s/v Charabia

26 May 2018 | Rangiroa, in the Tuamotus Islands in French Polynesia
24 May 2018 | Anchored off Motu Faama in Rangiroa, in the Tuamotus Islands in French Polynesia
23 May 2018 | Anchored in Rangiroa Lagoon in the Tuamotus Islands in French Polynesia
23 May 2018 | Anchored in Rangiroa Lagoon in the Tuamotus Islands in French Polynesia
22 May 2018 | Pacific Ocean on route to French Polynesia
20 May 2018 | Tiputa, French Polynesia
19 May 2018 | Pacific Ocean on route to French Polynesia
19 May 2018 | Pacific Ocean on route to French Polynesia
17 May 2018 | Pacific Ocean on route to French Polynesia
17 May 2018 | Pacific Ocean on route to French Polynesia
16 May 2018 | Pacific Ocean on route to French Polynesia
15 May 2018 | Pacific Ocean on route to French Polynesia
13 May 2018 | Pacific Ocean on route to French Polynesia
13 May 2018 | Pacific Ocean on route to French Polynesia
12 May 2018 | Pacific Ocean on route to French Polynesia
11 May 2018 | Pacific Ocean on route to French Polynesia
09 May 2018 | Pacific Ocean on route to French Polynesia
09 May 2018 | Pacific Ocean on route to French Polynesia
08 May 2018 | Pacific Ocean on route to French Polynesia
07 May 2018 | Pacific Ocean on route to French Polynesia

Exploring but no Blue Lagoon!

26 May 2018 | Rangiroa, in the Tuamotus Islands in French Polynesia
Helen/Mark
Up early but it was raining for most of the morning. I actually started washing some clothes and waiting for the sun to shine to hang them out on the lifelines. Got in the dinghy and headed two small islands over. It was shallow getting into the water in-between and we could only motor so far, then walked to the beach area. Not sure if they call a lot of coral ground up a beach or not. Mark secured the dinghy with the small anchor and we walked to the end. We were surprised by a group of about a dozen people on a tour. They were wading in the water and then some were snorkeling as they explored the area. It was similar to yesterday with the mountainous pieces of jagged coral rocks all over edge. These structures were preventing everyone from getting to the ocean side. We did a bit of snorkeling. Yes, there were fish in the water. Lots of rock. When we stepped on the rock, some of it was sharp. No cuts, just hurtful. We spoke to a few of the people. Mostly French, but spoke some English. The guide was wondering where we came from We said our boat is anchored off the next motu. We headed back to the dinghy and walked the dinghy to the next motu over. It had much deeper water and we were able to motor all the way out and back into the Lagoon. As we motored back to Charabia, it started raining pretty hard. We were up on plane and the drops of rain felt like sleet on my face. Showered and had a nice lunch, sitting out around the cockpit table. Then Mark said we should head towards the Blue Lagoon. We planned to anchor overnight and explore in the morning before heading back to Tiputa. We started our trip way too late. It was around 16 miles and we motor/sailed to get us there faster. The wind was behind us until we made the final turn. We only arrived at the anchorage as the sun set. The spot that was recommended was in around 55 feet. We didn't have enough light to head in closer. Plus the wind was high as were the waves. Way too bouncy to stay overnight. No protection from the wind and waves. So, we turned around and are now heading back to our first anchorage at Tiputa. It will take us 4+ hours to get there. So, we are out on the bouncy water in the dark once again. Mark also noticed that our starboard stay is starting to fray at the top. That means that it needs to be replaced as it has lost some of it's strength. We just replaced the rigging a year ago. It was a much cooler day today with the cloud cover and so much rain. There were several rainbows. We got to see a beautiful sunset over the islands. Then a big rainbow appeared in the opposite sky. Lots of orange and pink colors painted the sunset sky. I was looking forward to the Blue Lagoon, but it was not possible. Thankfully our gps has all the way points set. We will be back before long. No internet today. Maybe we will venture by the cafe tomorrow.

Motu Faama - Rangiroa, French Polynesia - Thursday, May 24, 2018

24 May 2018 | Anchored off Motu Faama in Rangiroa, in the Tuamotus Islands in French Polynesia
Helen/Mark
Had quite a few rain showers after the sun set. We selected the movie, First Wives Club, which was entertaining for our evening. Got up early. After breakfast dinghied to the pier in hope that the cafe was open early. No such luck. No internet for us today. The once- a-week small ocean freighter delivered goods to the island at 4 am. By the time we got there, most of the goods were all over the pier. There was a line up of residents and shop keepers picking up their orders. It would have been a good day to stay put because the local shops would have had fresh fruits and veggies, but we had already planned to head out. Left around 9 am. Anchor came up without issue. We first motored Charabia in two 360 degree circles, in order to reset/linearize the wind instrument. That seemed to work. We then hoisted the main sail and then added a reefed jib as winds were already up to 19 knots. They actually increased to over 20 kts as we sailed. Had great speed on our 3-hour cruise to Motu Faama. Rangiroa is made up of hundreds of tiny islands around in a huge circle with the Lagoon in the middle. Each island is called a Motu. We sailed 16+ miles across to the south side, based on the Soggy Paws cruising notes that Mark had downloaded. Good deep water the whole way. It was turquoise blue waters until we got close to the Motu. We dropped the anchor in 30+ feet of water. We could start to see some darker coral heads closer to shore. We both snorkeled out to check the anchor. Also swam over to the coral head but it was at least 8 feet down. Lots of tiny fish and a few bigger ones. Mark dove down to check the anchor and it was dug in nicely to the sandy bottom. There was not much to see other than a white bottom. I made lunch and then we tried to take a rest. Mark fell asleep. I was trying to sleep in the cockpit too, but the sun wasn't staying behind our shades. Once he woke up, we dinghied to shore with our snorkel gear. We headed for the center of the water between Faama and the next Motu. There were plenty of rocks and coral on the bottom and it got shallow enough that we got out and walked until we hit a little deeper water. We motored close to what looked like a driveway lined with coral and rock. We anchored the dinghy and walked to shore. We just had flip flops on, so it was tricky walking. We walked up the path and the sides were lined with jagged pieces of rock. Mark called them fossilized coral. They had pointy sharp edges. We could see where the ocean was breaking on the coral, but all of that was the outside of these structures. There was no way to climb over them or go between them. We tried getting into the water to walk around to our dinghy but gave up and retraced our steps. Much easier and we didn't want to slip or fall. Made it back to the dinghy and motored down a side channel. There was a tiny house on the one side. The water was too shallow for our dinghy so we headed back out. Later we could hear some drilling or sawing from that location. We saw a power boat drop someone off on the beach earlier. Once we got back to Charabia, we noticed another catamaran further up the coast, maybe several islands away. We walked the beach close to our boat. Faama was full of coconut trees and someone was in the process of picking them. There were several coconuts piled in different places on the sandy beach. Some of them were split in two and looked to be out drying in the sun. I was tempted to find one on the ground, but Mark wouldn't let me take one. We are back on the boat relaxing. We just saw a small rainbow so we could be in for some rain. No rain so far today. That would be a first since we arrived here. We will take the dinghy to the end of the next island and check it out. It's called, Motu Fenuaroa. We are about 16 miles from the Blue Lagoon. Not sure if we are planning to visit it. That seems to be a popular tourist outing. Enjoying beautiful waters in a protected place. All I can say is that the scenery is like the Paradise depicted in several movies. Not hard to take!! Sun is about to set and am hoping to have a clear horizon today!!

No Baguettes! Wednesday, May 23, 2018

23 May 2018 | Anchored in Rangiroa Lagoon in the Tuamotus Islands in French Polynesia
Helen/Mark
Mark did more research on our next move. I also read several of our guide books. Caught up on the emails received yesterday. Thanks to all who sent them! It rained a few more times, but each time for less than a minute. Just enough to wash our deck. It was a lot more rocky for sleeping last night. It felt like we were back on the ocean leg. The wind shifted more to the south-east. Slept thru till about 6 am. Got up and had breakfast. Still did more research. I composed a lovely email with another picture from yesterday's shore time and it had ready to send when we headed to shore. The cafe was open. We got some drinks and sat down and the email never did send. That's how great their internet is on this island. Will try to send it at a later time. We ordered a bottle of water and can of soda. Later we ordered some french fries when Mark saw someone else order it. Even french fries took half an hour or longer to materialize. They served them with something that tasted like tomato soup. I guess it was an alternative for ketchup. It was a small portion for close to $10. We gave up on the slow internet and walked to the store about a block away. It was one that we visited yesterday. The guidebook and cruisers had spoken of ordering fresh baguettes the day before you pick them up. However, they informed us there were none today or tomorrow. I guess they only make them on the weekends. This place cannot be related to France. I have not seen any pastries or croissants. Or bakeries for that matter. We gave up and returned to the boat. We each took a rest as that tired us out for some reason. It was nice to get a walk in. We took the dinghy to a different place to snorkel today. It was very nice too. Large structures of coral and many, many fish. We changed the one-step ladder that Mark put out for me and this time it worked well. We headed closer to where our boat was anchored and snorkelled the reefs which are in shallower waters. Tiny fish on most of the coral. One bigger structure had bigger fish. On the way to the boat, we said hello to two Canadian boats. One was from Toronto and the other from Victoria. Other boats are from New Zealand, USA, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland and France, Some boats have left and others have arrived. Busy place for cruisers. Someone asked if there was an airport, and yes, there is one on the island that we went to yesterday. Mark says it has two flights a week, but we have not been here a week and we have already seen half a dozen planes take off. There is also several ferry boats that come to the dock and pick up or deliver passengers to this island. One small boat goes back and forth to Tiputa on the other island that we already visited. One of the ladies on the Canadian boat, Shamata, was asking if we needed crew as she wanted to get to Papeete, the capital city of Tahiti. We really cannot take on crew without being fully responsible, including paying for their food, health care and their flight back to their home. Showered when we got back to the boat. Then Mark worked on installing a white light, replacing the colored led that died. It's over the table in the cockpit. So, now we have light for our dinner. I did some clean up of the rigging that started to rust. I also worked on some of the stanchions too. So, hopefully what I used will keep the rust away. Our plan is to head out tomorrow mid morning. It's almost 20 miles to the south end of the lagoon. We need to have good light for spotting coral along our route. It will give us an opportunity to see more of this island. There is someone who likes building fires, most likely burning trash, with the wind coming right into our boat. Don't like to breathe smoke. Also, the tourist boats like to go thru the boats in the anchorage at top speed which wakes our boat. I motioned for them to slow down. Well one boat actually went by our boat while I was still working on the metal wax and he went by slowly and then gunned the motor!! I guess you could call that progress! No real sun set as the sun was totally behind clouds. The breeze is more from the south and quite a bit lighter. It's definitely is cooler now that sun is down.

Checked in!! Tuesday, May 22, 2018

23 May 2018 | Anchored in Rangiroa Lagoon in the Tuamotus Islands in French Polynesia
Helen/Mark
Up early. Decided to dinghy over to the cafe and see about downloading some boat documents to our Agent. Unfortunately, the cafe did not open for breakfast. We ran into the couple on Galivant who gave us some information on the Gendarmes location. They suggested we talk to the dive shop, which we did. We thought about taking the dinghy to their location, but they were located in-between our location and the other end of the island, village of Avatoru. Another suggestion was to dinghy over to the fancy resort, Kia Ora, near us. The resort with the individual bungalows out on the water. That's what we did. We tied our dinghy to their beautiful huge pier dock and walked thru the resort to the check in area. We asked about rentals. They had bicycles, scooter and cars for rent. We selected their really small electric car. Did I mention that it was small? It had two seats, but one was in front of the other, similar to a small airplane. I could barely get in the back. Good thing I have long legs. There was no room in-behind. The doors lifted up and there was no glass in the windows. Mark was able to make 69 kilometers per hour, which was the max speed. We headed over to the other side of the island. There was only one road. In places we could see some houses on the water on both sides. Beautiful locations for a home. We found the Gendarmerie because it had a big sign in front of it. We rang the bell and they told us to come in. We were met by a gentleman who spoke English. He asked a few questions, but really not much. Mark gave him our documents and he was asked to fill out two forms. It only took Mark about 15 minutes and our check in process was complete. Very smooth and easy! We then took the completed form to the post office and mailed it to the Tahiti location. At the post office, someone leaving told us to take a number. So, we took a number and it was the very next number as there was only one or two ahead of us. Mark was told that the entire island had poor internet as it's satellite based and slow. They are in the process of connecting to Hawaii via a fiber optic cable. However, that won't be in place for another year. No internet cafe because the connections take so long. We toured the island. The island was very narrow in places. The other interesting thing was that every so often the land ended and there was something like a canal entrance, mostly with not much water coming thru from the ocean outside to the lagoon inside. It was a whole series of separate tiny islands joined together by the main road and bridges. A few of them had enough water from the lagoon side to store some small boats. We stopped at a few of the island's grocery stores. Each one had a fair amount of goods. However, everything was very expensive. I was really looking for some vegetables. Other than onions, potatoes and garlic, there was little else. I bought some very expensive gouda cheese and not much else. There were no fresh meat/fish/chicken, only some freezers with frozen items. Only one of the stores had ice cream! We drove the other way on the island and ended up at our pier beside the anchorage. We were able to connect to the cafe's internet as Mark was still trying to send documents to our agent via email. Then we got some more rain, and not having windows, were worried about getting wet. The rain was not heavy and didn't last long and it was time to return the car. We retrieved our dinghy at the dock. The views out to the lagoon were spectacular. After lunch, we were going to go snorkel, but some dark clouds rolled in. We got a little more rain. Then it cleared and we took the dinghy to the pier and revisited the cafe. We got some email and sent out an update with one picture. Apparently, that does work. The cafe closed at 6, which is sunset time. We headed back and took a quick shower as the sun was setting. After dinner, we sat out on our deck and checked out the night sky. Lots of stars. Mark pointed out the Southern Cross. The breeze was pretty cool and refreshing. Our cabin temperature is 85 degrees. The days are hot here, but the breeze makes it bearable. Looks like our wind has died for the first time since we arrived. Our boat is pointing more to the south as all the boat have shifted as well. We are both tired and ready to call it a day. Mark is researching the Blue Lagoon area. It's about 20 miles from here. We may spend another day here as there are many other great snorkelling areas and then head to the other end of the lagoon. I just wanted to say thank you for all the comments on Facebook. I can only access FB from my tablet, so I took those pictures from the pier and cafe prior to posting them. Also, want to thank cousins, Brian & Vickie, for posting a picture of our track from Jacksonville to French Polynesia. That was beautiful! We highly recommend this part of French Polynesia!

Tiputa, French Polynesia - Monday, May 21, 2018

22 May 2018 | Pacific Ocean on route to French Polynesia
Helen/Mark
After dinner, we watched the movie, The Hunt for Red October, which was Mark's choice. I was so tired and falling asleep. But I got my second wind and enjoyed the whole movie. Mark got tired and wanted to stop before the movie was over. We both watched it thru the end. Then headed to bed and it was only around 9 pm. The sun sets at 6 pm and within a half hour, it's pitch dark. We looked around at the 20 boats in our anchorage and they were all in darkness. Not sure if people were tired but not many made it to 10 pm. Woke up thru the night with cramps in my legs and feet. I thought I drank a lot of water thru the day. I usually mix some coconut water in my glass. I put on some arnica and had some coconut water and they went away. We were up around 6 am. Had breakfast and got things ready for our check in process. Mark printed off several copies of our Crew List. We took the dinghy over to the island on the other side of the entrance channel. They had a pier with some tie ups. I tried to throw our line around it but kept missing. Some kind gentleman came over and got it. Then offered a hand for me to climb onto the pier. How nice was that! He did not speak English but told Mark he needed to tie up on the other side of a small tour boat. Mark also put out the dinghy anchor as the waves were bashing into the shore. He finally got the anchor to hold in some rocks close to shore. As we walked up we could hear a crowd of people cheering loudly. Apparently, we didn't know that today was a French holiday. They were playing volleyball in the arena. It looked like several places were setting up for some celebrations, maybe to do with the holiday. Not many people spoke English, but we were directed to the police station. This was not the correct place as we need the Gardome office, but we gathered it was a holiday and no one was working. No one told us it was a holiday. We knew it was a holiday in Canada. The lady gave us instructions to get to the customs' building by walking around this island, but it turned out we had to go to another island. We did the walk which was a couple of miles in length, walking past the entrance channel and then around on the ocean side. The waves were very large and crashing into the shoreline. I was sweating from the heat. There was a breeze which was our saving grace. After 20 days on the boat with little walking, this was huge. We noticed a couple of stores and some houses but not a lot more. We walked long enough to come back to the same town center. We picked up a couple of things at one of the small grocery stores and headed back to the dinghy. Mark deposited a bag of trash that we brought over with us. Then we headed back to the boat. We stopped and spoke with a couple of the cruising boats. Mostly everyone checked in at another island. We did find out that they had some internet at a local cafe. So, we headed there for lunch. I put together a nice email with several pictures, only to find that it would not send my email. The internet is barely 2g here, so I should not have included more than a picture. I got my emails and checked some news. We were able to make a few phone calls using Whatsapp. Lunch took forever which gave us time on the internet. I agree there were lots of people at the cafe, mostly from the cruising boats. It was expensive too!! We went back to the boat and got into our swimsuits and took our snorkels as we were told there were mooring balls set up by the tiny island in the channel. Sure enough we tied up and got into the water. It was the most amazing place to snorkel. A huge number of fish of all sizes and colors adorned the very clear water. Mark took pictures with our underwater camera. I noticed one nurse shark swimming away and could not find him again to show Mark. We swam back to the dinghy and managed to get out of the water. Mark made up a rope ladder to help me get into the dinghy, but it needed to be rigid...still it helped elevate me enough for Mark to pull me into the dinghy. On the way back to the boat we picked up Mark's rigging tool and headed over to the other Fountaine Pajot Athena (same model as ours) sailboat in the anchorage. Mark tested his and ours. We had a lovely visit with Robert and guests, Eva and her husband, Don. This boat was 4 years newer than ours, but looked identical. They even had the same layout as ours. Headed back to the boat and showered. Then sat out on the front deck to dry. I'm not sure why I'm so tired. Maybe it's the heat. Ready to have a bite to eat and then we will be retiring early.

Arrived in Tiputa, French Polynesia! Sunday, May 20, 2018

20 May 2018 | Tiputa, French Polynesia
Helen/Mark
We had good winds overnight. A 30 knot squall hit just before dawn with Mark reefing the jib, in order for him to practice reefing the jib in the rain one more time. We both had a short 2nd sleep. We were only a few miles out and I was trying to slow the boat down. We had a 'titch' of the jib out and we were still making speeds of 5 & 6. I took us off our rhumb line and closer to the wind and we finally saw a decrease in speed. There was a lovely rainbow over Tiputa but we never saw any rain this morning. Mark started the water maker for an hour, just to top off our tank. Several dinghies and small tour boats were coming out the channel as we were making our way through. There were no issues coming in the pass. We had the wind and current behind us. We motored into the lagoon and into the wind to take the main sail down. The lagoon is a body of water 15 by 45 miles. Around the corner was the anchorage and there were approximately 20 boats already there. The first sailboat we passed by was a French boat and the owner made his way to the transom at the back of his boat, in full view of us, and peed over the side. Apparently, it was either a Welcome to France or a French thing to do. Now really? I was disgusted. We headed in closer to shore and dropped the hook but we ended up too close to one of the sailboats already anchored. He was standing in his cockpit with hands on hips which is the international sign for 'you are too close'. We waved to him but there was no friendly response. There were a couple of boats leaving at this time and they opened up a good area for us to anchor. Second time was successful. It was just 10:30 am. I was tired and ready for a nap. Mark decided to sleep in the cockpit but was unable to fall asleep as there was lots of activity with dinghies and boats going back and forth. I slept very well. To our port side is one of those Polynesian Resorts, with individual thatched roof bungalows built out on the water. Each with their own swimming area. They include a dock and ladder in order to go swim or sun bathe. There is a beach along the shoreline with a light brown tint. The water color is to die for. It's several shades of crystal clear blue. By the time I woke up it was lunch time. We still had plenty of food, so put together a lovely omelet, including oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for dessert. Mark talked about swimming on the anchor, so we both got our our snorkel gear and swimsuits and jumped in. We are anchored in 32 feet of water and we could see the bottom.! There are several coral heads down below with a wide variety of fish. At one point, I thought I saw a couple of baby sharks, but Mark said they were just type of fish. It felt great to be in the water. I did regret not taking the underwater camera. Mark checked the anchor and it is buried in a sandy patch. Showered when we got back to the boat. Then started working on launching the dinghy. Helped Mark put the dinghy motor on. We are all ready to head in tomorrow to begin the check in process. We need to receive a Bond Letter from our agent which we cannot do without wifi. We do not have any internet. And to top things off, our satellite does not want to work. That may require a new unit to be shipped to us in Tahiti as we don't think the mail service is very good at this island. The stiff breeze has remained all day. We could see some dark clouds in the sky and expected rain any time, but none came. After 20 days, we are here at anchor. All I can say is that this was a very tough and challenging leg. Charabia is moving back and forth in the breeze, but we are no longer pounding! Looking forward to heading to shore tomorrow. Will send out an email with pictures, if we get some internet time. Happy Sunday!!
Vessel Name: Charabia
Vessel Make/Model: Fountaine Pajot / Athena
Hailing Port: Jacksonville, FL
Crew: Mark &Helen
About:
We are both computer folks that were live aboard cruisers back in the 90s. We settled in Jacksonville Florida after escaping the great white north and cruising the Bahamas, T&C, DR and points south down to Trinidad. [...]
Extra: Charabia is a French slang word for nonsense or gibberish. It derives from Arabic "sharab" which means alcohol.When you drink (too much) alcohol, you start talking Charabia. The original owners named her and Mark liked the name so it stuck.
Charabia's Photos - Main
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Upgrades and maintenance to Charabia
79 Photos
Created 27 June 2017
72 Photos
Created 16 May 2015
46 Photos
Created 15 May 2015
72 Photos
Created 7 April 2015
95 Photos
Created 4 April 2015
106 Photos
Created 31 March 2015
Get the boat ready to cruise.
10 Photos
Created 14 March 2015