Savarna Heads for Auckland
10 October 2015
It is now Friday 9th October (Saturday 10th in NZ) and we are motoring at 6 knots with no wind, clear sunny skies and surrounded by the deep blue of the South Pacific. A far cry from 24 hours ago when we were sailing through a frontal system with plenty of rain. We checked out of French Polynesia at BoraBora on Wednesday 7th and were delayed while a schoolboy was brought in and given a real old fashioned telling off ( read policeman yelling at him), last seen crying his eyes out leaving the Gendarmerie. The policeman dealing with our clearance thought it a great joke - it certainly sounded interesting on French.
We arrived back to Papeete two weeks ago and had 3 full days on board before Goran and Birgitta flew in from Sweden. These days were needed as the boat was in need of a good clean inside and out, provisioning required and getting sails back from the sailmaker and reinstalled. Provisioning was partly delayed as we found the fridge was not working despite the work, delays and frustrations at Panama. The fridge guy arrived the day after we got to Papeete, so a good start. But it was a Friday afternoon so he said cannot work Saturday as looking after his children and see you Monday. During Monday morning he said will be completed after lunch, so Pam & Birgitta headed out to the supermarket (huge Carrefore) to stock up on the frozen and chilled stuff. Then we planned to depart Papeete for Moorea about 15 miles away. Monday evening arrived and fridge guy said see you again tomorrow, Tuesday. He had to take home all our frozen and chilled stuff. Tuesday early afternoon after much talking to himself, numerous trips to get more refrigerant and solder, much cutting of nice copper pipes he pronounced the job completed - and it has worked well since thank goodness.
We did manage to take a rental car one day a few hours after Goran & Birgitta arrived and circumnavigated Tahiti, quite an interesting drive and we found a small marine centre up a creek at the bottom of Tahiti, a real hurricane hole we were found a beach for a much needed swim before getting back to Savarna and adjoining across the road to the local bar for happy hour. All the bars in Papeete appear to provide live music or karaoke every night and on this occasion I found myself invited to dance with a very colourful and very large woman (complete with a front tooth missing). Goran thought this hilarious and captured the moment of bliss on film. The lady in question appears on the Kenavo website, fortunately sans yours truly.
Our first sail across to Moorea was quite boisterous and we slide into the bay behind the reef adjoining Cooks Bay, dropped anchor and settled down for a cold beer. The following day we dinghied ashore to check out the Hilton Resort with its bures over the water. Headed off at dusk for the 100 mile overnight sail to Raiatea deciding to miss Huahine because of the bad weather forecast. The relatively rough passage got rather rougher shortly after we sailed through the main pass into Raiatea as the engine alarm sounded and so it was unfurl headsail and cut motor. We sailed around the northern end of Raiatea in by now what were quite windy conditions, with worse coming. Arriving off Apooiti Marina Pam was despatched by dinghy ashore and we sailed backwards and forwards across the bay planning how we could tack up through several moored charter cats and pick up a buoy near the marina entrance. We ultimately did that but with some nervous engine assistance and the help of Eric the marina manager who came out in his dinghy to see why we, the only monohull in sight, were sailing backwards and forwards across his bay.
The following three days it blew hard and rained plenty. We did though manage to track down an electrician/electronics guy (Richard) who, with our help managed four trips to the masthead in poor conditions, so we could install a new cable for the wind gear - now working for the first time since we left Grenada in January. In the meantime Goran and I spent hours trying to determine how the contents of the heat exchanger had found there way into the engine well. We finally found a hose clip completely loose - now tightened and no further problems.
Our planned timetable was already under threat because of the requirement to stay in Papeete
as the prospect of several weeks of warm beer was unthinkable. Still blowing hard and with condensation still apparent we sailed across to the adjoining island of Tahaa and anchored with several other yachts adjacent to a resort and on the edge of the reef. The following day we drift snorkelled through a pass, called the coral garden, which was very cool. It was then time to up anchor and sail across to BoraBora some 20 miles away. Arrived there late afternoon and picked up a mooring bouy off MaiKai marina (really a jetty only) and went ashore for happy hour that eventually ended up as dinner also.
The two cruise ships anchored off meant plenty of activity ashore as we wandered trying to locate an electrician now the power to the generator control unit had failed. Finally had success thanks to the persistence of a nice young waitress at MaiKai restaurant and a guy turned up and in short order tracked down the problem and so we were back in business again with espresso coffee and suchlike treats. Our final night in BoraBora was spent in a delightful calm anchorage in behind the reef and on the western side of the island of Toopua.
The weather window for the 535 mile passage to Rarotonga opened up so we got away last Wednesday. Our track took us westwards for the first 15 hours so we could stay north of some thundery weather to our south so it was Thursday morning before we gybed onto a course that more or less takes us directly to Rarotonga.
Internet access has been poor to find and very very slow, even with a local sim card. Consequently picture time at the next blog posting hopefully from Rarotonga where we should arrive Monday morning NZ time.
> Cheers for now
> Keith & Pam