07/25/2011, Baie Faafau
Since we have good internet here, I' ve added another gallery of photos. "Huahine and beyond". Click on them to see then larger on your screen.
07/22/2011, NaoNao cove, Raiatea
We're still at NaoNao doing more chores. The laundry continues as did the rain yesterday. With some Sun and some rain, the washing went as well as expected. Eventually , we ran out of clothes pins as the job progressed. With little Sun, the clothes took a good bit more time to dry than expected. Since we ran out of pins, we called a halt to the job and it continues as I type this post.
Yesterday afternoon, the one other boat here in the cove upped their anchor and took off for part west of here. We were ready for a cove all to our selves. It was not to be as the one boat left, two came from the west channel and took their place. At least one is a charter catamaran while the other is a smaller monohull sailboat. The cat had 4 people on board(2 men + 2 women) and the mono had 5--2 men +2 women and one child. At about 30 feet, it has got to be crowded in there. All of them--except one person on the cat spent the rest of the day in the water, swimming or paddling in a kayak. One girl on the cat just lounged around, worked on her tan and took lots of pictures of herself. I don't quite understand not getting in the beautiful water here.
Once we came to an end of the laundry, at least what Mother Nature would allow us to do, we jumped in the water and snorkeled around the cove. We couldn't be sure if it was going to rain or have more Sun, so the Laundry was closed for the rest of the day. We swam down--almost 10 feet-- and checked the anchor. It was snugged in deep in the sand. We were not going anywhere. We swam east in the cove to some coral heads and looked around. Not to interesting. Tracy had snorkeled the day before and led us back toward the west end of the cove where the coral and fish were far more abundant. Beautiful colors, not only in the coral but in the fish too. Many fish we have never seen before. The card we have on board to identify them doesn't have most of what we saw yesterday.
We bagged the snorkeling about 1550 and headed back to Zephyr for showers and some snacks. The SSB net was to begin at 1630 and we didn't want to miss it. We listen in on the net to see what is happening around the island with other cruisers so we will be better informed as to what to expect when we get there. we also get clued into as to where the best places are for snorkeling and diving. We expect to spend one last day here(today) and take off for another motu(island) around the west side of the island for a day or so. Soggy Paws(another cruising boat)had recommended it. Once we are done there(a day or two) we will head up to Tahaa, another island just north of Raiatea.
While Tracy was doing the laundry, I busied myself on deck checking just about every screw I could find as well as the rigging and lifelines to make sure all was securely attached. A few of the screws were loose so they got tightened. All the blocks on deck got a good spraying of WD 40 so they will run smoother. I fired up the generator at 0830 to refill the batteries and while it is running, I turned on the water maker to replace what Tracy is using while doing the wash. We hold 265 gallons of water, so that is loads but I like to keep them relatively full if I can. While running the generator yesterday, we made about 34 gallons(9 gallons per hours roughly). Today will be about the same.
After lunch, off for more snorkeling. With luck, the second boat that is left here will take off so we will have the place to ourselves. It's fun sometimes to have a place to ourselves. It's a rarity out here. Most of the boats that came in the Puddle Jump are still around so to have a place to ourselves would be quite a special treat. We will see how the afternoon progresses.
More to come.
Oh, I forgot to tell you, Tracy made Chicken Curry for dinner last night. Wow was it great. Served on a bed of rice, it really hit the spot. For those of you in Denver, give Tokyo Joe's a try if you can. Their "Joe's Special" is a great blend of nice spicy curry and rice. Definitely one of my favorite places to eat when I get back there. NO, I don't own stock in their restaurants, I just love their food. This was not a paid advertisement. Sure wish it was.
OK, here is one of those "more to come" moments. For everyone out there that plans on doing what we have done, or plans to head out anywhere, be it the Sea of Cortez or parts unknown, get your self a "wringer" for doing laundry. Many times, laundry facilities are not available where you may be going or the price is so high that you just can't afford it(Huahine was $13.00US per load. We purchased our wringer at Down Wind Marine in San Diego and while it wasn't cheap, it has more than paid for itself in making Tracy job doing laundry easier. We see lots of boats out here with clothes all over the lifelines and hung from clothes lines around the deck. In conversations we have had with other cruisers, we seem to be the only one out here with a wringer. You can hear the envy in the wives voices when they hear that we have one. Most take their clothes and wrap them around a shroud and twist or just use their hands to twist them. So, if you plan on heading out, get your self or as a gift for the person doing the laundry, a wringer. They will love you for it.
07/22/2011, NaoNao cove, Raiatea
We upped our anchor yesterday about 0900 to set off for Raiatea, an island about 19 miles west of Huahine. We'd anchored at Fare, a village on the west side of the island several days ago after coming north from Avea Bay on the south side of the island. During our short time here, one of our friends on Yaringa(an Australian boat) and come in and where they ended up was just about where we had dropped our anchor. We'd discussed it with them and told them we would call them on the VHF when we were ready to leave. As luck would have it, a small shift in the winds had shifted their boat just to the north of where it normally set so we got our anchor up with no problems. We passed within about 50 feet of them.
Off we set out of the pass and off for Raiatea supposed to be on a heading of 235. As luck would have it, the winds were also blowing at just about 235 so we couldn't make that heading. Most boats don't sail straight downwind. It's too much stress on the sails as well as the rigging as the sails want to shift from side to side. A wildly swinging boom is a terror. So we headed off at about 250 and took off. With winds in the high teens, we were doing about 7 knots with just the Genoa rolled out at the bow. Being only 19 miles away, we pulled up to Pass Teavamoa just after noon. There were breaking waves on either side of the pass. It reminded us of going into Topolobampo on Mexico's mainland coast well over a year ago.
Once through the pass, we turned to port and headed south with the reef on the left and the shoreline on the right. The channel is well marked with post painted green(water side)and red(land side) all the way down the channel. Our charts on the Garmin chartplotter were spot on also which is a big help. We pulled up to NaoNao about 1320 and rounded the west end of the motu (island) for a sandy patch we had been told about by Soggy Paws. They are another cruising boat that was in this spot earlier this morning. Check them out on the internet at soggypaws.com. They have put together a great compendium about all the islands here in French Polynesia that is a free down load. As other cruisers stop at an island, they report back to Soggy Paws as to what they found so other that come later will have a better idea what they will face when they get there. We use it constantly as we cruise. When Soggy Paws left, they let the only other boat in the anchorage(Chakira) know that we were coming as we had spoken with Soggy Paws earlier that morning. As we rounded the west side of the island, Chakira told us where the safest place was to drop the hook. Tracy got concerned when we showed only ONE FOOT under Zephyrs keel. Chakira told us it was fine as Soggy Paws(which draws more) had been in the same spot for over a week with no problems. Down went the anchor and with Zephyr in reverse, it dug in just fine on the sandy bottom. After a great lunch of Tuna Salad on French bread, we dove on the anchor just to make sure. Well, we now know that our depth sounder is accurate. We had just about a foot under Zephyr's keel. Luckily, there is no real tidal influence in this area so we should be just fine.
Now that we were set at anchor, we started in on the next chore. Scrub the water line. We had a growth of about 6 inch long grass like stuff attached at our water line and more of the green stuff on the prop. In we both went with scrapers as a 3M green scratchy pad as well as suction cups with handles to keep us attached to Zephyr and we started scrubbing. That stuff was put on with Super Glue!! It took a while to get it all off. Once the green stuff was off, there were black dots along the hull that took extra elbow grease to get off. about 90 minutes later, Zephyrs hull looked much better. I dove on Zephyrs prop and held myself under water so I could scrape all the stuff off the prop. It wasn't bad but did need some attention. Holding yourself under water tends to get a bit tiring so once that job was done, I climbed back up the ladder while Tracy took off for the coral heads to see how they were. Some alive and some dead was the report when she returned. I meanwhile had gone below and taken a nice shower to get all the saltwater off. Sure feels good to be clean. Having run the engine to get over here(in the pass) we had plenty of hot water to spare.
For dinner, I fired up the barbecue grill to do our last bratworsts that we had left from Mexico. Got to ration that with no one carries out here. They sure were great on French bread with dijon mustard. Oh, jost a side bar. The locals out here must love dijon mustard. There is tons of it in the stores. Including Gallon tubs of it in the store. We have a good bit of it ourselves but these people must love it. We settled in for a nice movie night on deck in the cockpit .with only two boats in the anchorage. With little wind(yes, I know, I asked for it), down below as a bit stuffy. A nice way to spend an evening.
Today, Chakira was leaving and we had laundry to do. So I fired up the water maker to replace what we were about to use and after Chakira took off, we upped the anchor and moved over to the spot they had been in. We now have about 3 feet under our keel. Much better. We'll dive on the anchor when the laundry is done and the Sun comes back out. It's much easier to see under water when you have bright sunshine to help.
So here we sit--16 55.157S 151 25.897W safely at anchor all alone for once. There is the occasional fishing boat with locals that comes by but other than that, we have the place to ourselves now. When we pulled in yesterday, we found signs all along the beach telling us that coming shore was "taboo" . Not sure what that is about but all the beaches in French Poly are available to everyone. Maybe as long as I don't come inland on the island we will be alright. We'd thought the island was deserted but we saw several shacks along the beaches as we came around the north side yesterday. We will just have to do some more exploring today. We found several beautiful shells yesterday as we dove around Zephyr but they all had critters in residence so we just left them alone. It's "house" after all. The beach is yet to come.
It's a bit cloudy today so Tracy is a tad concerned about doing more laundry. Heck, out here, rain is just a second rinse for the clothes. It can't hurt though we might have to put everything through our wringer again if it pours. Guess we will see as the day progresses.
I'll let you know how the afternoon comes out.
07/21/2011, Fare, Huahine
We should be pulling up the anchor in a few minutes and heading out for Raiatea on the South end of the island near Motu NoaNoa. Should be great. At least that is what we have heard. We'll let you know either later today or tomorrow on our next post. It will have to be by SSB radio so no more pictures for a while.
07/20/2011, Village of Fare, Huahine
Will the wind never stop???? We'll settle for it slowing even a bit. We upped the anchor yesterday and headed back north toward the village of Fare on the west side of Huahine after experiencing a week of wind and rain. Normal winds in the high teens with gusts to 30 knots and more. I know, we are on a sailboat but that's fine when out sailing but at anchor, we become sort of boat locked. You can't go anywhere without getting soaked by the waves that blow through the bay.
On Monday, we decided to take Puff and head around the south point of the island toward the village of Parea and the pass just off the village so we could visit Motu Araara and do some snorkeling. The east side of the Motu(also known as an island in English) is known for decent coral for good snorkeling. Off we went waves pounding into poor Puffs bow as the winds came around the end of the island. It got so bad that I finally put on my snorkeling mask and snorkel to try and see through the spray the waves were making. As it was, we had to jockey around large coral heads that come up from the sandy bottom. With the water so turbulent, it was impossible to see some and what you could see, we had no idea how deep they were under the surface. We finally made it around the point and headed toward the east side of Motu Araara. Well, that was no good as the winds were buffeting that side of the island. Over to the west side--much better. We pulled Puff up on shore and I headed into the water. Tracy waited at Puff for me to report back if the swim was worth it. In all reality, the reef there is just about dead with few fish and very little live coral.
Back into Puff and back around the south point toward our bay. It's much better to go down wind than up wind. A lot less spray over the bow. We stopped in the south section of our bay(Avea Bay) and dove in. Much better. No where near as much dead coral. Tracy went in right on top of a big live coral head with lots of fish all around it. When I finally got there, I took some pictures that I'll post for you later. When we dove on the love coral there were anemones with clown fish(like Nemo) all over the place. While much of the coral was dead, we had gotten lucky and found a live patch. There was also one of the sting rays in attendance though not as friendly as those at Sting Ray City back on Moorea. He swam away as I came near him. Back to Zephyr for dinner.
Yesterday, we upped the anchor and took off for the village of Fare. A short ten mile motor with coral reefs on both sides of the channel. We followed our earlier route that was still shown on the Garmin chartplotter. We arrived just before noon. I played out the anchor in 20+ knot winds in 60 feet of water. Out it went but our CQR anchor didn't bite into the bottom. Up it came and around we went till we found a place only 45 feet deep. Down went the anchor and we were lucky this time in that it grabbed the bottom. I let out 160 feet of chain before it jammed in the windlass on it's way out. For some reason, as the chain comes back onto Zephyr, it takes a twist in the linkage rotating clockwise. The last time I had all the chain out was back in Puerto Vallarta in February and it was a mess then. We've anchored dozens of times since each time having the chain twist as it comes back aboard. We normally use about 120 feet of chain in a normal anchorage but this time we were much deeper so the windlass finally ran into the snarled chain where it had bunched up. No more chain was going to come out and it was snarled so badly that there was no way to get in back through the windlass. Thank heaven the anchor bit into the bottom and held. To solve the problem we had to take all the chain out of the anchor locker and lay it out all over the deck so we could get all the twists out of it. About an hour later, all the chain was dekinked and put back into the anchor locker. Now all I have to do is watch the chain that is between Zephyr and the anchor as it comes back on board and make sure it comes in with no kinks. With luck it should swivel toward the anchor and take all the kinks out as it comes up. Guess we will see.
We set our anchor alarm on our chart plotter and with the wind continuing through the afternoon(still in the high teens to gusts in the 30 knot range)we stay aboard again. Late in the afternoon, a 46 foot Jeanneau(brand of sailboat) came in and dropped their anchor just about where we had dropped ours. They just didn't let out as much chain. They dropped back on us stopping off our port side. A bit to close for comfort since we had already drug once in this anchorage. We talked to the other boat via VHF radio(didn't want to shout between boats) and once I told him he had dropped just about on top of our anchor, he decided to move. He didn't want his anchor to snag ours and endanger both boats. Up came his anchor and he moved a bit farther forward and dropped it again. It bit in and he was secure. The reason he anchored so close to us was that he is friends with a boat that was anchored next to us. With his anchor set, he dropped back until he was within about 40 feet of his friends boat. Now he was their problem, not ours though if he dragged, he might still drop back on us but I figure he had good insurance as his boat look close to new. When I went on deck this morning, he had pulled up his anchor and moved again. This time, much farther forward in the anchorage. During the night(about 0300) a big gust of wind had gone through the anchorage and his anchor had come loose. He got it reset but spent the rest of the night sitting in his cockpit on anchor watch. We found all this out this morning in conversations he had with another boat on the VHF radio. Better him than us. Looking at our chartplotter, we haven't dragged at all. Yea for us.
We're now at 16 42.808S 151 02.400W for all you Google Earth fans.
During the night, two big supply ships came in the and bay and passed behind us on their way to the wharf. There should be lots of new things ashore for us to choose from when we get there. It's still blowing in the high teens out there but we have to get ashore for more gasoline as well as groceries. I'll let you know how that works out and how wet we get.
07/19/2011, Still at Huahine
I've posted a new photo album of some of what we have seen on Tahiti, Moorea and Huahine. Click on the photo to enlarge them for better viewing. Enjoy.