Location: Huahine, French Polynesia
After beautiful Moorea our next stop was Huahine. Just over eighty nautical miles away. Close enough to contemplate a day-time passage if you have a fast boat. Tanda Malaika set off at first light but unfortunately did not make it in before dark. After the sun set they collided with the reef at the southern tip of Huahine. The Navionics SonarCharts were wrong. The reef, visible in the regular setting of Navionics, disappeared when switched to the Sonar charts. At night the breaking waves are invisible until it is too late. Sadly all of these factors saw Tanda Malaika run into the reef in the dark.
Needless to say, we opted to for a safe and slow overnight passage to put us into Huahine in daylight. With just the genoa up, we were on alert. Alert to all the dangers we face out here on this big blue ocean.
We’ve seen it twice now on our travels through the south pacific; Cruisers colliding with reefs in the middle of the night. Under full sail. Under the assumption that charts are accurate. It’s awful and heartbreaking. Dreams destroyed in seconds by a violent collision with a reef. Every time the results are complete and total destruction. Rudders ripped off. Sail drives sheared. Keels pushed up through hull. Life trajectories altered permanently.
It sends shivers through our spines seeing these wrecks. It could easily have been us. Sometimes it’s as simple as not zooming in far enough on a map. Other times it’s trusting one map over the other. Our hearts go out to the crew of Tanda Malaika.
Dangers aside, Huahine has beautiful crystal clear waters and is well protected all the way around by that “barrier reef”. A very nice feature if you are planning an epic dinghy ride. Follow along on this epic tour of Huahine from crystal clear lagoon waters to blue-eyed river eels to the tragic shipwreck of Tanda Malaika.
Drone shots captured with the DJI Mavic: