For a reason that I still don't fully understand, we transited our first ever Tuamotu pass into Hao with a very strong ebbing current and significant standing waves at the exit of the pass. The pics show the measured current (big red arrows) on the chart and a stripchart recorder (look at the bottom chart, labeled drift) to see that we had an average current of 7.4 knots against for almost 10 minutes. At that point it was hard to make much headway and we actually backing into two standing waves, flooding the cockpit and sending some water down the companionway as we hadn't thought to put the dropboard in place. Luckily we have a big boat with a very powerful motor. The water in the lagoon is apparently quite high today because of the 3 days of 15-20 knot easterlies which are creating waves big enough to crash over the reef, filling up the lagoon. We still don't know when low tide was, but are pretty sure that if we had waited a few hours it would have been a much more reasonable time to go through the pass.
In the end all was fine, we even caught a tarpon fish on our way in (we left only the hand line out knowing that if we caught a fish on that one, we could just ignore it unlike the rod and reel that would start paying out 100's of yards of line. We cleaned the bolon sole covers and the sole panels to get rid of all the salt and now have a very clean boat.
We headed into town and were immediately picked up by a very nice lady named Cammile who is a special ed teacher at the school here. She gave us a tour, had us over for cold drinks, and then invited us to join her for dinner and internet usage at her house tonight which we can't refuse. Everyone here has been amazingly nice and friendly. There are quite a lot of people here and a ton of kids playing around town.
We aren't too sure how long we will stay, but may break out the bikes tomorrow morning to take a tour of the island and head to the southern end. The island is only about 3 blocks wide and flat as a board. Should be an enjoyable ride.
More soon, I promise.