Adventures of North Star

Follow the Adventures of Kim and Steve aboard their yacht North Star!

21 May 2016 | Tahiti, French Polynesia
14 September 2015
12 September 2015 | In Maupiti
17 August 2015 | Huahine, French Polynesia
13 July 2015 | Anyse Amyot-North End of Taou
20 June 2015 | Fakarava-South Pass
18 June 2015 | Fakarava-South Pass
11 June 2015 | Fakarava-South, Harifa
06 June 2015 | Fakarava, North Pass
02 June 2015 | Papeete Marina
16 March 2015
05 October 2014 | Cooks Bay, Moorea, French Polynesia
07 September 2014 | Rangiroa, Tuamotus, French Polynesia
29 August 2014 | Rangiroa, Tuamotus, French Polynesia
28 August 2014 | North Pass Apataki, Tuamotus, French Polynesia
23 August 2014 | South Pass Apataki, Tuamotus, French Polynesia
17 August 2014 | Anse Amyot, Toau,Tuamotus, French Polynesia
17 August 2014 | Anse Amyot, Taou,Tuamotus, French Polynesia
16 August 2014 | Rotoava, Fakarava,Tuamotus, French Polynesia

Big Blue

21 May 2016 | Tahiti, French Polynesia
Steve
Snuck back over to Tahiti for a few dinners out. Had a great lunch a couple days ago at the Blue Banana. As we were finishing up, there was a commotion at the end of the dock. One of the local fisherman had caught a nice blue marlin. Couldn't get it in the boat, but had a tail hook and lasso on it. All the employees from the restaurant went down to the dock and hoisted it with a large rope lasso on the tail. Guess what the special is for the next week or so???

Arrived in Bora Bora !!!

14 September 2015
Make sure you check out the new photos in the Photo Gallery!


We arrived in Bora Bora yesterday after a fantastic downwind spinnaker run of about 3 ½ hours. We were visited by two different pods of Humpbacks. One pair by the southwest corner of Maupiti and the second pair about half way between Maupiti and Bora. Both pairs were quite close to North Star, but the second pair appeared to either sleeping or sunning themselves on the surface. They weren't moving at first they were just floating on the surface. We didn't actually see them till were very close to them.

We had a great week or so in Maupiti. They call it little Bora and say it is like Bora was 50 years ago before the huge influx of cruise ships and tourists to Bora. Diving with the manta rays in Maupiti was something special. It was also great to hang out with Tony and Gail, from Cetacea, while we there. We were glad they finally got some cruising in this year after being stuck in the marina while rebuilding their engine.

Many people say that the pass at Maupiti is to dangerous to attempt entry and exit. Well, we chose our times carefully, when winds and seas were down and the entry was quite easy and uneventful. Some of the local charter guides say to only try it when winds are less than 20 knots and seas less than 2 meters and I would agree that is a good criteria. For both North Star and Cetacea, the transits through the pass were uneventful.

Well, as we begin to explore Bora Bora, I'll direct you to check out the photos Kim just posted of Maupiti in our photo gallery link to the right. Enjoy...

Tomorrow, sailing from Maupiti to Bora Bora

12 September 2015 | In Maupiti
Steve
After a great week in Maupiti, we hope to sail to Bora Bora tomorrow. It's only 24 miles or so. The key here is getting out of the pass when the swells and surf allow it. We are presently having a frontal passage so the wind is clocking around and tomorrow the swells are supposed to be around 1.5 meters, about the max you want here for entry or exit.

We won't have much wind for the sail which will probably take us around 4 1/2 to 5 hours. It is the first leg our our journey back to the east against the prevailing trade winds and currents. Then Raiatea, Huahini and finally back to Tahiti for cyclone season in a couple of months.

It seems the El Nino has certainly settled into the Pacific this year. The weather was last year was outstanding 95% of the time. This year maybe 50% with lots of squalls and unsettled, confused weather.

We enjoyed getting to snorkel with the huge manta rays here in Maupititi. We rented bikes and rode around the entire island...which took about 3 hours with Kim and Gail stopping at every artisan or shop they passed. It was good to spend some time with Tony and Gail on Cetacea. They just seem to be so happy getting out of their marina prison of the last year. They plan to follow us to Bora the day after tomorrow.

All is well onboard North Star. We have found no internet on this island although others reported it to be good here. Probably just a temporary thing. We will be going from a desolate, mostly undeveloped island to a very well known island of the stars with all it's excesses tomorrow. So it is with the changing of the islands here in the South Pacific.

Tomorrow.... real internet for the first time in over a week... Till then....

Huahine, Leeward Isles, Society Island, French Polynesia

17 August 2015 | Huahine, French Polynesia
Steve
Make sure you check out the new photos in the Photo Gallery!


Sorry we have been remiss in our blogging duties, but we've been busy with other things. This is sort of a catch everything up post and to update everyone on where we are and what's going on. Since our last post, we have returned to Tahiti for a few weeks. We finally purchased a new memory foam matteress for the boat. We should have done this years ago. Finally, a good nights sleep for both of us. Got a large dose of being in "town" and that's enough of that for a while.

We left Tahiti on the evening of August 11th with a forecast of 19 knots of wind on departure and 15 knots for arrival in Huahine, the first of the the Leeward Isles west of Moorea, which to date is our furthest point westward. Wiki link to Huahine Well, as is so often the case with the professional weather guessers, we were greeted to 30+ knots on the starboard quarter for the first half of the trip. When you depart Tahiti, you usually in the wind shadow of the mountainous island and never really know what the conditions are going to be until at least 5 miles away from the island. When we left, the wind swirled from all directions as the eddies formed by the tradewinds whipping around the island made it impossible to try to predict even what side of the boat they were coming from. We were almost 10 miles away, well past Moorea, when we finally just figured the forecast we got was totally blown. So, we had 30+ knots and very confused seas or 6-9 feet from multiple directions. It turned out to be a very uncomfortable passage. The only thing you can say good about it was that it only lasted about 13 hours.

Then we came around the backside of Huahine and took a mooring ball at Fare. What a lovely spot. It is beautiful here. But, we have had 3 solid days of rain until yesterday when it finally cleared. Yesterday afternoon we had a great snorkel just off the boat by the beach of Maitai Lapita Village resort. It was nice to see the sun. The weather this year has been very different than last year. A lot more cloudy, rainy days than we saw last year. Don't know if it's related to the current El Nino conditions everyone is talking about or not.

We rented a car here and drove all around both islands that make up Huahine. We saw many interesting sites, like the largest Marae in French Polynesia. Wiki link to Marae
There are many Marae's here in Huahine. These are sacred sites for the Polynesians and there is a lot of work going on to restore some of the sites. We also saw how the Polynesians constructed stone fish trap in the water that runs between the two islands. They are similar to the fish traps we've seen in other islands made from plastic or wire mesh except these were made of hundreds of stones and were permanent. You can see pictures of them in our photo gallery. We had a fantastic lunch at Chez Tara's restaurant on the beach near the southern tip of Huahine.

While here we got to meet some new friends, David and Cindy on their beautiful custom catamaran Full Circle. We got a tour of this very interesting boat, which of course has further fueled Kim's interest in a multihull vessel. It was my first time on an all electric boat. Well, it has a diesel fueled generator that charges the batteries that in turn run the electric motors that propel the boat. Quite an interesting design and something I'm totally unfamiliar with in any detail. Never thought about it, but even the vocabulary changes onboard. There is no need to start the engine, just push the speed lever forward. When David "started" the engine all you can hear is a cooling fan run. They say they have been able to pull right alongside a whale and her calf and basically in silence, not disturb them. In doing a little reading since then, they now have sail drive that basically charge the engine batteries when sailing, in essence turning the engines into water generators under sail. Certainly, the green way is coming to sailing vessels more and more all the time.

Getting ready to head to town again in a few minutes. Pick up a few things and maybe have lunch at the Huahine Yacht club. Steve, from Liward, says the fried shrimp there is fantastic. He also says the best burger in French Polynesia is here at one of the Roulotte trucks is the Surf Burger truck. If we hang around all day we may try that tonight. If not, we'll catch them on the way out.

We plan to move down to the south end of Huahine Iti either this afternoon or tomorrow morning, not sure yet. But, it's great to seeing the sun shining today after 3 ½ days of pretty steady rain and overcast skies.

Make sure you check out the photo galleries we've added since your last visit.

Departing Taou for Rangiroa

13 July 2015 | Anyse Amyot-North End of Taou
Steve
We are getting ready to depart in about 6 hours for an overnight passage to Rangiroa. Weather looks good, maybe a too little wind, but we'll just take out time getting there. We had a great stay here in Taou again with some of the best scuba diving we've seen anywhere. It was good to see Valentine and Gaston again this year and they seemed to really appreciate the gifts we brought them.

Next up is Rangiroa and then hopefully Tikehau before we return to Tahiti. We should be back to real internet in Rangiroa again.

Beautiful dive today

20 June 2015 | Fakarava-South Pass
Steve
Just finished my first dive, this year, in the South Pass at Fakarava this year. It was spectacular as always. The wx has laid down with 4-5 knots of wind out of the NE today. Kim, had another equipment problem as always when diving this pass. Interestingly, when I crawled back in the dinghy I told Kim that there were only about 80-100 sharks during the entire drift dive. Last year we estimated easily 400-500 that you could easily see, probably just as many off in the shadows. Maybe it's a time of year thing because we were here much later last year. I saw several that appeared to be pregnant and one that had his dorsal fin bitten off. Also, saw a fish behavior I've never seen before. A large green moray eel kept head bumping this 8-10 pound grouper. He'd butt him in the side several times and push him off the entrance to his hole. Then the grouper would just drift back sideways over the hole. Wish I'd had the Go-Pro but didn't since I was by myself and towing the dinghy.

Anyway, an awesome dive. Hope to repeat it tomorrow. Oh yeah, Happy Fathers Day to all the dads out there.

Ready for diving, South Pass Fakarava

18 June 2015 | Fakarava-South Pass
Steve
We finally left Eliza and Harifa in the SE corner of Fakarava. Went the whole 6 miles over to our favorite anchorage in French Polynesia, so far at least. We are on the west side of the South Pass of Fakarava. This pass is known for its many sharks that languish in the pass and wait for divers to drift through. We, (I at least) really enjoyed the diving here last year. We hope to get in several dives over the next few days. We just have to keep an eye on the weather which has been a little weird the last few days. Hopefully, the reliable trades will return soon.

Still no regular internet and probably won't have for a week or so more. But, that's ok too.

Beautiful new anchorage in Fakarava

11 June 2015 | Fakarava-South, Harifa
Steve
Had a beautiful sail from North Fakarava down to the southeast corner of the atoll to a village called Harifa. We only had about 7-9 knots of wind for the 28 mile trip, but it still amazes me how well North Star sails inside the atolls where the water is perfectly flat. (Kim loves to sail inside the atolls) We averaged around 5 knots with the wind on the beam. Wx for tomorrow is increasing winds up to 25 knots for the next 5-6 days. We should be much more comfortable tucked in here. We will go ashore tomorrow morning to explore. Kim is asleep in her new hammock she just bought.

Everyone remember that we are away from real internet for the next week or so. Those who might need to reach us in an emergency know how, but we are now without real internet or cell phone for a while so don't get your feelings hurt if we don't answer for a while.

Just arrived Fakarava

06 June 2015 | Fakarava, North Pass
Steve
Just arrived and got anchored in Fakarava, Tuamotus. So far, my favorite place in French Polynesia. Had a good 2 night passage that was fairly uneventful other than Kim has a cold. Break out the dive gear!!!

Tahiti Spring 2015 Michael and Tim

02 June 2015
We returned to Tahiti at the very end of February. We stayed in Marina Taina for approximately one month cleaning, varnishing, stocking and replacing sails, lines and ropes. There was still some rain around when we first arrived. With less rainfall, the mosquito problems were diminishing. We were able to use a transformer from the marina and utilize the air conditioner while we were on the dock and this was a big help for the mosquitoes because we could keep the hatches closed. When we finished the list of must dos, we moved to the anchorage just off of the marina.

We got the news that our one year visa had been extended for another year. With that good news, we booked a trip for Michael and Tim to come down to see us.

We went to the Tahiti Tattoo Festival with Gail and Tony from Cetacea. It was really amazing to see so many bodies covered with tattoos here. It is a very acceptable part of the Polynesian culture to have tattoos for both men and women. Not everybody has a tattoo but many do have at least one. The designs and stories behind the tattoos here are very unique and the tattoos are very beautiful with the use of just black and some shades of grey. Most tattoos are done with the use of the tattoo gun like what is used in the states. The traditional Marquesian tattoos were tapped into the skin with a small tool and three people. Two to stretch the skin, or hold the person down if necessary, and one doing the tapping. We saw several people getting a tattoo done in the old fashion. It looks very painful and like it may take many days to weeks to do some of the large tattoos we have seen.

The first two days that Michael and Tim arrived we did not have the greatest weather. It rained almost constantly for the first day and most of the day the next day. We did have a rental car for those two days and drove around the island. There were so many waterfalls everywhere because of all of the rain. Luckily, they are boys so a little rain didn't slow them down very much. The Ono'u graffiti contest was going on while they were here. We did check out some of the amazing artwork being done by groups from 26 different countries that had been invited to participate. The detail and the work was really something to see. The rain on the final day interfered with the final days activities and caused some of the fresh paint to run. It was really sad to see such artwork just running.

We then moved to Moorea for a few days. The boys were able to do one dive just outside Oppanohu Bay. They saw many black tip sharks and one large bull shark, too bad I missed that one. They really enjoyed the dive. We had some time for a hike and snorkeling before we returned to the new marina in Papeete.

It is actually not new but has been totally renovated. It was a dingy place where you could only med moor and it only had a few slips. Now the floating docks are complete with water and power, showers and we can side tie. This is much more convenient for us to get on and off the boat than med mooring. It was a little confusing at first because things were just getting started. Sometimes the gates weren't working and the rates were changing almost daily. Things have settled down now and the slips are half price for the rest of June. It is very convenient to be right in town.

The bus system is pretty good here in Tahiti but we can't seem to be patient enough to figure out the night bus. We hear there is one but we've never seen it. Taxis are very expensive. 25 US dollars to get from town to the airport, which is only about 4 miles away. The price is even more expensive to get from town back to Marina Taina and it is more for a night time taxi. The Roulottes are located here in town. There are minivans that occupy the part right along the waterfront. They arrive around 6 pm and set up a rolling restaurant. Set up the food and people will come. The tables are usually full with locals and tourists alike. The food is very good and priced less than most of the walk in restaurants. We have enjoyed the convenience of town but there is a price with the dirt on the boat and the noise. I think we counted 20 ambulances in an hour one morning. They start at 6 or before.

Michael's tattoo took two full days. The first day they spend 4-6 hours drawing the design and figuring out what Michael wanted. He started his appointment at 9 am and returned to the boat at 10 pm. The next morning he started at 10 am and finished at 9 pm. He was very happy with the work and the design. Freddy with Mana'o did the work. Michael said the detail compared to the work from the states was very good and you can see the difference in the detail to the lines. Michael can tell the story behind all of the symbols. The boys flew back home and we got back to their regular routines.

Steve and I cleaned up the boat, reprovisioned and have been waiting for some favorable wind to go back to the west. I went to see the local dermatologist for a spot on my chest and had that taken care of and then a crown fell off. It was a good thing we were still waiting around town. Nothing some good dental glue couldn't take care of. We hope to be leaving in the next few days to head back to the Tuamotus.
Vessel Name: North Star
Vessel Make/Model: Tayana 52, Center Cockpit
Hailing Port: Clearwater, Florida
Crew: Steve and Kim
About:
Steve has been sailing for about 45 years, starting with Optimist pram racing in St. Petersburg, FL many years ago. Steve and Kim sailed the waters of Florida, the Bahamas and the Gulf of Mexico for 10 years on our prior boat, Breath of Heaven. [...]
Extra: North Star is a 1988 Tayana 52, center cockpit, a Robert Perry design.
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O'nou Tahiti Graffiti Contest, Michael tattoo, roulottes
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Panama Canal Crossing and Shelter Bay Marina
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Back to the marina we go. The damage done by the lightning strike.
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Caouan, Tobago Cayes, Union Island, Mayreau
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Trip from Jolly Harbour north to Deep Bay
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old photos from Virginia to USVI'S
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additional photos from earlier in trip some of BVI's to St Kitts
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Antigua
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