03 October 2016
Greetings from "the Blue Lagoon" off Nanuya Island in the Yasawa chain on Fiji's west side. Almost every country we've been to in the South Pacific has a "Blue Lagoon" but apparently this THE Blue Lagoon where Brooke Shields paraded in a very tiny bikini about 30 years for a very tacky movie by the same name- sadly we don't have that in our movie collection.... Sniff, sniff.
Since leaving "Paradise" (the resort on Taveuni where we stayed for two weeks), we have worked our way slowly west to the western most part of Fiji and are now heading south. We spent three busy days in Savusavu picking up some food, going to the market, catching up with friends, hiking and eating- a lot of eating. Savusavu has a large Indian population with several fabulous Indian restaurants. We learned when asked how hot we wanted a dish, "hot" was not an edible answer, for us at least- "tourist hot" was, provided we had a stash of napkins to mop up our noses and eyes. After Savusavu, we sailed about 20 miles south to Namena, a tiny island marine preserve which is world famous as a diving site- and is a pretty awesome snorkeling site! There are fringing reefs all around the island some spectacular "bombies" (pillars if you will) that rise up 100 feet or so from the bottom. Beautiful hard and soft corals and zillions of fish... We vowed to return next year when we're in Fiji- with dive equipment.
After three days of being in the water, and with pruny skin, we moved onto Bua Bay (a quick overnight stop) on the southwest coast of Vanua Levu where we caught up with friends we hadn't seen since Tahiti. We have been sailing with "Do Over" for at least ten days now and are loving sailing in their company! The next day we headed off to the east coast of Yadua island, about 25 miles away, and anchored in a spectacular bay. We went ashore to the village to introduce ourselves to the chief and do "sevusevu" (a formal way of asking permission to come onto the chief's lands, including the surrounding water, by offering a gift of kava). The people on Yadua have to be the friendliest people on the planet. We were greeted at the beach by a gang of kids eager to help us get the dinghy ashore then we were lead, in a parade, to the chief's representative's home (the chief was off the island somewhere). The representative's wife invited us to come to lunch the next day, after church, an offer we couldn't refuse.
We got to church early the next day and seated ourselves off to one side, about in the middle. The minister greeted us and asked if we'd like to sit up front and in the middle- no thank you...Well, perhaps we should have listened to him because as it happened, the church is segregated by gender- and we were smack in the middle of the men's section. AWKWARD. Yes, I have a new appreciation for how difficult it can be to be a visitor to a new church. The only word of the service we understood was "Amen" but the singing was otherworldly- it didn't matter that we didn't understand a word of what they sang. As services go, it was a short one, only an hour and a half. Lunch was a much longer affair. Yadua has no roads, electricity, or running water; many of the homes are woven from grasses, cooking is done over an open fire, and people have very little, if any, furniture in their homes. Cell service is spotty at best and there's no internet access on the island. Yet the hospitality and kindness showered on us that day (and the next when we returned with some fishing supplies and food)were unimaginable. We ate a delicious lunch (seated on the floor) of smoked fish (cooked in fresh coconut milk), taro (a super starchy "potato", the staple of their diet) and some breadfruit. Four generations of this family were present for the meal and we learned a lot about life on Yadua from these wonderful people. What little income they have is from fishing and growing taro and coconuts. The closest doctor/medical facility is an hour a half boat ride away (in good conditions) and the school goes up through the 8th grade- at which time kids go to the "mainland" of Fiji and board there for months at a time. We felt like we had fallen through a crack in time and ended up in the 19th century- except for the few boats with engines on them, it easily could have been. When we returned the next day, the reception was overwhelming- just about everyone invited us to come in for lunch, or to come back for dinner and we had a gaggle of kids in tow. "Kate" is apparently a fun (and easy) name to say, and to remember. It's the closest we'll ever come to feeling like rockstars.
We hiked around the island, snorkeled, and completed a few boat projects while we waited for the winds to change then we sailed off to Yasawa Island, about 50 miles west of Yadua. The beach at "Champagne Bay" is one of the loveliest we've seen and the island has a lot of super hiking. We visited two different villages there on the island and walked into a super fancy resort. Dirty, hot sailors were not the kind of guests they had in mind and the manager hustled us out- their hospitality in stark contrast to that in the villages. In Bukama, the largest village, we again attracted a gaggle of kids (and I didn't even have my customary bag of candy and pencils to hand out). One of the boys, upon hearing that we were from the United States asked Steve; "are you Captain America?!". He was somewhat disappointed when Steve replied, "no," but he followed it up with, "Do you know Captain America?". "I know of him," Steve said and Sula agreed that that was "very good". Love it.
We're starting to keep our eyes on weather systems coming off Australia now in preparation for the 1200 mile sail to New Zealand toward the end of this month. Thankfully we are sailing with a lot of people who are also heading that direction so we are learning a lot from talking with them! We completed our absentee ballots this morning and are not missing the election coverage one tiny bit!
Eastward to Taveuni
20 September 2016
The last few weeks have been fabulous as we continue cruising the Fiji Islands at a "no-rush" pace. We left Nananu-i-ra after several days of hiking, bottom cleaning, and enjoying the back-packer resorts there and continued eastward along the inside-the-reef pass around Viti Levu (the mainland) to Naigani. This is a small island just east of the mainland with a wonderfully protected and very remote anchorage. There was little ashore there as venturing off the beach meant bush-whacking through the jungle, but the beach and the reef near the anchorage was absolutely beautiful.
After two days in Naigani, we decided to sail to Levuka on the island of Ovalau. Levuka was the colonial capital of Fiji and as a National Heritage site, it has been kept in its original, 100+ year old architectural look. This was where Fiji handed over the Islands to Great Britain to be a colony in 1874 and where independence was handed back to Fiji in 1970. The main street looks like something a wild west town only on the sea. Very interesting to see, however, since Cyclone Winston Damaged much of the town rebuilding has unfortunately been delayed by the need to find local hardwood. The other detractor was just up wind and slightly out of town was a Tuna factory which gave the anchorage a not-so-pleasant odor. Sooooo, we decided to make this a day stop and we continued on to Makogai.
It was fun to get back to Makogai where, back in June, we stopped to help the Sea Mercy Organization rebuild a school. Our efforts back then were mostly in support of cleaning of the remnants of the old school, preparing the site for the new build and moving the lumber and supplies into place to start building. As we returned, the project had just completed and the dedication ceremony had taken place just the day before. This is the first school in Fiji to be rebuild and reopened since Cyclone Winston and it was all accomplished with donated funds and volunteer (passing-through cruisers) labor. The end result, the completed school was really neat to see. After a few days, we continued our bumpy ride north-eastward course across the Koro Sea to the Island of Koro on a close reach in 25 knots of wind.
We stopped in Tulani Harbor (Dere Bay) on the North-West side of Koro. This area had also been impacted by Winston and the two resorts on the beach had been badly damaged and rebuilding efforts had not yet begun. Ashore, we found a resilient local community as well as an ex-pat community of folks from all over the world who had decided to buy a lot on the northern part of the island and build their dream home. With no running water (other than private cisterns that collect rain form their roofs) and no electricity (other than what solar collection they might have to charge their batteries) this is as remote a place to settle down as we have seen. A trip to the grocery store in Suva could take several days as the ferry travels to and from Koro as needed and not on a regular schedule.
From Koro, we continued our windward bash to Taveuni and Paradise Resort. This resort is unique in how welcoming it is to cruisers. Free mooring balls, showers, use of their pool and facilities, etc. We had only planned to spend a few days here, but Kate got intrigued with an opportunity to do an intro to scuba diving course with Alan, the local PADI instructor who also is the resort owner. After this, she was TOTALLY hooked and decided to continue on with her basic Scuba certification. Alan also re-certified my now 37 year old NAUI Scuba Card (from senior year at the Academy) so we could both dive on the spectacular Rainbow Reef in the Somosomo Strait. Alan and Terri, the owners of Paradise Resort were continuing to rebuild after their resort that was demolished by Winston and were looking for an electrical engineer to help rewire their dive boat. Kate and I decided to help and for almost a week, we would go to work on this 43 foot aluminum dive boat at 8am and work through 4-5pm with a short lunch break. The end result was a fully powered boat that was ready to launch. Launching from the beach ramp was incredible as the boat was lowered onto logs by an excavator and then pushed/rolled into the water. It was great to see the boat floating after 6 months of repairs and is was especially fun to see the reactions and cheering of the many employees of the resort who came out to the ramp to watch the launching. Alan very nicely treated us to a 2 tank dive on Rainbow Reef, and a very special lobster dinner. After two weeks at Paradise Resort (our longest time an any one spot since leaving the Chesapeake Bay in Nov 2015) we headed to Savusavu for a few days of re-provisioning.
Back in Fiji
28 August 2016
With a name like Nanunanu-i-ra you know we're not in Virginia anymore. Sounds like something Mork (from "Mork and Mindy for '70's TV watchers) would say... We are back in Fiji after a fabulous five weeks in the States; five weeks spent enjoying the company of family and friends, keeping our doctors and dentist plenty busy, eating healthy "American-sized" portions of all the foods we haven't seen in months, savoring fast internet access, and enjoying the Republican and Democratic Party conventions (NOT). We had a grand time!
Blue Summit was moored in Port Denarau marina on the west coast of Viti Levu (referred to as "the mainland" by Fijians) and was well looked after by Ali and the staff at Denarau while we were gone. The day after we returned, Blue Summit got the spa treatment by a local yacht detailer, Api and his crew, who set to work cleaning every square inch of the boat from bow to stern. They washed and waxed and polished every surface for two days- and the boat has NEVER in the 2 1/2 years we've owned!
While Blue Summit was getting the spa treatment, Steve and I spent two days tracking down parts, reprovisioning in Nadi, the closest town, getting the outboard on the dinghy fixed, and trying to adjust to jumping ahead 16 hours. We had a slow start to our errands as Monday was a national holiday to celebrate the Fijian rugby team's gold medal in Rio- Fiji's first medal in an Olympic games. Flags were everywhere, banners hung from windows, everyone was wearing rugby shirts, and there were "Rio Blue and Gold" drinks on every menu. Unfortunately most businesses and shops were closed which made provisioning tricky...but it sure was fun to see the pride and excitement on every Fijian's face.
We bid farewell to our friends in Denarau on Wednesday and with a clean boat and stocked pantry, set off to start exploring the Fijians islands at a more leisurely pace than earlier in the summer when we were with the World Cruising Club's "World Arc Rally." We anchored the first night about 10 miles away from Denarau and enjoyed a spectacular sunset and relished being out of the marina. Alas, the wind shifted in the night and ash and soot from burning sugar cane blew our way and covered the boat- our lovely clean boat was clean no more. We pulled up anchor much sooner than planned because of the smoke and made our way around the inside passage of the north coast of Viti Levu. Unfortunately we encountered more of a headwind than anticipated so it was a slow slog to windward which is never fun. When it became clear that we were not going to make our anticipated destination, we found another anchorage as the sun was going down- with a spectacular view of the north shore- and spent the night there. A bonus!
We pulled up our anchor after a leisurely morning, bound for Nanunanu-i-ra and arrived here mid-day- in plenty of time to clean the hulls after six weeks in a marina. Wehoo. Nothing says "FUN!" like a scrub brush. We have spent the past two days anchored here, hiding from a boisterous tradewind, completing a few projects and exploring this lovely island on foot. There are numerous ridge trails with stupendous views of the north coast of Viti Levu- a great place to hike. It's been a whirlwind of a week but it's good to be back on Blue Summit.
Tonga & Lau Group
17 June 2016
We arrived in the Vava'u island group in the Kingdom of Tonga on May 31st after a two day sail from Niue. Vava'u is picturesque at every turn, made up of spectacular islands intertwined with turquoise waterways and encircling reefs that have created one of the most popular, and sheltered, cruising grounds on the planet. There are several charter boats companies there who do a brisk business but given Tonga's relative remoteness, the islands are a far cry from the commercialism of the Caribbean. The town of Neiafu caterers to sail boats and has several wonderful restaurants and bars and they have a fabulous public market. We explored several land and sea caves, snorkeled, hiked, had cookouts on the beach, and enjoyed cruising around to different islands. Vava'u is a city of pigs and puppies- they were everywhere! Mama pigs and their piglets walked through the heart of Neiafu as if they owned it. After a lovely 10 day visit we prepared to depart for Fiji. But wait...
A large low trough parked itself between Tonga and Fiji so we delayed leaving Tonga, preferring to hide out (as we had already cleared customs and were supposed to have left the country) for two days while over 15 inches of rain fell on us and we saw some very gusty winds. As our watermaker has gone on strike, the rainwater we collected nicely filled up our watertanks and gave Blue Summit a lovely bath.
We cleared into Fiji in Vanua Balavu, in the Lau group, and had a fabulous three days there. The World Arc arranged for a customs and immigration team to be flown there from Suva, the capitol, so we could check in there without having to go 130 miles further west, then beat back 130 miles to see the Lau group. Thank you World Arc! The Lau chain was devastated by cyclone Winston earlier this year and an armada of sailors are volunteering their time, talents, and resources to help rebuild the islands. "Seamercy" is the group overseeing this work and we wereable to donate four bags of food and kitchen utensils. Unfortunately because we had a delayed departure from Tonga we missed the "work days" where members of the fleet helped dig a garden, repair a roof and visit a school.
The snorkeling in Vanua Balavu was mediocre but the water was gorgeous and topography stunning. Not a beach in sight, all rocky, cliff-like limestone coasts (I'll send pics when we get internet)that rise vertically from the water with fascinating mushroom shaped rocks, eroded from the sea. Alas, we only spent three days there as there are so many places to see, and so little time. The World Arc fleet leaves Fiji on July 9 for Vanutua so we're moving quickly through some places in the Fiji to try to stay with our friends until they continue west with the fleet- and we stay put.
The reefs off Taveuni are renowned as some of the best dive sites in the world so we're looking forward to snokeling what we can there. The highlands of the island are a rainforest and there are numerous black sand beaches there, as well as hiking trails. Alas, yet another island that we will just skim the surface of but we need to make it to Savusavu for internet, food, and water in the very near future. Rumor has it that there's a cable connecting Australia and Fiji- which provides Fiji with cheap and high speed internet so we are all salivating over that prospect. :)
Suwarrow & Nuie
05 June 2016
We bid Raiatea farewell after provisioning and the World ARC rendezvous and headed northwest for the 500nm sail to Suwarrow on 15 May. The winds started very nicely with 15-20 knots on the stern quarter, but after the first 12 hours they slowed to 5-10 knots and not having a good down-wind sail onboard, we were relegated to motor sailing most of the leg with a single engine (to conserve fuel) and our Code-0 (not our fastest point of sail in very light winds). This has become such a frustration, that Barbara Jean, another boat in the rally heard it and offered us their Parasailor (a cruising spinnaker) to us. They had decided that the sail was too much for their boat and wanted to get rid of it. We jumped on the offer and have used it several times since.
Suwarrow is as remote and deserted an atoll as one can find. Hundreds of miles from the nearest inhabited island, Suwarrow is best known for having a hermit Tom Neale live alone on it for several years in the 1960s. He later wrote a book "An Island to one's own". The atoll has a number of islands dotting its edge, the largest of which is Anchorage Island just inside the passage. Diving there was spectacular with 20 meter visibility, wonderful reefs and lots of sharks (black tip, white tip, grays and just outside the reef, tiger sharks). Hannah enjoyed her time on the SUP with 4 or 5 sharks keeping her company and Kate was a bit spooked by having them follow her and only swam with 21 year old Sam from Wishanger II who would fend them off. Unfortunately lobsters (crayfish) were absent which we blamed on the very warm waters due to El Nino. We spent an afternoon picking up trash (mostly plastic jetsome) from around the island which we took away with us.
After three days there, on May 22, we left Suwarrow for a 300nm sail to Niue, another of the Cook Islands but an independently administered protectorate of New Zealand. This is a very different island known for its caves and caverns that we explored. Because there is no protected harbor there, the Nuie Yacht Club has installed mooring balls in 30-40 meters of water for the visiting cruisers which was very handy as there is little space to anchor in water that is less deep without being too close to the reef. We had a great day bicycling from one cavern to the next along the western coast and then rented a car the following day to see the eastern coast and rest of the island. It was interesting to be out of French Polynesia and into the New Zealand run Cook islands where we could speak the language a bit better and to see the differences in foods in the restaurants and grocery stores.
Society Islands 2
31 May 2016
Ok so I continue this story on May 7th the day before my 21st birthday and Mother's Day! We left Taha'a and headed towards Bora Bora, the land of honeymooners. We were curious to see how Bora Bora differed from other islands in the Society island chain because it had been so much more commercialized as the "once in a lifetime" paradise with the classic over the water bungalow style hotels. We went to the Bora Bora Yacht club that evening and had a lovely evening with "Into the Blue," a World ARC boat. I was also keeping an eye on the clock the whole time because Abby turned 21, 6 hours before me!
My birthday was an absolute blast! We had BACON for breakfast, a commodity that is not found often out here! The boats we traveled with here gave me letters, champagne, and one even baked me a cake and gave me a local ceramic piece. The friends I've made on this trip I believe will last me my lifetime. I hungout with my 20-something crowd for the day, boat hopping, playing Catan, swimming, and of course I went and bought a beer at the local grocery store, even though it hasn't mattered my entire time out here. We had salmon, the very last of our salmon for dinner onboard, all the way from Virginia it has traveled! We had a party at the yacht club with the 5 other boats that were with us, which was amazing, though they were upset with us for being so loud. I could not have asked for a better celebration!
The 9th was a recovery from my birthday for me for most of the morning. Though Kate, Steve, and I went for a hike with three of my best friends on this trip, all three are in better shape than I plan to be in my life. It was a painful hike, if you look up the Bora Bora iconic mountain, we were essentially going straight up that cliff. To give some more perspective on it, we had to check in with the police station before and after the hike so if we didn't return they would know to send out a rescue party. No need to as they told us the hike was "closed" as too many tourists had gotten hurt. But hey did tell us where the trail head was so... We didn't even hike that far up it before we all called it quits. That afternoon we cast off the mooring ball and all together headed over to a different bay on Bora Bora, where the famous "Bloody Mary's" restaurant and bar is. I had my first ever Bloody Mary, very spicy, as one of the Brits said "it's like drinking a pizza". We all went for happy hour there, they keep a huge list of all the famous people that have been there, and it is impressive.
The next morning we left the group and moved over to the south-east side of Bora Bora to an absolutely beautiful, quiet anchorage. We were hoping for more of a snorkeling spot, but the coral did not impress, I think we've just gotten spoiled! The way there we passed at least 5-6 of different hotels, all of the same over the water, bungalow look. It was cool for the first hotel or two but the novelty wears off when all of the accommodations are the same. It was hard to pass strong wifi signal after strong wifi signal, knowing that they wouldn't give a password out to a cruiser. We had a quiet evening onboard with a beautiful sunset. Continued to watch Game of Thrones. We are addicted.
The morning of the 11th we picked up anchor early and made our way back over to the channel out of Bora Bora where our friends were leaving for Taha'a as well so we had a good sail over with them. To say no one was racing would be a lie, whenever you get a few boats heading in the same direction it always becomes a race... we won by the way. The main reason we went back to Taha'a was for the "coral gardens", unfortunately we didn't get in till late so we saved the snorkeling for the next morning. Some of my friends went night diving and we had a movie night on Blue Summit when they finished up.
The coral gardens did not disappoint! All of the group went snorkeling on it the next morning, fairly early because we needed to all move our boats to Raiatea for the rendezvous that evening. We got in the dinghy and headed to shore with everyone and it immediately started to downpour with at least 20 knots of wind so we all took shelter in the palm trees waiting for it to let up so we could walk across the island to the snorkeling spot. That was the best snorkeling of my life, hands down. You would swim through an inlet, like a channel with coral completely surrounding you, and sometimes the channels would veer off and you could explore a different part of the gardens, there was a lot of backtracking as we would hit dead ends of coral that were too shallow to swim over. We saw an octopus and the most amazing range of fish, it was like jumping into an aquarium. And the coral was, of course, spectacular. We made our way over to Raiatea for the gathering and dinner that evening. The group we were traveling with got there last as we did the gardens that morning, and there was no space left! We circled for about an hour trying to figure out where to go, eventually we went about 5 kilometers away to a different mooring field and just took a cab in with a couple other boats that did the same. A few that came over with us tried anchoring just out of the rendezvous point, but they felt so uncomfortable that they had at least one person stay on board and miss the festivities. That night apparently 2 of them dragged on top of each other and another one damaged their engine badly trying to get out of the situation. The rendezvous was fun, there was dancing and a amazing buffet, we all just love getting everyone in the same spot, especially after a period of free sailing.
26 May 2016
After two anchorages on either side of Papeete, it was time to venture to the Municiple Marina smack in the middle of the city- complete with sirens, stoplights, street lights and a lot pedestrian and foot traffic. After months in small towns, remote atolls and at sea, the noise and bustle of the city was somewhat of a shock. We covered much of it on foot tracking down marine stores, Yamaha parts, museums, the botanical garden, as well as simply relaxing in restaurants with friends. We did go on a beautiful hike with Antony and Venetia from "Alcedo of Rhyme", our hiking buddies, to a waterfall in the interior. The hike had several hip high stream crossing, and scrambles up the muddy trail but the waterfall was stupendous- the power from the falling water was unbelievable and the jungle there was lush and full of life. And yes, it rained for over half the hike....
The World ARC had a lovely reception, cocktail party and prize-giving in Papeete. To our surprise, we won the multihull division for the 3000 mile Pacific leg and were 6th overall in that leg. Granted, we have a large handicap but it was still fun to win something. We received a bottle of Tahitian rum and some odd vanilla bath products (that's what we think they are, the writing is in French and we know enough not to eat them).
Having our fill of the city, we left Papeete for Mo'orea, a spectacular island about 10 miles north of Tahiti and spent three days there, hiking, snorkeling with rays and black tip sharks, and completing a few boat projects, the most important of which was putting on our new mainsail! It took four months to get it but we're super happy with it so far. We also learned how to play "Catan" and are now hooked.
We left Mo'orea at sunset on May 3, for an overnight sail to Huahine, in the Leeward Islands of the Society Island, 80 miles north of Mo'orea. Huahine is one of the least developed islands in the Society Islands and is called the "Wild Island". Steve had picked up some bug making it's way through the fleet but Hannah and I escaped it and biked around the island on super cool, one speed Huffy bikes, pastel colored, with BIG seats and baskets. Truly sporty. It was a super island to bike around with a lot of interesting archeological sites, neat churches and a Pearl Farm located in the middle of a lagoon which required an outrigger boat ride to get to. The farm was interesting but our motive for going there was to see the owner who is also a fairly well known potter, Peter Owen. We got lucky and he happened to be in his studio that day and gave Hannah and I a fabulous tour and talked about his work for nearly an hour. Hannah was in heaven. We also celebrated Parker's graduation from the University of South Carolina- a big day for the Jenkins family!
27 April 2016
It's life in the fast lane again for the crew of Blue Summit! After two months of either being at sea or in fairly remote locations (breathtakingly beautiful,but isolated), we are once again in a big, bustling, (and exotic) city. Papeete, is the capital of French Polynesia on the island of Tahiti. Tahiti is the southern-most island in the "Society Islands" which include Mo'orea, Bora Bora, Huahine, Ra'iatea, Maupiti, and Taha'a (spellchecker doesn't like any of them...) and 85% of the population of the Society Islands is located on Tahiti. I believe there are just under a million people on Tahiti so it's a big place!
We arrived at daybreak on Saturday morning, April 24 after a hot and windless sail ("sail" might be stretch, it was a motor really) from Apataki in the Tuamotus. The forecasted winds from the most recent in a parade of lows coming eastward across the Pacific never materialized so we motored most of the 48 hours- yuck! With tiny 29 horsepower engines we don't go anywhere quickly. "Wishanger", who we were sailing with, very nicely reduced rpms so they didn't entirely leave us in the dust- we still had radio contact with them. We pulled into a lagoon on the east side of Papeete, near the Tahiti Yacht Club, and enjoyed a beautiful anchorage tucked inside the reef. Unfortunately we had no sooner anchored than the heavens opened and we were deluged for close to three hours. When it stopped raining, we ventured ashore in search of internet and groceries- both of which we found. After two months of 7-11 size grocery stores, we wandered into a Carrefour superstore- the equivalent of a Wal-Mart superstore, except more upscale. Hannah and I were practically giddy- fruits, veggies, rotisserie chickens, gorgeous meats, cheeses, and all good things French! And it was air-conditioned. I could have moved in and been quite happy.
As we had forgotten our list, we ended up with several bags of marvelous impulse purchases, with maybe a few necessities thrown in for good measure. As luck would have it, it started to rain as soon as we walked out of the store, so we, and the groceries, were fairly soaked by the time we walked back to the dock then dinghied to the boat... Everything was nicely washed by the time we got back to the boat. Turns out baguettes don't like the rain. We ventured out again, for dinner this time, to a nearby Chinese restaurant and feasted on fabulous Chinese food. Of course having the Chinese food menu in French afforded us some nice surprises but we enjoyed a super evening, especially as it was karoake night, a fabulous mix of Polynesian, French and vintage Elvis songs.
Sunday morning we went back to Carrefour, this time armed with a list and even more bags to carry our goodies home in. And again, it poured as we walked back- so much so that we had several inches of standing water in the bags... We put on dry clothes when we got back to the boat, dried everything before putting it away, and hunkered down to watch a movie and eat lunch. Around 3 pm we were all stir-crazy and it looked like the rain had passes so we went ashore and set off on foot for Papeete, about 3-4 miles away. Dry clothes are overrated and within a half an hour, we were drenched again but determined to make it to town. After several months of having very little rain, we've made up for it in two days here.
We moved the boat to the west side of Papeete early this morning to Marina Taina, the only marina that has diesel in Papeete. We are now tucked in behind a reef with a beautiful view of Mo'orea in front of us and the mountains of Tahiti behind us. And the sun has been out all day! Tomorrow we'll move again to the downtown waterfront marina where the World ARC rendezvous will be later this week. The marina is right downtown and will be a super location to explore the city- the public market, historical sites, restaurants etc are all right there. Rumor has it our new mainsail has arrived in Papeete from Sweden on an Air France flight but we have not officially heard if that's true or not. Wehoo!
Tuamotus to Tahiti
27 April 2016 | Tuamotus
Mick Jagger hit the nail on the head when he sang, "You can't always get what you want, but sometimes, you get what you need...". An indecisive low, packing heavy winds finally set out on a course after stalling for a few days and passed about two hundred miles to the west of us- so we are once again on the move, bound for Tahiti after spending three days in Apataki in the Tuamotus, hunkering down from the anticipated north winds (that never materialized).
Apataki was a postcard perfect island in the middle of the Tuamotus. There is a small settlement in the south of the island but we entered the north passage and stayed there as the lagoon is littered with lines from pearl farming and traversing it is a hazard to propellers. We were the only boat when we arrived on Monday afternoon but our friends on "Wishanger" joined us Tuesday at daybreak, followed by "Atlantic," a privately owned 180 ft clipper. We enjoyed two days of snorkeling, reading, eating too much, completing a few needed boat projects and waiting for the low to make up it's mind. After racing through paradise, it was a joy not to haul up the anchor and be on the move every day. The snorkeling was fabulous- both the coral and fish were amazing even with the skies being overcast. Lots of pesky flies were the only downside to the anchorage.
We decided not to head to Rangiroa as planned because of adverse winds and are now bound for Tahiti after struggling to free our anchor and chain from the clutches of several coral heads- Sam on Wishanger kindly donned his dive tank and freed us.... We should arrive early Saturday morning and are all eager for a taste of civilization again! Internet, real supermarkets, fresh fruit, restaurants, and chandleries etc... Our lists keep growing!
Sunburned in the Tuamotus
22 April 2016 | Tuamotus
We continue to travel north and west through the Tuamotus- enjoying the phenomenal marine life, the secluded islands, (many uninhabited), and the laid back spirit of this magical place.
We had three lovely nights on Toau, one in a deserted anchorage, and two in a cul-de-sac in the reef with several buddy boats (including Wishanger, paddle, paddle, paddle.) Anse Amyot was a virtual aquarium with unbelievable coral- we spent a lot of time in the water!
There was one couple who lived on the atoll (no running water or electricity) but they run a "restaurant" and cook meals for cruisers during the busy season. We had a fabulous dinner with them (and 8 other sailing friends)on Saturday. When we went ashore to inquire about dinner(friends had made a "reservation" for us) there was a pig tied up on the dock- dinner. Hannah just about cried when she put one and one together ("look at it's cute face")but after it was roasted on an open fire, she forgot about it's "cute face." I stayed ashore for a while in the afternoon and chatted with Gaston and Valentina as they made coconut bread, shaved the pig and and drank homemade beer. Now I am not sure how pineapple juice, yeast and sugar exactly make beer but whatever it was, it was definitely
alcohol! We had two fish dishes along with the grilled pork, coconut bread and homemade coconut cake for dessert. Valentina had lived on that atoll her whole life- she had some great stories. She was also a fervent Pentecostal (very rare in these French Catholic islands) who invited us to her church (literally it was her and Gaston). I did learn that the Pope is going to hell (he'll have a lot of company because all Catholics will be there)and there's no sex in heaven. How did I ever miss those nuggets in seminary? It was an enlightening two
We are enroute to Apataki now for one night then onto Rangiroa (the biggest and most populous island in the Tuamotus with the 2nd largest lagoon, 1640 sq km, in the world) for a few nights before sailing to Tahiti on Sat/Sun. We are looking forward to having larger grocery stores, bakeries, moderately fast internet and great hiking but not so sure about traffic, pollution and noise.... Our new mainsail should be there this week so we'll spent at least a day sorting that out.