17 August 2016 | Maupiti Lagoon & Two Muppets
05 August 2016 | View from the top. Note the pass through the reef. The "chip" in the rim of the teacup
03 August 2016 | Raiatea Town Dock from deck of Wind Spirit
26 July 2016 | Anne in Shirley Valentine Moment
08 July 2016 | Bali Hai Hotel, Mo'orea
Wild and Wet
26 August 2016
Whoever named the Pacific was obviously only here for a mini-break. Long enough to get a tan and some coconut cocktails. Not long enough to see to full spectrum of weather.
Our departure from Maupiti was delayed as, unless you had suicidal tendencies, as did one charter catamaran, presumably with a boat to get back to base and a flight to catch, the pass out the lagoon was a No-Go zone. The charter cat, to the amazement of all in the anchorage headed on out towards the pass. Even from a mile away, through binoculars you could see massive curling green waves rising, ever steeper to finally break and pound the reef, the pass and any willing charter victim.
Fortunately, he got close enough without being committed, took one look and turned back. He was lucky. The point of no turning back is pretty small as by the time you can see if the path is clear between the breakers you're just about in the grip of the 5 knot out-flowing current.
That's why we stayed put. We left in bright sunshine which we enjoyed for the first 24 hours before a bank of rain and 30k came through. Feeling a bit like we're back home, we are hunkered down below, peering into the murk from the companionway, auto steering doing the work and frequent nervous glances upwards to the masthead to check we're on track and no gybe imminent. Radars, AIS and stuff crackling.....but, nothing out here, other than the other yachts headed for the atoll of Suwarrow, pop 24.
23 August 2016
If Carlsberg did coconuts they'd come with an easy screw top cap!
23 August 2016
Ever bought a coconut at the supermarket?
If so, I'm sure you're familiar with the ensuing routine.....
1. Take coconut into kitchen
2. Take wife's (or partner's) best knife and set about attacking coconut.
3. Get bollocking for using good knives.
5. After 10 minutes of hacking, stabbing and prodding, provided fingers are still intact, take coconut to garage, (or other "man cave").
6. Select your biggest implement. Ideally something like your JCB heavy duty, "Professional" screwdriver.
7. Recommence hacking and prodding.
8. Finally, like Fort Knox, your nut having resisted all efforts to break in, find your slightly fusty, cobweb covered power drill, unravel the 15 metres of electrical cable that has lain untouched for months and plug in.
9. Fit a 10mm bit and drill into the handily provided dark dimples on the top of your nut.
10. Finally, grazed and bleeding, you're in.
11. Pour and drink
Quite a faff for half a cup of dirty water and you haven't even started skinning your knuckles in the forthcoming attempt to get at the flesh.
All pretty pathetic for us humans when a couple of tiny hermit crabs can chomp their way through the hard outer skin of any fallen nut, tear apart an inch of coconut fibre, (the stuff Heyerdall tied his Kontiki raft together with,) and finally they then chew threw the inner nut, the bit that fir the past hour has resisted all your feeble hacking. Armed only with a pair of super tiny pincers the hermit crabs feast on the fallen coconuts day in day out and no sign of a a dangerous implement or still anywhere.
It does take a couple of weeks of chomping to get in. I never said they were quick but they are effective.
23 August 2016
How cruisers open nuts.....and lose fingers
21 August 2016
A few of our cruising buddies, the guys with boat loads of "toys"; kayaks, paddle boards, kite surfers, diving kit etc... finally caught up with us in Maupiti so it seemed in order that we should dine out.
Before we get to that, the "toys" thing is an issue that I finally got a hold of just last week. For the last few months, we've been taking it easy passing through the Society Islands; days spent just chilling, (whatever that means: certainly never had time for that nonsense in my day), days fixing stuff, island tours, swimming with the fishes, walks on the beach, climbs up the hills, wifi to home etc....
However no matter how much we faffed around we couldn't go slow enough and consequently left our social / party group behind.
It was only after I'd chased them up asking where they were and what was taking them do long that I realised they had " TOYS".
While I'm varnishing, they're out surfing. While I'm scrubbing the bottom of the boat they're having a dive with the shark life. While in being dragged off on a walk, "let's walk left this time for a change. Haven't done Left for 48 hours" they're kite surfing.
That's why it's taken them an age to pass through these islands. So, come New Zealand, I'm buying me some toys.
So, we went swimming with the Manta rays. Giant, elegant underwater eagles.
17 August 2016 | Maupiti Lagoon & Two Muppets
Maupiti us our last stop in French Polynesia. The last baguettes for a while.
The island isn't the most tempting with the pilot book reading "The entry passage can be dangerous, especially in a southerly swell when waves break across the entrance. There is a permanent outgoing current of up to 5 knots".
The only thing he leaves out is "best of luck".
With brilliant timing and a rubbish forecast we ended up motoring the 30 miles across in not much wind. Which was good from a pass transit point of view but a bit of a waste of diesel.
As it turned out, while the entry was a bit nerve wracking, once committed, it all opened up and other than just a wee bit of surfing was OK. There are times our insurance premiums look quite reasonable!
Looking up at the steep, 1500 foot volcano above us, we quite fancied a helicopter ride so we could see the colours of the reefs, the sand bars and stunning views.
However, as buses have yet to make it to Maupiti the chances of a helicopter were pretty slim.
And so, this morning we were up at the crack of dawn to climb the volcano before it got too hot.
Early Morning Fly By
12 August 2016
Up at the crack of 07:30 this morning we headed off in the dinghy for the early morning flight. Predictably, the outboard played up so we headed back and cadged a lift from Lisa and Sven from s/v Randivag (www.randivag.se).
Just as well we didn't take our dink as the 45 minute each way to the runway would have taken for ever with our egg whisk for an outboard. Finally there, across the shallows of coral head infested the reef we made it to the "airport".
Mask and fins on, over the side and wow, there goes the first flight of Manta rays. Their 10 foot wind span lazily sweeping them along while they sooked up the plankton or indeed any careless divers that got in their way.
Quite a sight.....then back for coffee amidst the deep and pale blues of the crystal clear reef. Really happy we only draw 1.6m!
Check Google earth for our current location. Quite spectacular.
09 August 2016
About seven to ten days ago a wee weather molecule was lazing around the ocean just off the west coast of South America.
Slowly, it made a few friends, a few billion friends, and together, under the effects of the earth's rotation and differing air pressures they started heading west.
Life was easy, just bowling along under their new collective family name, the Trades. As they went along they picked up more friends including some wet ones.
Uninterrupted, progress was swift, gradually reaching a comfortable 15-20 knots with the heat of the day adding a vertical dimension to their path. So, along they went caressing the surface of the ocean creating some waves to accompany them on their way west to the distant horizon. Occasional they'd go up and down to join hands with their puffy white cloud friends, each time gathering new wet molecule friends.
Then, after 3,000 miles of clear ocean, WHOA! What's that up ahead? Right in front is an 800 foot mountain, 1 mile across slap bang in their path. Then strangely, having made their own way for thousands of miles, the Trades find themselves being sucked up and around the mountain as if pulled by some unknown force. With no alternative half the molecules headed up the hill, the other half dividing into two and heading either side of the mountain all parties being sucked up and around by the vacuum on the leeward side, because, as we all know, nature hates a vacuum.
The guys that went up got cold and clung together becoming new groups of molecules collectively know as Pelting rain.
"Whoo hoo. It's a free Disney ride" they shouted. "Let's do it again". However faced with the realities of physics they looked for another form of entertainment.
"Let's go buzz that boat". Whoo hooo. Whooooo hoooo. "Let's rattle these ropes...... whooooooo". Around and around they went. Like the demons in that final scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark when the bad guys open the Ark.
All bloody night.
We've been right in the path of these accelerating and katabatic winds as they blast around and down off Bora Bora's vertiginous peaks.
Not a lot of sleeping last two nights. It's not all beer and skittles out here you know!!!