Fakarava and the “Wall of Sharks”
After some time on remote islands, lonely motus or a completely uninhabited atoll, Fakarava is almost busy. The island is a popular destination for divers. Especially the South Pass is famous for the many grey reef sharks (the “Wall of Sharks”). But the pass is also worth seeing beyond that. It is one of the most beautiful coral reefs I have seen so far and I think the area for good reason UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Drift snorkelling in the pass is a special experience. I could hardly get enough of it. But diving is also a special experience there.
Not far from the south pass (approx. 6nm) in the southeast of the atoll is Hirifa. A very good and popular anchorage. When I was there, there were about 20 boats in the bay. For Tuamotus, where you often anchor alone in front of a motu, this is quite a number. There is a small restaurant on the motu where you can get dinner by appointment. The bay is very well protected from the usually prevailing wind directions. It is also popular for kite or windsurfing because there are usually few waves and often good winds. The beach is also relatively nice and children from different boats play boisterously with each other there.
I probably saw more boats on Fakarava than on all the other Tuamotu islands put together. It is already an island that lives from tourism. There is regular air traffic and good internet. Nevertheless, even the largest settlement (Rotova) in the north of the island still makes a sleepy impression, although there are already some shops and restaurants here. All in all, Fakarava is a nice mixture of a developed tourist area and South Sea idyll. Nevertheless, I am already looking forward to the next island Toau – there is no airport and practically no tourists, not even a village is there, just a few scattered people living on different motus of this atoll.