Taha'a R and R
01 July 2018 | Tapuamu Bay
Bill, Getting Better
After such long and difficult passages, and now by ourselves, we headed to Tapuamu Bay on the SW side of Taha'a, sister island to Raiatea and inside the same reef. We know it well, having had to ride out a 7-day storm system here several years ago. We know the neighborhood and know that the moorings are safe. We snagged one on the first day and haven't bloody moved! On two of the days, we didn't even leave the boat! With no word spoken, we have agreed to simply take it easy and recuperate. We're asleep by 1800 and don't awaken until 0800.
Each of us has done some light chores, cleaning the hull from the dinghy, cleaning some lockers, but for the most part, we read and talk. It's been heavenly! Yesterday, we went ashore and took some walks, toward the North we even came across a local wedding celebration: I'll post some photos when I get some internet, so if you are reading this, they'll probably be posted.
We plan to visit Ha'amene Bay tomorrow, if the weather cooperates. The NE squalls have been flying across the island and that means that Ha'amene, on the NE side, is uninhabitable. Here in the SW side, the island breaks a lot of the strength of the wind and we can ride to the mooring in comfort. We probably won't make it to the head of Ha'amene Bay, but if it's open and Leo is alive, we'll use a mooring at the Hibiscus Hotel for the night. The meals are great, Leo's a great host, and they've got Wifi.
I went snorkeling today. After my chores, I took the dinghy to the drop-off before the shallows to shore, tied it to a big rock and went to see the sights. Julia would have loved it! While the coral is not all healthy, a lot of it is: pink, green, yellow, and brown types were there, although I don't know the names. I saw what looked to my untrained eye as Brain Coral, too, and even two patches of Stag Horn, the first that I've ever seen still living. Jeez, I bet it was gorgeous 20 years ago. The shore shallows are no more than a few feet deep, then at that edge is the coral garden, and then the bottom drops to 80-feet or so. I saw no sharks, but lots of those tiny fluorescent blue fish that I like to see. I have no idea what they are, but they're just beautiful. There were some "zebra" fish, as I'd call them, with vertical black stripes on a white body. Larger yellow fish, smaller brown ones: you get the idea. Not bad for 2 minute dinghy ride! I'll be back. I can also tell that I need to learn some more appropriate fish nomenclature.
We arrived last Thursday and made sure to visit the Pari Pari Rhumerie, home of the best "rum agricole" or rum from sugar cane syrup (rather than molasses), that we've ever tasted. It's not cheap, but it's excellent and the guy who runs it is doing his best to source locally, using traditional varieties of cane and not new hybrids. He's doing good work for the locals and making an excellent product, and they're attracting some attention, too: richly deserved, in our opinion.
Conni continues to produce fantastic meals, and cocktail hours. This is her kind of sailing, with time to enjoy the surroundings and enjoy the place. Passages...not so much.
We had originally planned to take Julia to Papeete for her flight out of country, and while there, have the engine mechanic whom we hope will replace our engine meet us to take some crucial measurements. As I wrote, we simply couldn't face another 26-hour upwind sail. Couldn't do it. Unfortunately, Adrian was not able to meet us in Raiatea, so I'll have to make the measurements myself. We'll try to get him to fly here later to check what we did.
We plan on having the Raiatea Carenage staff pull Wings from the water on 4 or 5 July, then we'll take 10 days or so to decommission her, then we return to the US with Blue Boxes bulging with items to return and parts to replace. It's a never-ending effort to remove items that we don't use, and we're getting closer. I'll remove a lot of our reference books this leg: anything that I haven't used will be taken home.