As in Raroia, we reached Fakarava at exactly the right time - slack water - and we sailed through the pass into the enormous lagoon (30x50 miles). We were happy to see other masts in the anchorage and a good stretch of coral free water to drop anchor in. Then it was my turn to inspect the damage to Kika's hull - something I had been absolutely dreading. I was astonished to find only superficial, localised scratches rather like the scrapes you make accidentally when you're preparing the hull for anti-fouling and get a little too enthusiastic with the scraper (or am I the only person that does that?). I can't believe that after all the sickening scraping noises, and the violent series of impacts we suffered on the coral this is the result. I feel a bit of a fraud and can only assume that the coral came off much worse.
Kika is certainly living up to her reputation as a safe and robust vessel and we feel a little humbled by her integrity (not to mention a little grateful). So, things do look much better than we initially thought, but as we're amateurs at diagnosing hull problems we are going to have her hauled out as planned, get confirmation that the damage is only minimal and then put it right.
Meanwhile here in Fakarava we are enjoying the delights of a more sheltered and spacious anchorage and really using our experience to make better decisions when it comes to choosing where to drop the anchor.
We were both a little shell-shocked and exhausted during the passage here so we're having a bit of a lazy day, and then going scuba diving tomorrow.
Fakarava's reputation as a fantastic diving spot is legendary, so be prepared for some fishy tales in the next instalment.