Apu Bay 1-2 Sept
01 September 2021 | Apu Bay, Taha'a
William Ennis | Hot
We've been holed up in Apu since 31 August, watching how many boats are out and about so that we gain a feel for how people are dealing with the lockdown. We feel like fugitives or crooks doing it! Truth be told, there aren't many boats just traveling around, all restaurants and bars are closed, and other traffic is minimal, so the lockdown is honored by most people. The president of French Polynesia chastised his people saying that there was no need for a family of 4 to enter a store to buy baguettes!
We slipped the mooring in Haamene Bay on Tuesday mid-morning and motored to Apu, our first stop when we departed Raiatea weeks ago. ian had the helm most of the way. We easily found a mooring and were tied up within minutes. There are probably 20 boats here, including a few unoccupied SunSail rentals, so their mooring field on Raiatea must be full and they needed more space.
We've not gone ashore of course, but we've taken dinghy rides around. Ian and I did that on Tuesday afternoon, and learned where the shallows were. They came up so quickly that I had to jerk the outboard out of the water while it was still running, just to save the prop. We hurriedly broke out the oars and paddled our way to deep water. Sheesh.
Yesterday, after a leisurely morning, I talked Conni into going with us. We dropped off Ian to go snorkeling near a nice dock for a pearl farm so that he could easily get out of the water, and I took Miss Conni for a ride. She wanted to explore an arm of the bay that we hadn't seen so we motored around a central island, the one with the shallows surrounding it, and enjoyed the scenery. The island was posted, oddly, so it must have been private. It had a palm plantation on it, the palm trees showing the metal rings around the trunks that prevent rats and palm crabs from ascending the trees and eating the coconuts. It's a beautiful island, the end deeper in the bay flat and ringed by a lovely white sand beach.
We motored into the bay until we had a good view of things and then the water shallowed dramatically and we quickly turned back. We motored to the opposite side of the bay and took in those view as well. A small motor boat appeared and never slowed as it moved through the water that had stopped Ian and I the day before. Thinking that there was a route that we could use, we began our trip.
Ah, local knowledge... Our route finding did well until it didn't and we were forced to lift the motor and paddle for twenty minutes. No harm done, but we never found the motor boat's secret path through the shallows.
We motored to Ian's dock, fetched him, and returned to the boat. We all enjoyed hot showers in the cockpit,
2 Sept. The plan for today was to enjoy a morning on the mooring, then motor to Uturoa on Raiatea and buy groceries. Depending on what we found for mooring or anchoring space, we'd either stay there or return to Apu.
We slipped the mooring and headed across but the winds were over 20 knots and the seas had kicked up, so we re-evaluated things and returned to Apu. We had groceries for lunch and dinner tonight, so there was no pressing need to push to Raiatea, and we decided not to do it. It was a smart move.
Rather than return to the same mooring, we had located one much further into the bay and closer to the lee shore, so Conni motored through the mooring field and Ian and I worked to attach us to this other mooring. It was SO pleasant! The wind and seas simply didn't make into this part of the bay. We had a nice breeze, but the 20 knot winds and the seas that they produced were missing. In light of our experience here this year, we've placing Apu at the #2 position on Taha'a. For bad weather protection, Tapuamu is still #1, but Apu is a fine place in all but the worst conditions. It's no wonder that it's so popular.
After the heat of the day was done and Ian had completed his round of phone calls, all three of us hopped in the dinghy and rode to the island that Conni and I had circumnavigated yesterday. I eased us to the rocky shallows and tied the dinghy to a chuck of rock so that it was free to swing in the wind without hitting anything. Conni stayed aboard the dinghy, reading and observing the bay, while Ian and I snorkeled for 1-1/2 hours.
The coral in the shallows was the best yet, and so were the fish. I wish that I knew the names of all of the many varieties of fish that I saw. Best of all, the shallows came to an immediate end in a wall that dropped to 70-feet or more, so many larger fish came by that one would not normally see. It's a snorkel spot that I'll return to and would bring guests to see, too.
Weather tomorrow is predicted to moderate considerably, so we'll motor to Uturoa for groceries. If we can find a space to dock in Uturoa, fine, but if not, Conni and Ian will use the dinghy to motor to town and I'll motor around and await a VHF call from them.
Since Ian departs on Saturday, we'd like to stay on Raiatea, but if we can't, his 1600 hour departure time means the we could stay here in Apu and still make it to the airport on time.
We learn tomorrow if the lockdown will be extended. Wish us all luck! We suspect that it will be extended, but hope springs eternal.
I've got several web pages to post, but no idea when I'll have bandwidth to do so. Sorry. I also have come to realize that I have become dependent on shore-side Wifi services, none of which have been available during this lockdown. I find that very interesting.