Societies, Tahiti and Moorea
14 July 2013 | French Polynesia
Cap'n Al Donatto
July 09 2013
We headed to shore in the morning to do some last minute shopping for some fresh produce. Won’t see land for a few days ya know. We had a great selection to choose from, one indoor place had fresh bouquets and peanut butter and cereal and skittles. The other place was semi-outdoors where we stocked up for 3 days on potatoes, tomatoes and mandarins, kiwi, pomme, but no mango. Settle up with the dive shop and back to the boats for lunch. Put everything away for a 300nm trip. Last thing to put up is the dinghy and since mind had a little leak it never left the deck. So my anchor is up first just after lunch. I want to make as much water as I can so I’m under motor doing no more than 3kts. After Phil gets his anchor up he’s under full sail and past me up like I was standing still, almost. Once I’m on the outside of the atoll I’m sailing at 7kts. But in these winds Silhouette is faster, hell in all winds she’s faster. On this passage we invented a new watch schedule for solo sailors. Since we are only a couple of miles apart instead on the normal 20 minutes of almost sleep, one of us inform the other via VHF that he is going off watch for a few hours and the other one keep watch for both boats. This system worked well, but at night I set my alarm to go off every hour to take a look around - just in case.
Sunrise and wind dies to around 10kts and less but at least it is still coming from a favorable direction. Broad reaching. In these conditions for some reason Irie II is a little faster and I began to close in. By night fall I’m within a mile and we can continue with our watch schedule. Phil takes the first nap and while he’s off watch the wind shifts a little. His autopilot is set to sail by the wind so his direction shifts. My autopilot is set to the compass heading so when the wind shift I got to go to work and adjust sails. Then the wind shifted some more and I had to jibe, Phil getting some good rest but he’s going in the wrong direction. Should I wake him up? Naw, all is fair in a sailboat race.
Sunrise and I’m a few hours ahead of Silhouette. I called the Taina Marina on VHF to announce my arrival and to confirm our slip reservations. I thought I heard the Harbormaster laughing when I told him I was there for the slips I made reservations for 3 days ago. The waiting list is at least 3 months. But lucky for us he has a spot that we can have for 3 days. The big boat that made the reservation will be 3 days late. We take them. Phil shows up about 6 hours later bitching about his boat bottom being fouled. We actually got a side tie, one behind the other with electricity and water and not one of those med mooring’s slips. Doing the check in process I’m thinking the nice Harbor master sure looks familiar.
Once we get settled in and do the final check in procedure for French Polynesia, we are off to find a bite to eat at the restaurant in the marina and then to the boat stores for parts. Phil has his boat setup to plug into any country’s electrical system. Just flip a switch or two. Those electrical engineers. I’m only set up for the US standards. I figured I would solve that problem when I get somewhere where I would have that problem. F.P. electrical standard is 240volts/60hz so all I need is a step-down transformer, some wire and a plug; off we go looking for stuff to make everything work. In the meantime I run an extension cord to Phil’s boat. I don’t need a lot of juice; just enough to run the forward cabin’s A/C unit, the coffee pot, and the microwave, my generator won’t start anymore, the solar panels should keep the batteries charged. Found everything in the ACE hardware store, except for the plugs, a small store in the marina had that.
Phil has a friend from France that is actually visiting Tahiti at the same time he is. Now how lucky is that or was that planned? We now have an interpreter and a tour guide. Taking advantage of that we take a land tour of the island by hiring Pascal’s landlord, car, and local knowledge of all the exciting touristy places to visit.
Well it’s time to vacate our nice slips. While in the office waiting on the harbor master I notice a chart of Clear Lake, TX. on the wall. Asked what’s up with that? Phillipe the HM say that’s where he bought his boat and then sailed it to Tahiti. Now I know why he looks familiar. I had met him before at the pump-out station at Waterford Harbor, small world - again. He was asking how that system worked, because in his country they don’t have pump-out stations, yet. Then I was introduced to him by Nolan the manager at West Marine. Nolan wanted to use my Port Supply account to help this French guy save some money outfitting his boat to take it to the south Pacific. Karma working again, he found us some slips in the marina for another week, no mooring field yet. Phil got the med-mooring and I got another side-tie without electricity now that I got all the parts to hook it up.
Good things don’t last forever - our time in the marina is up. Time to save some money and get back in the cruising mode. Off to the mooring field looking for mooring balls that are close to each other and close to the marina. Found close to each other but a mile from the marina. Being that far mean cooking aboard more now. Just can’t walk back home after dinner and drinks.
The original plan was to meet Aaron and Goldie in Moorea, but we decided to wait here and give them a sailboat ride to their hotel instead of taking the ferry. They seem to like that idea until it was time to load up the dinghy with all that luggage and then the long dinghy ride to the boat. Welcome to cruising. We off the moorings mid morning and after a nice sail we are dropping the anchor by mid evening in Baie de Cook. Made the transfer of luggage and crew to the world famous Bali Hai hotel. Just can’t past up an opportunity to have someone else cook for us, so dinner on land at some nice fancy restaurant.
Aaron rented a car for the next few days so we done the self guided tour of the island and to some of the 5 start hotels for the dance shows. To do a little more boat stuff we sailed over to Baie D’Opunohu a couple of miles away. Good snorkeling and a nice lunch/dinner prepared by Goldie. Then back to Cook’s Bay to take advantage of the rental car and restaurants. Seem like the best dance show was the one at the Bali Hai hotel they was staying at. It was a small hotel, a small audience, a small dance troupe, but a big time for all since they were able to intermingle with everyone. Even had us all trying to dance. I just couldn’t get my knees to move like that. Be sure to take a look at the pictures that are posted. Don’t know when I’ll get around to posting the videos.
Boy does time fly by when you having fun. Who said that anyway? Aaron and Goldie have hotel reservations in Tahiti at one of those 5 star places, big sister Aggie will be arriving in Raiatea in a week, and I’m expecting a big package with my important autopilot ram to be delivered to the marina. Only a couple of weeks late. New plan - Phil will sail on to Raiatea to pick up Aggie, I will ferry Aaron and Goldie back to Tahiti on Irie II and hang out with them until my shipment arrives or until they leave. It was quite a job getting luggage, etc. into and out of my boat compared to Phil’s. No easy open transom, just a high freeboard to climb over.
In Tahiti again. Do another self guided tour of the island with Aaron and Goldie in their rental car. I tried to give them the same tour that Phil’s friend gave us, but no memory and a piece of shit map – oh well, we got to see some of the places we wanted to. Next trip Aaron found a better map and we were able to find most of the sites we were looking for. Got to the Tahitian culture museum, but missed the art museum. Their time is up and my package hasn’t arrived yet. Bid them goodbye and now I’m in Tahiti all by myself until that damn package gets here. I thought it was coming by plane, must be slow boat. Found out I wasn’t by myself; while in Papeete I notice a boat that was in the Galapagos with me. It took a couple of days but finally got to have dinner and a drink with Bear and Pepi from Beez Neez from England.
Got a phone call from FedEx. My package is on the way – meaning it’s not in the states anymore. Now how long will that take? At least a few days, so I take the bus to go to a boat store in the next town, looking for something that wasn’t at the other stores. Damn-it, the store is close on Saturday. Oh well, I’ll just ride the bus and take the scenic tour until it returns back to Papeete - right? Wrong! The bus have drop just about everybody off except the driver and his helper. He asks where am I going? I told them. He said he’s going home with the bus and if I don’t want to walk any further I better get off now. Oh well I’ll just walk to the restaurant and call a taxi - right? Wrong! Taxis don’t run after 3pm on Saturday unless you are leaving from a hotel. Shit/Damn and a whole bunch more curse words - its 35km back to the marina and 2 hours before sundown. What should I do, I asked the waitress? Walk was the answer. Oh well I might make it before sunset the next day, no taxis on Sunday at anytime. I’ll just have to try my luck at hitchhiking. Now what’s the French hand signal for I need a ride? I’ll have to use the English version – thumb sticking up. Must be universal because after only walking 4km a taxi stop. She said she don’t work on Saturdays, (the law) but for $50 she would. Walk all night or pay 5 times what it normally cost? Dumb question.
Finally my package arrives and I’m able to get everything stored for a 24 hour sail to Taaha to meet up with Aggie and Phil. Heck her time in the islands is half way over and I haven’t seen her yet. The new autopilot ram will have to wait to be installed; I’m in a hurry again. Drop the mooring ball in the morning and motoring and sailing full speed. In my hurry state I didn’t pay attention to the wind line. I seen it, I just didn’t pay attention to it, heck it wasn’t there the last 2 times I made this crossing. That big volcanic mountain peak of Tahiti is blocking the wind but not here. With full sails up I hit that wind line hard. Wind went from 10kts to 30kts in one second. By the time I got the boat turned around to drop sail the jib sheets were all tangle up and the jib’s sunbrella was torn. Limped into Cook’s Bay out of the wind and was able to get the jib sheets untangled and the mainsail reefed. The tear ain’t that bad, so on the way to Raiatea or Taaha. Was able to make SSB contact with Phil and Aggie. They are in Taaha. Got the coordinates to the bay they are anchored in. Set the course into the GPS/chart plotter, programmed that into the autopilot and take off for an over nighter using that 20 minute nap schedule.