13 August 2023 | Aloe Cafe, Viatape
William Ennis | Hot, rainy
Blog 13 August 2023
16 43.7S:151 28.7W
It's hard to believe, but we are finally on Raiatea or Taha'a! Holy smokes, it's been a long time coming. Raiatea and Taha'a are sister islands in the same lagoon, so leaving them both is a real trip.
12 August, Saturday, a bit after 1100, we dropped our mooring at Apooiti (on Raiatea) and slowly motored to Apu Bay on Taha'a. Damn, we had finally gotten off of Raiatea! We easily found a mooring, thankfully and surprisingly, and spent a restful night there. We looked for the Perseid Meteor shower, but learned that it's not visible in the Southern Hemisphere. Drat. Still, the night sky was spectacular and full of constellations that we did not know: No Big Dipper, no Orion. A clear sky in the South Pacific isn't a rarity, but it's been a while since we've seen it. Taha'a has almost no lights other than some home lights, so it's very dark and the Pacific supports a very large sky.
The next morning, 13 August, we were up and moving by 0820, having hoisted and secured the dinghy on deck, and completed the many chores before heading offshore. Even 25 nautical miles of offshore travel is not to be dismissed. We wear lifejackets and use tethers when we leave the cockpit. We motored to Passe PaiPai that allows us to leave the Taha'a lagoon, and then hoisted our main sail. That requires me to leave the cockpit (tethered to the boat) and raise the sail, then reduce its area to "second reef". Quickly done, we were ready to head to Bora Bora, rising in the distance. What a gorgeous island!
It was a very smooth trip with little wind, a very rare crossing. We motored the entire distance with help from our sails, but it was diesel that powered the trip. On entering the complex pass into the lagoon, we quickly found a mooring at the Bora Bora Yacht Club, one of our favorite establishments in the country. Internet, showers, great food, laundry services: all the stuff that cruisers want. Nicely, by 1300, we were moored and having lunch.
We read most of the day, since it was just too hot to work in the sun. It's a beautiful lagoon and there's always a lot to see. Several lease catamarans arrive, mostly Dream Yacht Charters, and most with crews. Rent a catamaran in the Leeward Islands and have a blast! The crew steers, cooks, cleans, and takes care of business, and you just have fun. Great idea!
Our plan is to await some cooler temps and get the dinghy launched. We'll motor the small distance to the Yacht Club and take our first hot shower in a few days. Wonderful! I imagine that we'll also sit for dinner: their great hamburgers, fries, and a cold Hoa draft. It's a local beer that's only made for draft and only sold locally. Excellent stuff.
Confession: It's so hot in the cockpit and the sun is so low, and there's no wind, so we're both holed up down below. I'm on the salon bench with the fan cooling me and with a glass of cheap rosé at my side. It's not bad.
As Conni was fixing our rosé, she remarked, "I love this fridge!" Ah, music to my ears. With clear skies and the panels somewhat facing the right direction, the panels can keep the batteries charged with no help from the engine or generator. For us, it's the Holy Grail: running the fridge and not having to have any other energy source but solar panels. Sure, there are days that it won't work, but many more where it will.