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Sector 1. Iles Tuamotu, Iles Marquises, Iles de la Societe, and Iles Tubuai

Centre de Sauvetage Maritime (CCSM), a center for coor-

dinating rescue at sea, has been established in Tahiti. Par- ticipants may contact the center on VHF channel 10.

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Iles de la Societe requires a report to the Captain of the Port,

Papeete at least 3 days before arrival at the pilot station by all vessels carrying bulk hydrocarbon, vessels carrying dangerous cargoes, and by vessels over 120m in length. Such vessels are also required to keep a VHF watch within the territorial waters of the archipelago.

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Winds—Weather.—Isle Marquises are in the heart of the

trade belt, but there is much less steadiness of winds here than in the trade belt in N latitudes. E wind is the most prevalent, but over the E waters of the group there is an annual tendency for the trades to be deflected a little to the N or E, while in the W waters there is a tendency for a deflection to the S or E. The E to SE winds taken together are more pronounced, as a rule, from April to October, while the E to NE winds are more prevalent in the intervening months. Among the E islands the average velocity is about 11 knots; among the W islands the average velocity is about 9 knots. The highest velocity occurs in July and August, when the average throughout the group is 12 knots.

Gales are of rare occurrence but the few heaviest squalls, so far as scanty records indicate, occur in December.

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Iles Tuamotu, while in the nominal heart of the SE trade-

wind belt, is strongly dominated by E winds. Over the E part of the group, E to ENE winds are most prevalent, while in the W part the majority are from E to ESE. The NE inclination is most prevalent from November to May, and the SE inclination, from June to October. Some 80 per cent of the annual winds are from directions between NE and SE.

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Occasional barometric depressions cross Iles Tuamotu,

sometimes resulting in squally weather and temporary reversal of the trades into winds from W quadrants. These are most likely to occur from January to March, but may occur earlier or later in the season. There is no known record of the actual frequency of tropical cyclones in these waters.

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Iles de la Societe and Papeete enjoy a prevailing E wind.

This holds true for each month of the year and the E part of the group, and for most months in the W part. Northeast winds predominate, or are equal to, those from the SE, in the E part, except in June and July; during these months the SE winds are about twice as frequent as those from the NE. In the W part of the group, the SE winds are more frequent than the NE except in March and November.

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At Papeete, due to local conditions, the drift prevails from

the NE, except in September, when it is superseded by both N and SW directions; and in June, when it is equaled by winds from E and SW. North winds are frequent from September to February, and SW winds from April to December. Land and sea breeze effects are sail to be definitely indicated.

The average annual velocity at sea is 9 to 10 knots. The strongest winds average 11 to 12 knots in the winter months. Tides—Currents.—The general direction of current flow

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throughout this sector is W. However, under certain conditions the flow of current, in some areas, is E.

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Particular and constant attention must be paid to the current

when navigating among the island groups. When near the islands the current is sometimes deflected and is always accel- erated. Again, most of the islands are so low that it is often im-

Pub. 126

Iles Marquises

1.2 Iles Marquises, lying between 7°50'S and 10°35'S,

and 138°25'W and 140°50'W, are composed of three fairly distinct groups that lie in a general SE-NW direction.

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The SE group consists of Futu Hiva (Futu Iva) (10°30'S.,

138°40'W.), Motane (Mohotani), Tahuata, Hiva Oa, and Fatu Huka.

possible to see them at night, and ships may be driven on the encircling reefs without any warning from soundings; their having in general deep water close-to.

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In the Iles Marquises the current, propelled by the prevailing

trade wind, is usually W, between WNW and WSW, with a velocity of 0.5 knot, sometimes increasing to 3 knots. If the wind dies or if there are changes to the currents to the W, the current slacks, and during persistent W winds its direction changes. After a week of W winds a current setting to the E with a velocity of 3 knots, was observed in the strait between Hiva Oa and Tahuata.

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The currents in the vicinity of Pitcairn Island and Henderson

Island, in the SE part of the sector, set to the W at 12 miles a day.

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In the Iles Tuamotu the currents are quite irregular. During

the settled weather and a steady trade, the set is usually 5 to 25 miles a day to the W; but when the wind is W, which is frequently the case between October and March, the current is reversed and sets to the E at 1 to 2 knots. The uncertainty, on these occasions, as to the direction in which the current may be running, requires great caution when navigating among this mass of islands.

Among the Isles de la Societe the W set of the current is fairly regular with a velocity of 12 to 20 miles a day.

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East winds, being the most frequent, the general set in the

current is W. Strong winds from the W are liable to influence the velocity and at times reverse the direction of the current. Normally, tidal currents within the passes or channels ebb

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and flood at 5 knots. Often there is a difference between the currents, with the outgoing current being the stronger. Gener- ally the duration of slack water is greater at HW, but both slacks, if they exist, may be short. There are also locations where the tidal current cannot be counted on to turn with H and LW.

In those lagoons which have passes, the tidal current is generally felt for 6 hours in each direction. The range of the tide in the passes is about 0.6m.

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The S and W sides of most of these atolls are low, so that

when a S swell has been running for some days, it breaks and a great volume of water flows into the lagoon. This usually oc- curs between mid-June and mid-September, especially during the season of strong SE trade winds. On occasions, after the swell has been running out for some days, a current runs out continuously for several days even without a period of slack water. In addition, sure indications of a strong current, up to 12 knots, setting out through the pass are: the race being so strong that it can be seen from a considerable distance, and the wake of the current extending considerably seaward of the pass. Regulations.—Navigation in the territorial waters of Iles

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