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Sunrise: Chasing the dream
Life filled with adventure, both actual and spiritual.
Slugs have feelings too...
Photo Credit Bill
07/26/2016, Coral Garden near the Taha'a Resort

I just couldn't pass up this guy. We could see him moving on his way... somewhere.... I think he must have spent some serious cash on his designer outfit... maybe to attract a cute little butterfly fish...

The "Coral Gardens"
Photo credit Bill
07/26/2016, Near The Taha'a Resort

These may have been known for their coral years ago. The fish are the real attraction today. Increasing sea temperatures and invasives species seems to have hurt the diversity of coral species, and the fish were wonderful. Being a protected spot and part of the Taha'a tour circuit, the fish are definitely clued in that humans=food... so they crowd around impatiently waiting for a hand out...

Provisioning for French Polynesia
07/20/2016, West side of Taha'a, French Polynesia

Sunset over Bora Bora

Hopefully someone reads this who is planning to leave the US, Mexico or Panama for French Polynesia.

Everyone told us there was nothing in French Polynesia... Nothing. So we loaded the boat with spares and food and fishing lures and extra line and.... and... and...

All that data is 25 years old.

Food: No, there is no Costco here, but, there is lots of food. The Marquesas, on the more populated islands had nice grocery stores and venders who sold good vegetables. There is a lot of local fresh fruit available. In the Tuamotus the stores are very basic in the less traveled atolls, I have heard that the more traveled atolls have better stores. Those atolls that are served by boats such as the Cobia, you can order food from Tahiti to be delivered to the Atoll if you are hanging out there. I wrote a blog post about doing this in Apataki. Once you are in the Society Islands, there is anything you want. In Tahiti you can even get Gluten Free flours and other products.

Marine Parts: Tahiti has lots... you might have to poke around. Raiatea has lots. Don't forget that you can have things shipped by air from Tahiti to any of the French Polynesian islands and Atolls. I did this for a refrigeration part that was in Tahiti. the cost to deliver to the airport and the shipping was $10 US...

We are still eating out of our supplies we bought in Panama... and, since much of what one buys in Panama is close to its expiration date, we have eaten a bunch of old stuff and thrown out some too.

So, save your money, have a lighter boat, sail the Pacific with what you need to get to Tahiti.

Gifts. We were told all sorts of things about gifts. "bring cigarettes and alcohol," "bring paper and pencils," "bring old hats and T-shirts..."

My experience is that the Polynesians aren't looking for anything. They are interested in making friends. Most of them are as well off as they want to be and many have stopped working for the day to show us around. So, come with an open heart. If you do bring gifts, bring things that you would want to share with your family. These people are very generous and if treated like family, they will welcome you into their lives. We wish we had brought more things that relate directly to us: Small VT Maple syrup bottles, more art and craft supplies to make gifts, favorite or personally hand made fishing lures, other things we had made.

All that being said, it is very expensive to bring in parts from the US...

other countries and cultures
07/22/2016 | Gil
Thanks for writing this. Sounds like the Polynesians are like good people everywhere.
Did you see this video about Hokule'a arriving at Block Island RI in a traditional sailing canoe and asking permission to land.

Dear Ratty,
07/16/2016, Tahaa, Frech Polynesia

Dear Ratty,
It has been some time since I last saw you and I wanted to write about you to remind you of one thing you said to me and to offer a correction of something else.

First, you will remember that time when our dear (and sometimes tedious) friend had those several incidents with a Motorcar? Let me assure you that since that time I have been forced to ride in similar contraptions and I can assure you that although some would say there have been advances, that they are still the most horrible contrivance ever conceived. They go faster, most make more noise, and appear to me to be more dangerous that anything that we could dream might come out of the woods.

Now, enough of that topic. Let us turn to boats. You were the first to expose me to boats, even before I could swim... do you remember that day when I first saw the river and your boat. You took me across the river and on the way fell into some kind of trance, saying over and over, " there is nothing like messing around with boats, in them, on them, around them..." (now I am going from memory, yet I think I have it close enough... I laugh remembering that you were so taken by the though that you rammed your little boat into the shore and fell over backwards... Do you remember that day? If you do, I hope you might allow me to correct you.

I have now spent considerable time "messing around with my boat", and I have come to the conclusion that, although messing around with boats is preferable to messing around with many other things, it is actually sailing boats that is much much better than messing around with them.

Yesterday, after messing around a bit, I was able to sail my boat for the afternoon under the most beautiful conditions. A warm day in the tropics, but not hot. 10 to 12 knots of wind on the beam. The ocean swell broken by the reef giving me flat water, yet a view of the reef and the sand shoal so beautiful it is hard to describe. A few clouds in the sky to define the blue and the island of Bora Bora in the distance with a cloud clinging to its peaks.

Do know that I miss your rowing boat, and I often miss having a rowing dinghy, and I guess one can't have everything... Give a hearty greeting to my friends along the Riverbank.

07/18/2016 | Gil
Nicely put. For sure the sailing is better.
07/20/2016 | Uncle Readie
My dear Mole,

The wind is still in the willows!

Your old friend, Water Rat
Navigation marks in French Polynesia
07/12/2016, Approach to Utaroa Raiatea French Polynesia

Navigation in French Polynesia:

Like many things in the US, most of the rest of the world has a different system for navigation marks. Entering passes it is Green Right Returning. Once inside an atoll or reef ringed island, the channel is marked by green on the reef side and red on the island side. If there is an obstacle then there is a mark similar the the one in the photo. Two triangles pointing up is "Stay North of the mark," two triangles pointing down is "stay South of the mark." Two triangles pointing at each other (makes two Ws on their sides) "stay West" and two triangles pointing away from each other, "stay East of the mark."

The little hut is someone's weekend retreat. Already a casualty of Climate Change and sea levels rising, although they are still using it! The peak on the island hints at its volcanic origins and is the peak we climbed a couple weeks ago with the kids...

07/18/2016 | Gil
What ? Left side island, but west if going out, and triangles pointing at each other...I mean up, and stay east of the mark, but obstacles have their own...
Please take the helm & I'll make some coffee.
07/19/2016 | Bombardier
Thanks for the pic about the volcano hike peak. Red right returning is/was one of the few things I know about sailing....alas. what if you are looking at the marking from the other side of the obstacle or on edge to the marking? ARGH, I don't drink coffee but don't want the helm either.
Sailing at last
07/02/2016, Ilot Maharare, Tahaa, French Polynesia

Well, this is what we are here for. A nice sail of a few hours from Utaroa to the west side of Tahaa.

Yesterday, we had picked up a Dream Yacht Charter mooring for a day. The charge is a 6-pack of beer or soda per night. After a shop, we dropped the mooring and hoisted the Spinnaker for a nice flat water down wind run. Isobel requested that she steer... and steer she did, for a couple hours... Through this little cut (note the little palm hut where there were people hanging out for the weekend.) I was supervising, but she did a great job steering us from marker to marker, sometimes referring to the chart and sometimes asking for clarification.

I was on deck hoisting the Spi, and jobing it twice... then setting a pole when we finally turned to dead down wind.

It was wonderful also, as we passed each little village on Tahaa, there were drummers practicing for Haeva. We arrived (a little later than we wanted) for sunset over a fancy resort with bungalows built out over the water. We are anchored in 20 feet of clear water! Yea!

kids on boats
07/04/2016 | TJ
Well done team Calfee. Get your sea legs back. Miss you guys.
07/04/2016 | Gil
Aye...she be a fine first mate you've got there capt'n.
She will privateering her own ship before yer' ready for it.
07/06/2016 | Eric
Good for you! We finally launched Barnacle Belle after a laundry list of projects so know exactly how you feel.
A hike up Tapioi near Utaroa
06/28/2016, Tapioi, Raiatea

School was out at noon, so we picked up Isobel and her friends for a hike up the peak behind the town of Utaroa.

For those who might be looking, you have to take the road next to the Gendarmerie and bear right at the T... then there will be signs with arrows.

There are definitely things to be aware of... several huge bulls who seemed non-plussed as we walked by, trying to not express our very-plussed feelings! There were many horses also. Some were not interested, some seemed annoyed by us and some were so attracted to us as to be a little surprising.

At the top we had a great picnic and admired the view. It was fun to see the reef and passes from the "air." It was fun to see the showers falling from the squalls as they went by...

kids on boats
06/30/2016 | Uncle Readie
Not too sure of Bill's directions, but Tapioi is the flat-topped hill (read "dormant volcano") in the middle of this satellite view.
07/01/2016 | Bombardier
Thanks for the picture and trip to top of volcano. What is ?tube? and rock at left in picture? I also noticed that the water in the river seemed dirty....may be seasonal runoff. How much for the cheapest boat?....dreamer that i am
Sleeping on the job leads to a Pot of Gold
06/28/2016, Raiatea Carenage Services, Raiatea, French Polynesia

Yes, the pot of gold can be found at this boat yard. They are the go-to business if you put your boat on a reef in French Polynesia.

The other night at 3 AM we heard a MAYDAY call from a boat that was on the reef... when we charted the location we realized they were about 2 miles away on the south side of the pass entering the west side of Raiatea. We found that they were arriving from Papeete, had put the course into the chartplotter, told the auto-pilot to follow the course and gone to bed... only to awaken to the sound of their boat running up on the reef.

We were able to watch from out cockpit as they were plucked from their deck by a helicopter and dropped at the nearby airport... about 5 am. By 7:30 they were at the Raiatea Carenage Services where they plunked down about $10,000 to have their boat pulled off the reef. From what we heard, the then bought plane tickets back to France.

That day was a holiday, so the boat sat on the reef looking like someone had parked it there. It was an aluminum centerboard boat, with a flat bottom, so it sat there looking quite normal, except when the larger than normal wave would wash over the reef and roll it around a bit.

The following day, the yard had the Maupiti Express Ferry with a huge tow line and a couple smaller boats... in three hours, they had the boat sitting in a cradle in the boat yard. The estimate was $50,000 to cut the bottom off the boat and replace it.

RCS has pulled 5 boats off reefs in the past 2 months. On 4 of the 5 the entire crew was asleep! For us, even in the middle of the Pacific this is a big mistake. We always have someone awake.

The 5th boat drove themselves up on the reef in Apataki because they were using a chartplotter without detail in it, at night. Again, pretty crazy to navigate the "dangerous middle" without proper charts...

Cruising lifestyle
07/03/2016 | Bombardier
Thanks for the double rainbow picture and stories of irresponsible sailors......more money than brains I think it it said.
I am also glad to see the on the water sailing picture and hope to see more.
A dip in the stream
06/22/2016, Tapioi, Raiatea

On the way down the mountain, we took a dip in a stream... ah!

other countries and cultures
A dip in the stream
06/22/2016, Tapioi, Raiatea

On the way down the mountain, we took a dip in a stream... ah!

other countries and cultures

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