Steen Rally

Follow us on our sailing adventure from France to Australia

30 December 2015 | Sydney
29 July 2015 | Sydney
15 January 2015 | Sydney
22 December 2014 | Sydney
21 November 2014 | Cairns, Australia
02 November 2014 | Cairns, Australia
21 October 2014 | Port Vila, Vanuatu
01 October 2014 | Fiji
20 September 2014 | Fiji
08 September 2014 | Fiji
24 July 2014 | Neiafu, Tonga
06 July 2014 | Tahaa. French Polynesia
23 June 2014 | Moorea
23 June 2014 | Moorea
15 June 2014 | Papeete, Tahiti
14 May 2014 | Marquesas, French Polynesia

French Polynesia, Society Islands - Part 1

26 August 2014 | Fiji
Voahangy
French Polynesia, Society Islands – June 13 to 28, 2014

Tahiti and Moorea

2 nights sailing under a full moon, and we’ve arrived in Tahiti. The harbour is as busy as I remember, with ferries, tour boats, and fishing trawlers going backwards and forwards. We planned to tie up to the “Quai des Yachts” in downtown Papeete as we did in 2008, except that the waterfront was undergoing major renovation works and was totally fenced off! The only option was to anchor 5nm further south, past the airport, in the bay of Punnauia, near the marina Taina. Our hope to secure a marina berth there were dashed when we saw the sea of masts on approach. Even the 143 mooring buoys in the bay are occupied and we were told to anchor in the dedicated area on the land side. This is where the entire cruising fleet is located, nearly 100 boats. Fortunately, as in Panama, Papeete is a main hub where boats come and go every day so finding an anchoring spot is not too hard. The marina makes a free dinghy dock available, which is very nice of them as it allows every crew to get ashore and walk the 5mn to the Carrefour supermarket, provision to their heart content, and wheel the trolleys back to the dinghy dock!

We certainly made full use of the facility after a disappointing day in town. Anne and I went in one Saturday morning, looking forward to a bit of girls shopping. Everything was so quiet, from the market to the fashion stores, we were looking for clothes and food, came back with books and tools from the hardware store! As the cab fare costs 5000CFP ($50) to the city, we never went back there, the shopping centre next to the marina ending up our hang out of choice, with computers and phones for the boys, clothes for Anne (who would have thought Carrefour would qualify as a fashion store!), cosmetics and gourmet food for me! Somehow we managed to fill a whole week going nowhere, as we also attempted to have our computers serviced with a local IT operator, caught up with emails and school updates. Even the clearance with the harbour master was done online, sparing us a trip to Papeete’s main wharf. Luckily we toured the island on our previous visit, so we didn’t feel that we missed out.

Anyway, Tahiti was always going to be a “technical and provisioning” stopover, before heading out to the more coveted destination of Moorea, 20nm to the west. Very few anchorages are as pretty and protected as the one in Opunohu Bay: tucked in 3 meters of crystal clear waters, between the fringing reef and a sandy beach, we wake up to the sight of the hills and sip cocktails watching the most beautiful sunsets over the ocean. A perfect base to hike ashore or snorkel around, it is not the most secluded place, as I counted a dozen boats anchored, still we found it ideal to while away a week or two. We were joined by ROCKSTAR, LA ROCHELLE, and MOON JOOS (boats we met in Panama and Fakarava), who provided us with great company for sundowners, wakeboarding sessions, snorkelling excursions, and ray feeding expeditions. The latter takes place in a dedicated area called Stingray City, about 2 miles from the anchorage. The dinghy ride over there is a little hairy, as the channel weaves its way thru numerous coral patches. It is not only shallow but also very narrow, marked by concrete poles, some of which have been knocked over by unwary dinghies. But there is no mistaking the feeding grounds: unless one arrives before 9am, there are tour boats, jet skis, and canoes, all vying for the rays attentions. And black tip sharks too! The fish are harmless, in fact, they’re so used to humans, they behave like pets. The rays come and shuffle under your feet, they will swim up to your chest and neck if they sense that you have food (tuna works well!) and generally swing by close enough for you to pat them on the wings. Anne and Marc loved it so much, we had to go back 4 times, before they decided they had enough of the circus.

In dire need for exercise, one morning, I dragged Terry on a 13klm hike to the belvedere viewpoint : the walk took us thru the Opunohu Agricultural Domain, passing a prawn farm, cattle in paddocks, pineapple fields, the agricultural college selling locally made jams and chutneys, and archeological sites before finally reaching the lookout. To me, this was just as exciting as the magnificent view of the 2 bays and Mt Rotui. Terry would have appreciated it more, had he not suffered the after effects from heavy partying the night before…still, he soldiered on and we both returned to the boat very stiff and sore. The only walking we did afterwards, was to the Hilton resort and the Lilikoi café, both 10 minutes down the road: while one charged a fortune for drinks over the lagoon in a 5 star environment, the other offered more reasonably priced paninis and sandwiches for lunch in a tropical garden. As an added bonus, café owners, Laurence and her husband Kei, have travelled the world and share similar stories of mixed cultures (she is French, he is Japanese American from Hawaii). We ended up eating there a few times, Terry and the kids going back for Laurence’s yummy food, while I enjoyed her conversation more.

We had only planned on a 5-day stay in Moorea, but as often happens, we had such a great time with other boats, that it was hard to leave. Then the weather turned foul, with strong winds and squalls blowing from the west. It didn’t take much convincing for us to hang around for another 5 days, as obviously there was plenty to do while waiting for a weather window. When the conditions finally turned favourable, it turned out we were not the only ones itching to move. Heading out the pass with us, were another 3 yachts, bound for Huahine, our next stopover.

Polynesie francaise, Iles de la Societe – du 13 au 28 Juin, 2014

Tahiti et Moorea

Apres 2 nuits de navigation sous la pleine lune, nous voici arrives a tahiti. Le traffice dans le port est aussi charge que dans mes souvenirs, avec les ferries, les bateaux de touristes et les chalutiers allant dans tous les sens. On avait prevu d’amarrer au Quai de yachts en plein centre de Papeete, comme ne 2008, mais le front de mer étant en pleins travaux, le quai était inaccessible ! La seule option fut de mouiller a 5 miles plus au sud, au dela de l’aeroport, dans la baie de Punaauia pres de la marina Taina. Notre espoir d’obtenir une place au ponton s’est volatilise en approchant l’ocean de mats au mouillage. les 143 corps morts dans la baie sont tous occupes et la capitainerie nous a diriges vers la zone de mouillage cote terre. C’est la que la flotte de plaisance se trouve, pres de 100 voiliers. Heureusement, comme Panama, Papeete est un « hub » ou les bateaux vont et viennent tous les jours, donc trouver un endroit pour se garer n’est pas trop difficile. . La marina met un dinghy dock a la disposition des voiliers, tres sympa de leur part car ca permet aux equipages d’aller a terre et se rendre a Carrefour, 5 mn a pied, faire les courses et ramener les chariots au ponton !

On a certainement profite de cette facilite apres une journee en ville tres decevante. Anne et moi ys ont allees un samedi matin, pensant faire les magasins entre filles. Tout était tres calme, entre le marche et les boutiques de mode, on cherchait des fringues et de la nourriture, on est revenues chargees de livres et d’outils trouves a la quincaillerie ! Comme le taxi coute 5000CFP (40 euros) pour aller en ville, on n’y est jamais revenues, preferant le centre commercial pres de la marina. Multimedia pour les hommes, vetements pour Anne (qui aurait cru que Carrefour passerait pour un magasin de mode !), cosmetiques et gastronomie pour moi ! Sans trop savoir pourquoi on a reussi a occuper une semaine entiere en allant nulle part, car en plus on a essayer de faire reparer nos ordinateurs avec un operateur local, tout en nous occupant de mises a jour scolaires et de douzaines de mails. Meme les formalites d’entree etaient faisables en ligne, nous epargnant ainsi une visite a la gare maritime de Papeete. Par chance, on avait déjà fait le tour de l’ile il ya 6 ans, donc on n’a pas rate grand-chose.

De toutes facons, tahiti allait toujours etre une escale technique, avant de nous diriger vers la plus desirable destination qu’est Moorea, 20 miles plus a l’ouest. Peu de mouillages sont aussi beaux et proteges que celui d’Opunohu bay : blotis dans 3 metre de fonds, entre le recif et la plage de sable, on se reveille en face des montagnes et prenons l’apero en damirant les plus beaux couchers de soleil sur l’ocean. Une base parfaite pour partir en randonnee ou faire du snorkelling, ce n’est pas l’endroit le plus isole, comme en temoigne la douzaine de voiliers stationes, cependant on l’a trouve suffisament sympa pour y passer une semaine ou 2. Rejoints par ROCKSTAR, LA ROCHELLE, et MOON JOOS (des equipages rencontres a panama et Fakarava), ca nous fait de la compagnie pour les aperos, les seances de wakeboard, excusrions snorkelling et operations « nourrissage de rays ». ces dernieres se font dans une zone speciale Stingray City, a 2 miles du mouillage. Le trajet en annexe est un peu ole ole, avec un chenal qui serpente entre de multiples patates de corail. Non seulement c’est peu profond mais c’est aussi tres etroit, balise par des poteaux en ciment, dont certains ont été renverses par des annexes inattentifs. Ceci dit on ne peut pas rater la zone de nourrissage : a moins d’arriver avant 9h, on trouve des bateaux de touristes, jet skis et canoes, tous rivalisant pour attirer l ;attnetion des raies. Et des requins a pointe noire aussi ! Les poissons sont inoffensifs, en fait, ils sont tellement habitues a la presence des humains qu’ils se comportent comme des animaux de compagnie. Les raies viennnent vous chatouiller les pieds, montent jusqu’à votre poitrine et votre cou si elles sentent que vous avez de la nourriture (elles aiment particulierement le thon !) et de manière generale elles s’approchent assez pour qu’on puisse caresser leurs ailes. Anne et marc ont tellement adores qu’on y est revenus 4 fois, avant qu’ils se lassent.

En manque cruel d’exercise, un matin j’ai entraine Terry avec moi pour une randonnee de 13 kilometres. Objectif : le belvedere et son point de vue panoramique. Nous avons traverse le domaine agricole d’Opunohu, passe une ferme de crevettes, des elevages de bœufs, des plantations d’ananas, le college d’agriculture avec sa boutique vendant chutneys et confitures produits sur place, et different sites archeologiques avant d’atteindre le sommet. Pour moi, c’était tout aussi fascinant que la vue magnifique sur les 2 baies et Mt Rotui. Terry aurait mieux apprecie s’il ne souffrait pas des effets d’une nuit de fete la veille…il a persevere malgre tout et nous sommes tous deux rentres au bateau pleins de courbatures. Les randonnes suivantes se sont limitees au Hilton et cafe Lilikoi, situes a 10mn du mouillage : l’un coute une fortune pour un apero avec vue sur le lagon et une ambiance 5 etoiles, l’autre offre des paninis et casse-croutes a des pirx raisonnables pour un dejeuner dans un jardin tropical. En prime, les proprietaires du cafe, laurence et son epoux Kei, ont parcouru le globe et partagent des experiences de cultures mixtes comparables aux notres (elle est francaise, il est americain d’origine japonaise ayant vecu a Hawaii). Nous avons frequente le cafe pas mal de fois, terry et les enfants goutant a la bonne cuisine de Laurence, pendant que j’appreciais les seances de papotage avec elle.

Nous avions prevu une escale de 5 jours a Moorea, mais comme d’habitude, on s’est tellement plus avec la compagnie d’autres voiliers qu’on a eu du mal a bouger. Et puis la meteo s’est amochee, avec des vents forts et des grains venat de l’ouest. Il n’en a pas fallu de peu pour decider de rester 5 jours de plus, vu qu’il y avait pas mal de choses a faire en attendant une meilleure fenetre meteo. Quand les conditions s’y sont pretees, il s’est avere que nous n ;etions pas les seuls a avoir la bougeotte. 3 autres bateaux nous ont suivis a travers la passe, faisant le cap sur Huahine, notre prochaine escale.
Comments
Vessel Name: VOAHANGY
Vessel Make/Model: Lagoon 560
Hailing Port: Sydney
Crew: Terry, Voahangy, Marc, Anne Steen
About:
Terry, 71, skipper, ex-pilot, surfer, aerobatics champion, can fix anything, never sea sick, loves a beer, hates the cold, is happiest anchored off a deserted beach. [...]
VOAHANGY's Photos - Main
84 Photos
Created 20 November 2014
2 glorious months, cruising various parts of Fiji. So many different experiences in one country: lush rainforests, colourful indian towns, blue lagoons, traditional villages, great fishing, fancy resorts... And the best part was sharing the cruising with family and friends. Can't beat Fiji with company! Here is a collection of our favourite moments (and there are a few!!!)
1 Photo | 8 Sub-Albums
Created 12 October 2014
Some of the whales actions we witnessed in Tonga, to read with the Whales action post by Anne!
7 Photos
Created 1 October 2014
Whale watching, snorkelling, bonfires, making new friends...One of the most remote and austere destination, far away from big tourism, with friendly people holding on to their traditions. Weather a bit chilly, but who cares???
46 Photos
Created 10 September 2014
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Created 25 July 2014
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Created 30 June 2014
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Created 28 June 2014
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Created 23 June 2014
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Created 15 May 2014
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Created 11 May 2014
40 Photos
Created 30 March 2014
1 Photo | 3 Sub-Albums
Created 15 March 2014
The time finally came to leave...a month of celebrations and sadness!
30 Photos
Created 5 March 2014
Another holiday within the holiday! Spent 13 fantastic days in Whistler, British Columbia joined by Aussie friends David and Denise. First time on skis for them, perfecting camps for Marc and Anne, loads of fun for everyone.
70 Photos
Created 8 February 2014
Nothing like having family and friends coming for a visit in the sun. Lots of eating, drinking, swimming, laughing...showing everyone our small paradise.
99 Photos
Created 30 January 2014
End of school year in Puerto, many get togethers before flying off to Paris for a family Christmas.
25 Photos
Created 23 January 2014
Day of the Dead festival, a friend visiting from Australia, Anne participating in her first martial arts tournament,...As usual a lot of eating and socialising!
40 Photos
Created 2 December 2013
68 Photos
Created 6 November 2013
Having visitors means putting on our tour guide hat "Voahangy & Co in Mexico", much exploring and eating: ruins, cenotes, beaches, villages, markets,... . I shared Mexican cooking lessons and was repaid with Dutch baking classes from our French guest. We ate a lot of cakes this month! So much sugar, no candies needed for Halloween this year, just parties...
74 Photos
Created 1 November 2013
This is the slowest month of the year in Mexico: hurricane threats, hot and humid weather, torrential rains drive the tourists away and confine the rest of us indoors. It poured for 22 days non stop! We still managed a dive (in the rain) for Father's Day, a day of all you can eat and drink at the local resort for Terry's birthday, and as usual lots of cooking and eating. Just on cue, the weather cleared at the end of the month for the arrival of Marie Suzanne, a French girlfriend. So lots of touring and catching up. Celebrated Mexican Independence Day all month long (it seems), eating black beans and pork verde!
47 Photos
Created 10 October 2013
No excursions this month. Just hanging around Puerto Aventuras, school, friends, ...Sat thru a couple of storms, torrential rains, big winds...Nowhere to go so more time spent in the galley and writing about it!!!
33 Photos
Created 12 September 2013
Holiday month for everyone: visitors from the USA, kids in and out, parties, US National Day celebration, French National Day celebration, Tulum for a night (bliss...) The start of a new food blog meant a month spent in the galley experimenting. Not much in terms of local food, mostly home cooked French. Chocolate cake anyone?
41 Photos
Created 24 August 2013
Holiday Seasons with old and new friends, provisioning and preparing to leave the USA...
54 Photos
Created 16 July 2013
End of school year performances, lots of baking/cooking for school festivities, Marc hospitalised, first tropical storms testing our nerves, road trip to Belize... Eat ceviche, my latest food addiction!!!
15 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 8 July 2013
Lots on! An interesting road trip to the Chiapas region, wonderful ruins of Palenque, green and lush Tabasco, Anne's birthday, Cozumel by boat, Kids sports graduation...Eat chilaquiles, breakfast with a difference.
26 Photos | 3 Sub-Albums
Created 2 July 2013
Settling down and mixing with the locals: kids are off to school, birthday parties, more of Tulum, unexpected reunion with fellow cruisers. Eat: black bean soup!
30 Photos
Created 2 July 2013
Not much tourism this month. We finally made the decision to stay for the rest of the year. So it's head down with school, get together with cruising friends ( they're passing thru while we stay behind) and switching to "landlubber's" mode. Resolved to eat at home more often, back to healthier diet.
19 Photos
Created 13 June 2013
Exploring the Yucatan peninsula by car, to Uxmal ruins and Merida. More of Tulum. Marc's Birthday. Try Flyboarding. Join in the local community of Puerto Aventuras. Xel-Ha. Discover Playa del Carmen. Eat nachos.
27 Photos | 2 Sub-Albums
Created 13 June 2013
Landfall in Isla Mujeres, find our way around our new home in Puerto Aventuras, excursion to Coba ruins, discover Tulum, swim with dolphins, eat tacos...
31 Photos | 2 Sub-Albums
Created 13 June 2013
Our last few weeks (even months) have been spent in Puerto Aventuras, Mexico. Not much cruising for us, more like enjoying company of new friends, safety of a protected harbor, and relaxing for a while, knowing we don't have to go anywhere for a while...
25 Photos
Created 2 April 2013
2 weeks in an island where time has stood still for 50 years! Road trip La havana - Vinales- Cienfuegos - Trinidad - La Havana. Cruise down the west coast, beautiful beaches, good fishing, diving,... Warm waters at last!!!!
3 Sub-Albums
Created 5 February 2013
To be enjoyed while reading the post!
43 Photos
Created 31 December 2012
Exploring Charleston and Savannah
1 Photo | 2 Sub-Albums
Created 27 December 2012
2 weeks shore leave, driving to Shenandoah National Park: lots of hiking, eating "country style" food, looking for bears, avoiding bears...Long drive across to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, to visit the Wrights brothers memorial and Cape Hatteras.
28 Photos
Created 25 December 2012
Caught up with friends, left the boat on display at the 2012 Boat Show, toured historic downtown and US Naval Academy, watched a football game...welcome to the US sailing capital!
51 Photos
Created 25 December 2012
Unforgetable summer cruising around Block island, Nantucket, and Martha's Vineyard.
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Created 16 December 2012
46 Photos
Created 17 October 2012
A leisurely cruise from New York to Newport. Quite anchorages, fresh ocean breeze, ...a million miles away from Big City living!
37 Photos
Created 5 September 2012
July and September in the Big Apple. Cruise, Eat, Shop, Walk,...Look at some of our best memories (work in progress, I am still sorting thru thousands fo photos!)
1 Photo | 4 Sub-Albums
Created 3 September 2012
Museums, memorials, parks, bike trails...the most photogenic city.
85 Photos
Created 15 August 2012
First voyage in July, on our way to Washington DC. Passing thru quaint and historical towns, sampling crabs and oysters in hot summer nights... Returned in September, enjoying all Annapolis has to offer (well, nearly), and the spectacle of autumn foliage.
20 Photos
Created 15 August 2012
Where there are some seriously clever people!
22 Photos
Created 15 August 2012
29 Photos
Created 20 July 2012
Shore leave: Make believe, dreams come true, thrills, fast food...Anything goes here!!!
42 Photos
Created 20 July 2012
Welcome to America! Our port of entry, last moments with friends, base for a mini-refit, and our first taste of the USA...
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Created 30 June 2012
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Created 31 May 2012
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Created 14 April 2012
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Created 30 March 2012
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Created 12 February 2012
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Created 12 February 2012
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Created 28 January 2012
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Created 8 January 2012
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Created 4 January 2012
40 Photos
Created 28 December 2011
What happens during a transat?
40 Photos
Created 14 December 2011
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Created 19 November 2011
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Created 19 November 2011
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Created 19 November 2011
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Created 19 November 2011
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Created 17 November 2011
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Created 30 October 2011
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Created 1 October 2011
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Created 8 September 2011

S.V VOAHANGY

Who: Terry, Voahangy, Marc, Anne Steen
Port: Sydney