Rangiroa is an incredible place filled with black pearl farms, amazing people and some awesome snorkeling. We absolutely loved it here!
Using the Soggy Paws Guestimator we once again made it through a pass with absolutely no issues. We made it a special point to hit here at slack tide because we’d been told that the currents here are some of the worst. We chose the Tiputa Pass, the eastern one, as we wanted to anchor right inside. Even at slack tide it’s a bit rough but nothing a good sailor can’t handle. Keep a sharp eye out as the dolphin just love this pass and you may find them surfing your bow. There’s even a spot on shore where you can sit and watch the dolphin playing in the pass.
When we left we went out of Avatoru pass as we were headed towards Papeete. We left an hour or so before sunset as the Soggy Paws Guestimator indicated that was best time and we had no issues. If you look just to the west of the Avatoru pass you’ll see some boats that weren’t so lucky.
While there are a few moorings there we chose to anchor. Our anchor spot was right by the Kia Ora Resort. We anchored in 10 meters and had no issues with bommies. Our friends on SV One Fine Day anchored a bit to the east of us and also had no trouble.
There is a concrete wharf on the west side of Tiputa Pass where you can tie your dink. Be aware that the water taxis come in and out and don’t care much about their wakes. Also, if you come in at low tide your dink could get caught under the wall as the tide comes up. You may want to consider a stern anchor.
You can also pull your tender up on the beach just north of the wharf. We chose the concrete wharf but saw many using the beach as well. Note that there are Black Tip sharks swimming in the waters right around the beach as people are constantly feeding them from the restaurants on the point. We don’t really worry about them much but you should be aware that they are there.
There are several magasins on both sides of Tiputa pass where you will find the standard things….tinned foods, lots of snack foods, frozen meats and a scattering of fresh vegetables. One thing about the islands is you need to search all of the stores because you never know what you’ll find.
There are a couple of little restaurants right at the dinghy dock area but be prepared that they won’t necessarily be open when their signs say they will be. The food is almost always the same…burgers and frites (French fries), Poisson Cru and if you’re lucky some fresh Tuna. Most of the restaurants have free WiFi if you buy something.
Kia Ora Resort is a wonderful place to spend an afternoon or evening. With their huts over the water and higher end Polynesian atmosphere it’s easy to get swept away and not want to leave. We went there twice in the five days we were at Rangiroa and thoroughly enjoyed both times. Once was for sundowners and the second time we went with our friends to enjoy the Polynesian Dance Show. It was amazing! We highly recommend it!
We didn’t need fuel but understand that you can find it at Avatoru which is at the northwestern pass of the same name. You can’t dock there so you will need to get a taxi and fill up your jerry cans.
While we didn’t utilize them, there are a few dive centers located within walking and/or dinghy distance of the anchorage at Tiputa. There’s the Rangiroa Diving Center and Six Passengers Center that we saw along the way. They also do dive trips from the Kia Ora Resort but we noticed it was a bit more expensive there.
If you just want a nice snorkel we highly recommend checking out the “Aquarium”. This is an area to the west of Tiputa Pass. They have moorings their for your dinghy too. The water is crystal clear, the coral beautifully colored and alive and you will see lots of fish.
The Tuamotus are known for their black pearls and while many of the atolls have farms we found our first opportunity to really spend some time at one here in Rangiroa. We took the dinghy down to the Paul Gaughin Pearl Farm. We got quite the education and even purchased a beautiful Keshi pearl for Jilly.
Our dinghy ride from the Paul Gaughin Pearl Farm back to the anchorage.
Don’t Miss The Dolphins
If you didn’t get to see the dolphins on the way in Tiputa Pass, don’t worry, there’s actually a designated spot where you can go to watch them from shore. When we were there we went Le Dauphin Gourmand to have a few beers, some lunch and watch the dolphin play in the pass. The best time to catch them is at the changing of the tides.