Tahiti and Papeete
07 May 2017 | Tahiti, French Polynesia
Rose is back! Oh how I missed my sailing partner in crime and life over the last few months! Rose had a good flight in from Singapore with Air New Zealand via Auckland and I collected her at Faa'a airport in Papeete and put a flowered lei around her neck. Emerald Sea is back to normal!
We took a mooring ball at Marina Taina for the few weeks we're here. I was reluctant at first as (can you believe this??) they charge 1.5x for a catamaran on a mooring - hello!! That's a first! There is a free anchorage next to the mooring field but is rather full so I thought it safer to take the mooring noting that the fee, at least, comes with a safe/secure docking for the dinghy, garbage disposal, water, showers, toilets, etc.
Our stay in Tahiti has been a mix of pleasure and pain. We certainly stayed longer than I had expected we would. We however had the pleasure renting a car (www.ecocar-tahiti.com; starts at 4200XFP all inclusive) and circumnavigated Tahiti-Nui (big) and Tahiti-Iti (small), viewing its lush rainforest, caves, many rivers and waterfalls and the colorful and varied gardens of the Tahitian homes. Papeete, its capital, bustles and you have to look really hard to find some resemblance of paradise here - its surprisingly downtrodden - one day is enough in this big town! But their large indoor market is pretty cool.
The pain part has been the maintenance. Besides general maintenance and checks, I replaced Emerald's two steering cables (steel for dyneema) which was a rather easy enough task and an overall improvement to the yacht. Then the generator's fuel pump failed and was easily replaced with the spare I had available. But the big headache has been our Honda BF20 outboard. Its troubles began back in Tahanea where it would stall after 15-20mins of running and takes 5-10 mins before it would re-start. I and three other mechanics, including a so-called certified Honda mechanic, have not been able to resolve it. Initially we thought it was the cooling system issue that turned out to be OK. Mechanically it's OK. That left the fuel system - but after changing the fuel itself, pump, plugs, carb, filters it would still continue to stall out after 15-20mins. The Honda mechanic confirmed it was not electronic (I wonder). So, fed up of this, and us being so reliant on our dinghy (its our car after all), I purchased a new Yamaha F20C in Papeete - which I got at the duty free price and a 10% discount - actually a very comparable price as that in the US. So I will try and sell off the remains of the Honda.
The other day we did a complete inventory of the food on Emerald and tossed a lot of old stuff that was out of date or we're just not using. And the fantastic Carrefour grocery store is a 5 min walk away and we managed to re-stuff Emerald - but with a different approach! I slogged and sweated the streets of Papeete seeking out the multitude of small parts that I needed and pretty much found everything. We fueled Emerald up with duty free fuel (US$0.72/liter) and filled up two jerry cans of petrol for the dinghy. On the mooring, we had reasonably good internet from manaspot (pay online) and managed to catch up with banking, family,etc. And researched the future countries we plan to visit.
Tahiti and in particular Papeete didn't make a lasting impression on me. Likely as the last few months in the Tuamotu's were so unusual, extraordinary and beautiful and then coming over here to urban Papeete with its heavy traffic, rush, run down infrastructure, high co$$$t, etc. Just doesn't work that well for me. I will add that the renowned friendliness of the Polynesians continues to exist here in Tahiti as it did in the other islands. However, sitting here on Emerald with a coffee in hand, watching the morning sun rise over Tahiti's lush green hills and Rose doing her morning exercises on the foredeck is a sight to be behold. And ... again a reminder of why I do this.