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 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, just 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.
07/18/2011, Avea Bay, Huahine Island, French Polynesia
How to get lost in one easy lesson. It's easy. Just don't know where you are going.
We took off on a hike yesterday morning down to the South point of the island to see the Marae Anini, one of the local holy sights of the island dating back to before the French showed up in the 1700. It's made up of lots of coral slabs that have been hauled off the shoreline and stood up on end. I can't imagine how much work it took to get all those slabs in place. We were greeted by a local guide that had a group of four with him.
After exploring the beach there, we took off for a hike up one of the local mountains, or at least what they refer to as mountains. We heard and read about a path that takes you up the hill for views of Avea Bay as well as the village of Parea on the eastern side of the island. Supposedly, the path wound around and would take you down to the village at the end of the hike. From what we had read, no one has found the rest of the path that takes you to the village but we were game for a try. Up we went along the well traveled path higher and higher reaching several "summits" of different hills as we went. While the views were great, just about every one was blocked by the growth of Australian Pine Trees. Tall spindly trees with long thin needles that hang down from the branches. Lovely really.
Up and up we went till we finally got to the summit. Once past the summit, we traveled a much less warn path. It eventually petered out to just a small path that was barely there. We had a choice to make--continue on and try and find a decent path to the town or turn back. We pressed on!!! Through fern covered areas as well as long vine covered areas that grabbed at your feet and shoes. Oh, by the way, I was wearing a set of Crocs(not designed for hiking) while Tracy had on a pair of shoes with just about no tread left on them. We really were not set up for hiking in the hills. Down we went with no real path or trail to follow. We tried to head down toward the village as we were lead to believe we should find a path but what ever we followed just took us to the edge of a rock cliff. Sorry, wrong way!! So we headed farther north and slowly made our way along the top of the ridge veering toward the west away from the village but back toward where we had started at Avea Bay. The woods got denser with far more decayed trees and vines. On we pressed watching our steps. I'd picked up a "walking stick" that someone had left along the earlier pathways to help me out feeling through the deep carpet of ferns, vines and grasses. Tracy took a wrong step and took a quick landing on her fanny. We slowly made our way down the side of the hill coming out north of where we had started at Avea Bay several hours before. As we looked back up the "mountain", walking along the crest line had helped us get past the steep cliffs that also made up the west sides of the "mountain". We'd come out on the one place where you could come down. OK, we got lucky but we also got down hardly the worse for wear other than shins that had been whipped by the ferns and vines-- oh, and my feet were really dirty.
We retraced our steps down the road we had taken earlier toward one of the "Snacks"(small restaurant) for a well deserved lunch. As we approached, the place was empty. Not a car nor a person. I wandered in(no doors on these places) and finally found a group in the back room. One of the women came forward to take our order. I had chicken and fries($1,000 francs $12.50US) while Tracy had chicken with roquefort cheese and fries($1,300 francs $16.25US). Two bottles of Coke at 225 francs-$2.81 each. Add on two ice cream cones--the first we have found for I don't know how long at 150 francs ($1.87 each) and with another bottle of coke to go, we ended up at over $44.00 for lunch. As we had lunch, a pair of locals came in for a french bread sandwich to go. That's how the locals normally eat. We didn't see any mention of sandwiches on their menu. The food was great and the portions were huge--two breasts on each plate with more fries than either of us could eat along with slices of french bread to have with the meal. We felt we got a great meal for a "reasonable" price. If you eat at a "restaurant", you can expect to pay at least double what we did as they cater more to the tourists than the "snacks" do. When we eat at one, we are normally the only non locals at the tables.
We headed back to Puff for the trip back to Zephyr. We'd tied here up--actually locked her up to a dock at one of the small hotels along the beach. Actually the only hotel along the beach. I checked the prices of a room(little grass shacks along the beach) on the internet and they run over $400US a night--meals not included. YEOW!!!!!! Of course you do get free satellite TV in your room!!
Once back at Zephyr, I started up the generator to recharge the batteries and turned on the water heater so we could have a "hot" shower--a real treat. Since we had eaten such a huge meal at lunch, dinner was just snack food. Neither of us was that hungry.
Last night, the winds continued to howl through the bay hitting close to 50 knots in one burst. Rains fell off and on just to make it interesting. We had pulled Puff(our dingy) onto the deck for storage rather than dangling her from a hoist along Zephyrs starboard side. With the winds we had already experienced during our stay here, we felt it smarter to have her strapped down on deck that flying along side. Our decision proved correct. Puff was safe and secure this morning. We've seen some people leave their dingies in the water over night and find them upside down or missing the next day, neither of which do we want to experience.
Today, we hope to dingy around the south end of the island and do some snorkeling on the coral reefs that are there. Right now, it's blowing and raining so we will wait for a while and see what comes later this morning.
Stay tuned. More to come.