Anchored at the head of Haamene Bay, enjoying an after dinner Bailey's and listening to Billy Joel, we thought it was way beyond time to bring you up to date on our adventures in French Polynesia. When last we wrote we were wandering around Tahiti. We completed our circumnavigation of that pleasant land at the same anchorage that we first used when we arrived two years ago, Tahiti Yacht Club, a few kilometers east of Central Papeete. Enjoyed a relaxing week on one of their moorings, took full advantage of the Carrefour grocery store just up the road, and even found replacements for our recently defunct engine room blower and bilge pump at the local chandlery. The most memorable part of our stay however occurred during a windy day when we noticed a Westsail 32 sailboat dragging through the anchorage. No one seemed to be coming to it's aid, and it was fast approaching the rocks, so we quickly launched the dinghy and headed out to do our civic duty. With Susan on board the Westsail and Colin pushing it sideways with the dinghy, we got it untangled from one catamaran and rafted up with another sloop nearby .... tying it up with whatever lines and fenders we could find lying about. We went ashore and let the yacht club manager know the situation, and he called the owner. A couple hours later, while launching another foraging trip to the Carrefour, we met Roger, the owner. He gratefully invited aboard to thank us in person for saving his newly acquired boat. It turned out that Rapscallion had been sailed from Florida, through the Canal and across the Pacific to Tahiti, whereupon its single handed owner had decided that the seafaring life was no longer for him. Unable to sell the boat, he looked about for a worthy recipient of a gift horse, and found Roger, a local sailing instructor. So Roger got an an around the world cruising boat in great condition for the princely sum of $1. Extremely grateful that his prized possession didn't end up on the rocks, Roger let us help ourselves to resupply our boat from his. We ended up with some nice new line, tools, electronics, books and food.
With our our new blower and bilge pump installed, we left the safe confines of the yacht club and spent an evening off Point Venus where Captain Cook landed in 1769 to observe the transit of the planet by which the point is named. We enjoyed a wander around the lighthouse, named in Cook's honor, but erected 100 years after his visit, and designed by the father of Robert Louis Stevenson (author of Treasure Island). We also noted the placard commemorating the visit of the Bounty mutineers. Later on we took the opportunity afforded by the crystal clear waters to clean TabbyCat's hulls. The following day we set off on the 100 nm mile trip to Huahine in the Leeward Society Islands. We arrived in the morning after an uneventful overnight run. The anchorage of Avamoa Bay was really unpleasant with wildly fluctuating currents, so we moved down to the south end of the island and spent a delightful week at Point Tiva, where we anchored in 20' of white sand. We did some hiking, paddle boarding, and snorkeling, and started some woodworking projects. Feeling the pressure of days ticking by, we sailed off to neighboring Raitaia, a lovely days run under screacher. Conditions were so good we even sailed through the pass itself to anchor behind the reef at Baie Hotopuu in 6' of water. Venturing up to Bay Faaroe, we paddled the river for 4 kilometers, marvelling at the verdant scenery, and even spotting a good sized eel. It was with some trepidation that we headed up to the main town of Uturoa, as we desperately needed to reprovision, but had read that the only anchorage was in 80-90' of water. Luckily we spotted a few small boats on the seaward size of a tiny moto (islet) , so we ventured through the shallow & narrow pass and again anchored in 6' of crystal clear water. Local blacktip sharks
are "trained" to show up when they hear a motor, which is a bit of a surprise when you're about to jump in to check the set of your anchor. ( Were thinking of you Greg as we did so!) Our anchoring in this area encouraged a number of other boats to brave the pass, and over the next few days the area filled up with a dozen other cruisers, mostly catamarans.
The pass was used regularly by windsurfers, kite boarders and by local traffic on their way to the neighboring island of Tahaa . Not wanting to go back through the narrow channel, we followed the locals, picking our way through the reef and anchoring behind the motu guarding pass Toahutu, which is the eastern approach to Isle Tahaa. Jumping into the water for a quick swim around the motu, we were rewarded with a couple of rays, a conch, and two moray eels. The first one was a small one, teeth bared and defending its burrow. We encountered the second moray in open water as we were blithely swimming back to the boat. 6 ' of fearless undulating green took a look at us and decided we were not to his taste. He certainly elevated our heart rates though! Tomorrow we're off to visit a turtle sanctuary, and continue our anti-clockwise loop around isle Tahaa.
To see more photos of lovely French Polynesia click here