imagery is the key to sailing in some of the most remote places in the world. This location was inside the east side of Rangiroa, French Polynesia. Cruisers rarely, if ever, traveled these atolls until satélite imagery was married to GPS positioning.
We travel areas like this only when the sun is at its highest so we can see the coral heads and white reefs. If it’s an overcast day, it’s a no go. Thank you friends on Fundango for the drone shots. Sea Bella will be getting her own drone later this year.

When we go exploring about in the dingy, we both are on a keen look out for these bommies, but also for the shallow waters and sand bars that are in front of the Motu inner islands. The outboard motor can be lifter into 3 different positions, when at its highest working position we draw about a foot. This is when one of us gets out to walk ashore.

We had shorty wetsuits for our long afternoon of snorkeling.
4th of July beach party, Fakarava.