06/06/2012, Yacht Quay to Marina Taina
Time to move on, enough of the "Big City". The transit from the quay to Marina Taina is a motor inside the reef around the airport to the west side of the island. it is about 5-6 miles away. Along the way you could see the wreck of a sailboat on the reef, a reminder of the perils of tropical cruising in paradise. It looks like he hit the reef from the outside, maybe a storm or just poor navigation. They say several cruising yachts end up on the reefs every year, some they are able to refloat, but not this one.
Marin a Taina is an anchorage where most of the cruisers end up to get away form the noise and bustle of Papeete. There is a marina there, as well as mooring balls and plenty of room to anchor out. Normally this is a nice calm motor over there, but this time we get 25 knots on the nose, it seemed to whip around the island from the south. When we arrive it is pretty crowded, but first attempt to find a mooring ball, which s/b more secure than swing on the hook. There are only about 15-20, and it is first come first served. No luck, they are all taken, so off to drop the hook.
The wind has now piped up to a steady 20-30 knots, but the holding is good. We anchor in 60 feet along with many of the boats we have met before. Our anchor seems to be holding good, as the wind surges to 35 knots. Another boat has broken free and is careening through the anchorage luckily the owner is on board and he is able to re-anchor. We end up staying on the boat for the last afternoon w/Pete, as the wind has made it difficult to even launch the dinghy.
The wind lightens slightly allowing us to get the dinghy in the water and motor over to have one last sundowner w/ Pete before he has to catch his 11pm flight back to the states. Well, it turned out to be a wet ride, as water came over the bow, luckily Pete has some other dry clothes to change into.
We toast a last drink at Casa Bianca, a watering hole w/ a 2 for 1 happy hour, I think this is going to be a good place to hang out until Jonathan arrives. Pete catches a cab to the airport and will be in the states the next day. If anyone is looking for "great crew" for a passage, Pete is your first mate. I hope to have the opportunity to sail w/ him again!!
06/04/2012, Yacht Quay, Papeete, Tahiti
Our mechanic arrives back with cables in hand, we decided to replace them all since we had the whole thing apart. It took a bit of time, but all came back together as planned. We were operational again.
Pete and Paul had signed up for a half day island 4X4 tour. Which sounded like a lot of fun, but I wasn't sure if the job was going to be finished so had to pass on it. The 4X4 picked them up at the tourist office and off they went. They picked up other passengers at some of the resorts, but they got an extra special part of the tour, one that comes about every 118 years, the Transit of Venus.
The Transit of Venus was happening today, and the tour stopped at Point Venus, where stargazers and astronomers had come from all over the world to experience this unique event. There were telescopes setup for them, and they were ale to witness it. Wow, did I miss out on that one. Captain Cook was also here in Tahiti in the 1700's to witness the same thing, part of his funding was for scientific purposes of the transit, but the equipment of the time wasn't adequate to get the measurements they were hoping for. It was all in an effort, I believe, to measure how far the Sun is away from us.
The tour took them up through the interior, to waterfalls and the jungle. The interior is the collapsed cauldron of the volcano. The driver also took Pete over to the airport, where Linda was flying back home to CA, he was hoping to see her here, rather then hen he returned in a day or two.
as we were in expedition mode again, Paul and I went out for a bite, I had spotted a nice restaurant a day or so before, and was hoping it was open, Le Ville Gourmande. As luck would have it, it was. It turned out to be a wonderful place, excellent food, at a fair price. Highly recommended, I don't think I saw it in any of the guide books.
Tomorrow we'll move Sherpa to Marina Taina and get her settled before her crew departs for the states and end their journeys.
06/04/2012, Yacht Quay, Papeete, Tahiti
Monday morning and as promised, our mechanic Patrick, arrives just after 8am. I had emailed our yacht agent to see if she could find a mechanic for us, and Yves on the dock also had said he would call his mechanic to. I was afraid I'd have two mechanics fighting over the job, or none at all would arrive. Funny thing, they both called the same person, Patrick.
Patrick LeCler turned out to be a super guy and a good mechanic, he lived on his Peterson 44 sailboat at the marina part of the year, and then went back to France part of the year. He quickly got going on it, well both of us, we had a few little issues getting the frozen bolts out, but finally were able to extract them. The cables are very difficult to get to, as it is an old design, we basically had to take out the steering cables to get at them, with four minds and 4 pairs of hands we were able to get them out.
Patrick took the old cables and and said he knew where to get them. So off he went in his petit truck. Pretty nice, he delivers parts too. In the early afternoon he returned, but one of the cables looked to short, and was. He decided to take them back tomorrow and we'd get it put back together then. My fingers were crossed.
In the meantime, the three of us headed out for our traditional pizza. We ended up at a pizza joint, Lou Pescadou's, a local favorite. Pizza and frosty cold Hinano's hit the spot. This one was good, but the one on Hiva Oa still had the highest marks, must have been the creme fraiche.
06/03/2012, Yacht Quay, Papeete, Tahiti
Welcome to Paradise, well not exactly. Papeete is a bustling city of over 100k people. Traffic, noise and you can get most anything here, but it will cost you. We moored right on the main road at the yacht quay, Blvd. Pomare, named after the ruler for many years. The quay over looks the waterfront shops, hotels and restaurants. It is the main road in and out of Papeete, so the traffic starts at about 5am and on weekends, the city is still going until the wee hours of the morning. Along the waterfront there is a very nice park, which is the location to the annual Haiva festival, which takes place each July. Competition of dancing, paddling, music..... goes on for a week or two. The competitors come from all over, as far as the Marquesas. There are lovely gardens and views.
In the town/city, there are many boutiques, restaurants and businesses. You see people dressed like they are going to an office or on a boat with short, definitely a melting pot. Many of the shops are run by Chinese, apparently there are over 10K on Tahiti. Along with typical shops you have the Marche, which is an open air market that is huge. proprietors come form all over the island as early as 4:30am when it opens to sell there products, which consists of fruits, pastries, fresh fish, a wide variety of meats and cheeses, as well as flowers and other crafts made by local artisans. It is quite the spectacle. It is where everyone comes to buy their fresh food.
And like everywhere else in the world, there is a McDonalds, Paul and I would head over there for the coffee each morning, as it was the best price and quite good, then head out to find the real French pastries. There is a 2 hour walking tour of waterfront which goes from outrigger canoes to the ferry docks and commercial docks. Taking you through the park, the pearl museum, a few churches and the government buildings. You want to do it early, as the city gets quite warm under the tropical sun, without the tradewinds blowing like you would on the boat.
One can enjoy the many activities the big city has to offer. But it is Mothers day here, just like in the states and Europe, so churches are full and stores are closed. One thing we have noticed cars/motorbikes really stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk along Blvd Pomare, even though they are speeding along. Maybe a big fine for not stopping.
Back to the boat, we will meet the mechanic tomorrow morning and hopefully get the transmission cable fixed.
06/02/2012, Underway, Fakarava to Tahiti
We are nearing the island of Tahiti. We have seen a couple of sailboats in the distance, the most traffic we have seen in a long time, now we have to be extra vigilant thru the night. The full moon is almost back as we get closer to land. Wind is getting light and we are almost there so fire up the iron genny, lets get there. We arrive at 9:00 AM again thru a narrow passage, but this doesn't look right. Correct according to course plotted but this is private boat marina not commercial where we need to go, they look the same on charts. Oh well, first navigation mistake in 3000 NM, well give me a break, thanks. So off we go back out of the pass to the "correct pass". We line up the channel markers, call the harbormaster (everyone needs to call in as the airport is right there and large cruise ships use the same pass, and they don't want any additional traffic in the small pass. We get to the transient dock but it is full. We maneuver around to another dock and the gear shift cable breaks. Lucky Sherpa was in neutral, or we would have been going in circles, maybe even backwards. The wind pushes us against dock so we tied up, no damage, though several charter boats sit there usually, but were out. A local friendly boater, Yves on a powerboat, helps us tie up Med mooring style (Stern to but in our case bow to) and offered to call his mechanic. Today is Saturday, so Monday he will come. Welcome to Papeete, time to explore the town, make that city.
06/01/2012, Underway, Fakarava to Tahiti
Work day on Sherpa. Make water (last time for noise, Honda generator going strong), clean out the refrigerator (what is that smell?),cleaned the bilges, refrigeration drain lines were plugged so couldn't drain. Throw out suspect foods, we are going back to civilization got to be clean for inspection. For the most part, the boat has held up fine, no major issues, a few minor breaks here and there, as Kim W. said, sounds like it was a milkrun, and provisions actually went much further than anticipated. The sail has been routine, we have decent winds, but nothing like the passage winds we experienced over the open ocean. I would say where is definitely some island effect, even though small. We should be seeing the lights of Tahiti tomorrow.