27 June 2017 | Bora Bora Yacht Club
19 June 2017 | Hurepiti Bay
10 June 2017 | Fare Lagoon, Huahine, French Polynesia
09 June 2017 | Fare Lagoon, Huahine, French Polynesia
08 June 2017 | Fare Lagoon, Huahine, French Polynesia
06 June 2017 | Fare Lagoon, Huahine, French Polynesia
05 June 2017 | Fare Lagoon, Huahine, French Polynesia
05 June 2017 | Fare Lagoon, Huahine, French Polynesia
01 June 2017 | Marina near Uturoa, Raiatea, French Polynesia
30 May 2017 | Tapuamu Bay, Taha'a
26 May 2017 | Mooring at the Hibiscus Hotel, Taha’a, French Polynesia
22 May 2017 | Pension Tiare Nui, Raiatea, French Polynesia
20 May 2017 | Pension Tiare Nui, Raiatea, French Polynesia
18 May 2017 | Pension Tiare Nui, Raiatea, French Polynesia
17 May 2017 | Pension Tiare Nui, Raiatea, French Polynesia
16 May 2017 | Pension Tiare Nui, Raiatea, French Polynesia
14 May 2017 | Pension Tiare Nui, Raiatea, French Polynesia
13 May 2017 | Pension Tiare Nui, Bungalow D Raiatea, French Polynesia
27 June 2017 | Bora Bora Yacht Club
We're still on Bora Bora, and moored at the yacht club. Last Saturday , Conni and I motored Debbie an Philippe to Viatape for their departure ride out to the airstrip motu. They were great guests, and we enjoyed having them with us. We hope that had as much fun.
We had an evening with the two of us, a normal, quiet evening, and on Sunday, we motored back to Viatape to fetch Nate and Val back to Wings.
Nate is an HVAC engineer for an Anchorage firm who has been contacted to ConocoPhillips, and Val teaches for the Air Force. We met them through the Seward Yacht Club, and Nate traveled with us from Bora Bora to Rarotonga during our trip West to Fiji. Both are accomplished outdoors people, low maintenance, and ready for any adventure. The cost in money and time to reach Bora Bora are so substantial that we're honored for anyone to join us, and not a little anxious that we can provide the great vacation that they have every right to expect!
They had arrived last week in Papeete, since they had decided to see something on their own of Tahiti. They found an Air BNB room, rented a car, and saw more of Tahiti than we have. Smart folks! The day after they leave us, we take Wings to the Carenage to begin the decommissioning process and the trip is over.
Yesterday, we repeated the bike tour of the southern end of the island, spending a few hours at Matira Point beach. The water was its usual beautiful color and temperature and the snorkeling was great. After a quick rinse in the public shower, we biked back to the pizza place with the wood-fired pizza oven and enjoyed great pizza, cold Hinano, and wonderful conversation. After a ride back to Viatape, we dropped the bikes at Avis and motored back to our bay and Wings.
The bay in which we sit is protected by a point of land so that we're usually in calm water (other than rude young men riding hell-for-leather on jet skis through the mooring field), but a short trip around the point toward Viatape can put us in white caps and rough seas, and very wet butts. I am usually operating the outbound so I've had to learn where the path of the driest butts is.
We took a long walk today, venturing into Fa’anui Bay. We choose, for some odd reason, the hot part of the day, causing thirst and too much sun. Still getting off the boat is nice.
We leave tomorrow, sailing toward Taha’a.
Driving Around Bora Bora
23 June 2017 | Bora Bora
Although the Avis delivery guy was supposed to fetch us at 8:30, he didn't arrive until 9AM, telling us that despite having both fetched us and delivered us at the yacht club, he waited at the wrong place. Crazy.
We finally departed Viatape at 9:20, after the usual paperwork war with Avis. We elected
Philippe to drive since he likes to drive, is French so the paperwork was simpler, and easily reads signage.
We drove sou from Viatape, driving the route that we had biked the day before. The air conditioning made the trip considerably more comfortable! We continued around the southern end of the island and drove up the east side, seeing a part of Bora Bora that Conni and I had never seen. Wherever we drove, we were constantly on the search for coconuts that we could break into with my cutlass. When we found one, I sliced off the top and we feasted on the refreshing water and the cool meat inside.
Eve. At a snail's pace, we made it around the island in 1.5 hours, it only being 25 km. Debbie read from her guidebook and we followed every interesting lead. Some were successfully, most were not. We tried to find the banyan tree that inspired James Cameron's Avatar tree, but the directions were too sketchy. As we searched, though, I found a short papaya tree and cut several leaf stems to use as straws. Cool! Straws for our coconut!
We followed the directions, and paid $5/each, to see two 7-inch guns from World War 2, a cool thing to see. Since my veteran father died two years ago, this kind of thing has meant more to me. As I looked at the guns in their emplacements, I mused that every planner, every construction person, and most of the guys manning those guns is gone. That great struggle for survival that so deeply influenced me, through my parents, is truly history, now.
We had lunch...actually way too much lunch, at Bloody Mary's bar. It's a local and world famous beach bar, and it was nice to introduce D and P to it.
One interesting entry in the guidebook was the "Marine Museum" that the book claimed was very good but seldom open. We drove by and open it was! Inside was the life-long collection of hand-crafted sailboat models, all to the same scale. Triremes, the Bounty, Slocum's Spray, all in all about 50 beautiful models spanning a 1000 years and worlds of distance. The creator did appear and gave us his impressive story, having started building the models when 17. The museum, then, showcased a lifetime of effort.
We had arranged to leave the car at the yacht club, so we strolled through, hopped I. The dinghy, and motored back to Wings, where we ran the generator until we departed again.
The Bora Bora Heiva ("Hay-eva") is the largest and most important Heiva other then the Papeete event, and we grabbed the opportunity to see an evening of it. The first group wore beautiful costumes with white flower headdresses, and sang a host of traditional songs in Tahitian. The second group, from the nearby Fa'aroa Bay, was a huge troop of dancers, half male, half female. They were fantastic and danced for a full 45 minutes. The male dancers were athletic and fast, performing the traditional male dance by swinging their bent knees in and out with feet flat on the ground, making what appeared to be stylized combat moves with their hands. The females were no less rehearsed and talented, showing their mastery of the hip shake. Both groups had three costume changes, and each had a session to themselves as well as complex dances with both groups on the sand. The drummers were SO fast and synchronized! All of the dancers appeared to be young, between 12 and 20, or so it appeared from the stands. Female tourists flocked to the sand to have their photos taken with the sweat-gleaming male dancers, but the females made a quick departure. We all thought that the very cool temperatures were helpful to the dancers.
Although the stands had not filled for the first group, it certainly did for the Fa'aroa group, and standing spectators were watching ten deep. A sizable part of the Islands's population was present. At $15/seat, we had chosen to sit in the stands, but most stood watching at no cost.
At the end of the evening, we chose to walk the 45 minutes back to the yacht club rather than pay the $30 taxi fare.
What a fine day of enjoying Bora Bora.
Debbie and Philippe depart tomorrow and both Conni and I sad at the leaving. They remain the lowest maintenance guests that we have aboard. They're happy with anything that we do, have boundless enthusiasm for trying new ideas, and require no help or attention to keep themselves entertained. The longer that they've been aboard, the better they've become at helping on boat tasks. They shower in the cockpit with no issues and live in very tight quarters without going stir crazy. Debbie is my one and only sister and I love her, of course, but she is bright and a lot of fun, too. With a PhD in psychology, she is perceptive and articulate. Philippe is a master of plants since he's a landscape architect, and he's the last word in French since he is French. A better match for traveling in French Polynesia couldn't be imagined. We'll miss them.
21 June 2017 | Bora Bora
We arrived in Bora Bora from Hurepiti Bay after a nice motor sail through light winds. Tomorrow, the winds are predicted to be even lighter, and Thursday the winds are predicted to be screaming along at 20 kts and pushing 3 meter seas. We felt that a motor sail was better than those choices. As usual, I tried trolling during the 5-hour passage, but got nothing. At some point, I've got to determine what I'm doing wrong and begin to catch rather than just fish.
As I've mentioned, my laptop screen has died, so I can't use it for routine blogs or web pages, nor can I use the SSB since the software to do so is on the laptop. In addition, the number of Wifi hotspots is dramatically reduced this year and our usual provider, WDG, has reduced its hotspots and those that exist are not allowing connections. I have no explanation for that problem, be I'll probably buy an ATT cell plan for my iPad next year. At least I can post blogs if not photos! We've been forced to use Conni's phone to acquire our weather information since it's the only reliable Internet connection we have.
Debbie and Philippe brought a pump that I was able to use to replace the raw water pump that failed. So far, so good. I live in fear that it'll fail, but I'm the only one who's worried, and it's worked perfectly so far. The coupling that I ordered has still not arrived, so repairing the old pump is still impossible. I'd love to have a rebuilt but perhaps I'll return the old pump to Alaska and rebuild it there.
The boat has performed very well. The bilge pump automatic switch has failed for unknown reasons, so we use the manual switch, but it's a nuisance and not a danger. We're still chained to the generator for an hour or two each day because of the fridge, and that's getting tiresome. Otherwise, we're pleased with the trip and the boat.
Today we'll motor around and do some errands in Viatape, the main marina. When we arrived, Wind Star, the fake sailboat/cruise ship, was at anchor and departed last night with her fake sails ablaze with colored lights, and motored through the narrow and complex pass through the reef. An odd half cargo/half passenger Tahitian ship was also in the harbor and followed Wind Star through the reef but with much less fanfare.
The Bora Bora Yacht Club has upgraded itself with nicer facilities, and they still have reliable Wifi, stand up showers, garbage disposal, and good food and drink. We're hanging on one of their moorings and will be here until Monday, at least. Debbie and Philippe depart on Saturday and Nate and Val arrive on Sunday. We'll have to scramble to get sheets cleaned and the boat prepared!
When we go into the yacht club tonight, I'll face over 1000 emails, most of which are political and unsolicited.
We just returned from our trip to Viatape. I took Debbie and Philippe to a nearby reef for some snorkeling, and then returned to the boat to refuel the dinghy tank and generator. Conni dealt with our laundry, making arrangements for it to be done today. After our chores, I fetched D and P, then we all prepared for the outing. They needed to buy their return tickets to Tahiti for their return flight to the US on Sunday. After a cafe visit, we climbed aboard the dinghy and motored South down the coast. We had a great trip!
19 June 2017 | Hurepiti Bay
Blog 19 June
The raw water pump has, thus far, functioned perfectly. As I mentioned, the quantity of water issuing from the exhaust supports our idea that the bearings in the old pump were failing and the extra torque needed to rotate the pump caused the metal fatigue that finished the pump's useful life. And on that matter, the coupling still has not arrived!
We spent last night in Ha'amene Bay, on a mooring. We paid for the mooring, of course, and enjoyed a peaceful night.
Conni had made arrangements for us to eat at the Taha'a Maitai restaurant, owned and run by Bruno Francois, a Cordon Blu-trained chef. We ordered the "Prix fixe" meal, a three course extravaganza with drinks, the lovely fish pate or mahi-mahi carpaccio, then each of us ordered the mahi-mahi in vanilla sauce, followed by fresh fruit sorbet or a chocolate decadence dessert with lots of whipped cream. There were three sorbets and one chocolate dessert....I had the chocolate! This was Debbie's and Philippe's first exposure to fish in vanilla sauce and both of them were taken by the unique flavor of the dish. We had our first taste on Rangiroa several years ago and have loved it since.
At 5:30AM on Sunday morning, some rascal young people began playing very good but very loud French rap. I didn't complain about the choice, only the volume and timing. It persisted until 7:00AM, and we were all awake. The citizens of Ha'amene have a youth problem with which they are not dealing. They'll lose the cruising customers if they don't act.
The weather was nice, so we motored around the East side of Taha'a, along the North side with its great views of Bora Bora, then along the West side, finally stopping to try some snorkeling at a recommended location. With nothing but flat white sand to be seen, we motored back to where Wings awaited us, still with her engine running for a quick getaway. If we had dragged, shallow water was close by.
We motored on to Hurepiti Bay, and a mooring owned by the Vanilla Tour folks whose tour last year we had so enjoyed. We hopped in the dinghy for a 8:00AM tour departure. A Moorings catamaran had joined us during the early evening, carrying 8 Californians, all members of the Santa Barbara sailing club. They were nice people, very good sailors, and good company on the tour.
When we finally returned to the tour home, it was raining small animals and we all got drenched returning to the boat. I had to use a borrowed bucket to remove the 10-inches of accumulated rain water before we could depart the tour dock! The tour owner on whose mooring we had spent the night had asked that we clear his mooring for possible tour guests, which we did. Shoot, he said that 95% of his customers arrive by boat and he depends on the moorings as an enticement!
Lovely Conni prepared another sundowner spread and then a nice dinner. With so much rain, the solar panels had done little to lessen our fridge deficit, so two hours of generator time was needed to refill the banks.
As part of the tour, we dropped by PariPari, a new business in Tapuamu Bay, which we know well, having stayed there many times. The business makes a variety of products using only locally-sourced ingredients. Their coconut oil is cold pressed and their rum is distilled from local cane juice, unlike most rum distillers. The rum is simply delicious and a true hand-made product. They crush the cane in small batches using small machinery, and buy cane from a large number of local family growers. The cane juice is fermented using indigenous yeasts, then distilled using a tiny German-made still, a beautiful stainless steel and brass affair. They sell white, 3-month aged rum, and a rum that's been aged 6 months. They're working on an 18 month and 3-year types, too, but the business isn't old enough to have either rum! We bought a bottle of the 6-month-old rum that's slightly orange-colored. For the aging, they're using Jack Daniels casks! My, those things get around!
We'll say goodbye to Vanilla Tours and Hurepiti Bay and motor through Passe Paipai, a pass through Taha'a's reef that we've never used. Once out, we'll sail to Bora Bora. The weather is predicted to be good and more importantly, turns to crap on Thursday! By then, we'll be enjoying the hospitality of the Bora Bora Yacht Club. Debbie and Philippe depart on Saturday, flying to Papeete and then home. Nate and Val will fly into Bora Bora and we'll meet them on Sunday. It's a fast turnaround for guests! D and P just get too seasick and the weather will be too rough for us to subject them to an overnight sail to Papeete. I am hoping to post this on Bora Bora.
10 June 2017 | Fare Lagoon, Huahine, French Polynesia
Our first set of visitors arrive tomorrow on the flight from Papeete to Fare airport. We made arrangements for a taxi to meet them, although it’s bloody expensive. At any rate, we’ll awaken early and I’ll take the dinghy to town and hop in the taxi to meet them at 8AM. Sheesh, I’m barely awake by 8AM! My sister, Debbie, and her French husband, Philippe, arrive tomorrow for 10 days on the boat. When they depart, our second set of guests arrive, Nate and Val. When they depart, Wings goes into the yard and the trip is over. Tonight is our last night with just the two of us.
We ran through some errands today, got ten more gallons of water, and grabbed some groceries. I had put teak plugs into some screw holes in our teak decks, and today the glue was dried so I could use a sharp chisel (thanks, LaVerne) to remove the proud wood. It’s always satisfying to accomplish small but important tasks like that. Teak decks are beautiful but they do take a bit of care, and since they’re screwed on the fiberglass, the teak plugs that cover the screws sometimes are lost and must be replaced.
And speaking of tasks, the entire trip is in my hands when the pump parts arrive, carried by Debbie and Philippe. I think that I can manage to rebuild the pump that I removed from the engine, but we also will try to use a pump that might not fit. We’ll see. I’ve gotten advice from Conni’s dad, LaVerne, and have studied all of the resources that I have, so perhaps we can manage it. If so, we’re up and running and can go where we please. If not, we’ll have to sparingly use the engine to leave the lagoon here in Huahine, then sail to Raiatea, about 25 miles, sail into their lagoon and as close to the dock at Uturoa as we can, then sparingly use the engine to tie up at the dock. I’ll take a taxi to the Raiatea Carenage and have them help with the rebuild. I hope that it’s not necessary, but we needed some options so I contacted the Carenage to arrange the help.
Last night at the Huahine Yacht Club, an older sailor introduced himself and began to talk. Roy Starkey is his name, and he build his ferrocement boat back in 1970 and has never returned to a land-based life. He had invited us aboard at 5PM today, so Conni had thoughtfully purchased a few luxuries for him and we jumped in the dinghy at the appointed time.
The boat has a beautiful look, and from any distance other than close, looks made of fiberglass. Of course, up close one can see the telltale roughness of hand-laid cement, but it’s still a remarkably fine looking boat and has a lot of miles under her keel. It’s small-looking, with a single-spreader mast, and has a very small cockpit, but the space below is impressive. Although he’s had, and lost, a wife and many live aboard girlfriends, he’s alone now and so has a lot of space. I’ll post some photos when I can.
We talked with him for a few hours, listening to his stories of the luminaries of the sailing world whom he’s met, and his part in that world. He’s been living aboard his boat for almost 50 years, and has few accoutrements of modern cruising. There’s no radar, no chart plotter, but he’s recently purchased and loves an AIS, and a fish finder. He’s still a sextant user, primarily, and his is now worn to a frazzle. As he says, what he’s done probably cannot be done today. Rules and laws are stricter, marine items more expensive, and life on the water costs more. His mother passed away a few years ago and an inheritance allowed him to repower his boat, but with only 10 gallons of fuel aboard, he can’t go far. He’s also got only 100 gallons of fresh water, but he says that it gets him a long way. He’s a single-hander, so whatever must be done, he must do it by himself. At 72, it’s getting more difficult to do many of the things that need doing.
As I mentioned, he makes jewelry of scrap wood that he’s acquired here and there: cocobolo from South America, some odd tropical hardwood from the Marquesas, and he hand carves tiki necklaces and other items. He has a band saw powered by an inverter to shape the pieces, and when his batteries are down, he simply stops work until his solar panels can recharge them. He does have a small fridge, but the solar can manage the drain he says.
He did write a book: “Around and Around and Around”, but Roy Starkey. Amazingly, it’s out in ebook so I’ll add it to the collection for reading.
We’ve got the aft berth cleared of stuff, since it’s our garage for stowage. We’ve got our stuff tied to the deck and piled up here and there below, but our guests have a place to stay. We checked the aft head, and it does work, thankfully. We’re stocked with food and water, so I think that we’re real, provided that we can get the engine fixed.
Wish us luck!
We Meet a Character
09 June 2017 | Fare Lagoon, Huahine, French Polynesia
We arose earlier today, and got a lot of niggling cores accomplished. About noon, we headed to Fare by dinghy and refilled a gas jog used for the generator.
Our Norwegian neighbor, aboard Willhelm, dropped by some excess tomatoes that had been purchased and told us, as cruisers will do, where the only free faucet in town was located. Hurray! We added that stop to our list of things to do, too.
Since the water jug stop was near a roulotte (food wagon) that we had used last year, we decided to enjoy another meal there. I had (hey, I’m American) a cheeseburger, and fries and Conni had fried fish and fries. Both were wonderful and we chased the meals with a liter of cold water.
After returning to the boat, we offloaded our treasures and decided to skip travel in the hottest part of the day, so stayed aboard in the cockpit and read in the shade. Ahhh… I love the cruising lifestyle!
We watched the community come alive as the heat dissipated with the end of the day and I saw two horses wither-deep in the lagoon water. I’ve never seen a horse in salt water, but these two seemed to enjoy the cool water. I was glad that I was not swimming down-current of them. When I gather some more photos, I’ll post them.
We awaited the 5:30 Happy Hour at Huahine Yacht Club, then dinghies in and enjoyed another MaiTai. An older sailor (we later learned that he was 70-something) approached the table and asked if we spoke English. Well, after a fashion. It was a low bar to pass for a conversation.
Roy, as he gave his name, has been single-handing in the South Pacific since the 1970s, in a homemade ferrocement boat. Ferrocement boats were all the rage for home-builders back then. One had to design or buy the design of a boat, produce a replica in wire mesh, then spread cement over the frame. Ferrocement is incredibly strong (hence the name) and can even cure underwater, so repairs can be made without hauling the boat. They’re heavy, but virtually indestructible.
At any rate, he’s been sailing around the world since then and has even published a book, “How to Finance Sailing” or some such, currently available as an ebook. He makes jewelry and sells it for his income, but lives, he says, on $3000 a year. That is not much money! He regaled us with stories of the famous and not-so-famous whom he has met during the years, besmirching most of their reputations, other than my hero, Bernard Moitessier. At any rate, he’s quite a character! We have a date to meet him on his boat tomorrow at 5PM. I’ll take photos.
It’s 9PM and we’re running the generator. We run it at least 1-1/2 hours a day to keep up with the fridge’s energy use, and we’re considering some options. Of course, running the generator is cheaper and easier than a new fridge, but we’re beginning to begrudge the hours of roar in the cockpit as we charge the batteries. The technology has improved dramatically since 1984 when this fridge was built and installed, so we do have several options, including the CoolBlue made by the same guy who desgned and sold us our water maker. The units are terribly expensive but could save us 50% of our energy outlay. That’s significant. More as we consider the options.
Debbie and Philippe arrive on Sunday so we’re arranging our plans for that treat. They’re a lot of fun and very low maintenance.