15 August 2021 | Faaroa Bay, Raiatea
William Ennis | Hot and windy
We had a nice crossing from Huahine back to Raiatea, our home island. There was a hint of wind and the only seas were enormous, long-duration rollers: remnants of a mighty storm far south of us. I putzed with the Hydrovane in the vane hope of getting it to steer the boat with wind, but the wind wasn't strong enough, although to its credit, the Hydrovane did steer the boat, it just couldn't keep us on course. All of this effort was to find a replacement for our now-defunct autopilot.
All of our other systems worked well. Our repaired return fuel manifold does NOT leak diesel, thankfully. The starboard fuel tank, on which we are now running, seems fine, although we were in doubt last season. Our battery monitor, a sort of fuel gauge for batteries, showed the "green flash", which means that our house bank was fully charged. We hadn't seen that sign the entire trip, so we were both relieved and pleased. Our AC charger can't manage it but that 120A alternator on our new engine certainly can.
Our new engine purred along and the sails added a bit of boat speed, so it was a fast and luxurious ride. We entered the Raiatea lagoon at 1530 hours, motored across it into the mouth of Faaroa Bay. We passed a monohull owned by some Brits, that was practicing the fine tradition of working upwind out of a bay. They were close-hauled on one short tack, came about, then repeated the process over and over again. "Working out of a bay", as it's called, is an exercise well worth doing, but it's laborious.
We motored to the bay's head and dropped the hook, as I mentioned. On Sunday, we had a leisurely morning then splashed the dinghy and began our day's exploration. The water got shallow immediately and we had to skirt a lot of rocks, and even ran the outboard in the "shallow water" configuration: there's a lock position on the motor for this. After all of this shallow water and even paddling, we remembered that we had not brought our orange box of traveling gear and had one paddle! Space cadets!
Back to the boat, grab our gear and we gave it another try. Alas, I guessed wrong on the river's leading the botanical garden. Yes, it was lovely and we enjoyed the challenge, but it didn't take us where we wanted, but that left only the main river for us to try.
And boy was it different! The water was consistently deep so that we could run with the outboard fully down, and the river was wide. There were many more dwellings along the banks. A few larger local motor boats crept around us, so we had guides as well. 45 minutes of motoring finally got us to the botanical gardens dock! We got out to stretch our legs and revisit this lovely collection of local plants, then strolled back to the dinghy and motored back to Wings.
Since we had planned to leave on Monday to avoid the forecast storm, we hoisted the motor and dinghy aboard, lashed both, so that we could depart as soon as the hook was pulled.
We'll say goodbye to Faaroa tomorrow, but we've had a great time here.