26 August 2023 | Fare, Huahine
William Ennis | Hmmm hot
We departed Bora Bora a few days ago. The day before, we had rented a small car to visit the island and we had a great time. We got a burger at Bloody Mary's Beach Bar, one of the great beach bars in the world. Conni had read that they are building a hotel complex, and appeared that it was true. There's a second building going up beside the original restaurant, but also a small marina-like construction along the shore. Sand floor, chickens traipsing around, scratching in the sand for tidbits, and tree trunk stools for seats did make for an interesting place. Dinner is their more important meal, with live bands and a great seafood selection, but a "Jimmy Buffet Cheeseburger" was on our minds for lunch. Out in front of the restaurant is a set of signs with the names of luminaries who have visited the place, and lo and behold, Jimmy's name is there.
We made a few round-island trips, and lest you think it was a lot of driving, it's a 30-minute round trip, but there's always much to see. New and old, things change and it's fun to compare with our memories of the place.
I've mentioned the marked increase in signage about Bora Bora's place in World War 2, and nowhere is that more apparent than the gun emplacement that we visited several years ago and again that day. The guns are on private property and on our original visit, we had to track down the owner and pay our money, while this time, she was sitting in a small but decorated area with signage and banners. Quite different! They had also cleared a road to the first location, the "Black Rock", but a four-wheeler could drive all the way to the emplacements themselves. Of course, we walked but it was tough going in places.
It was hot! No surprise there, I suppose. We trudged along to the various visitation sites, and arrived at the emplacements. They had painted the guns, but not the mounts, so there had been some effort to maintain them. Signage was very good and I might transcribe them.
Being the son of a WW2 vet, it was easy to imagine the farm boys from the Southern US drafted in the South, trained in Florida, then being sent to Bora Bora to do construction work: The Bobcat Sea Bees were born. Hauling bags of concrete, digging into the volcanic rock, and doing it all in a hurry since no one knew when the Japanese forces might arrive. Can you imagine? Drafting bayou boys seems a good idea since the powers that be knew where they were likely headed. The guns are placed to "protect" the southeastern portion of the island, and the placards stated that the guns could fire the 4 miles past the barrier reef, but a large Japanese battleship's guns could fire 15 or so miles and strike with accuracy, so these two 6-inch guns, without bunker protection, wouldn't have lasted long. I imagine that the Navy did what it could in a hurry. These two guns had been stripped from a WW1 cruiser, so hardly the newest technology but they were available and easy to manage.
While at Matira Point, we visited one of our favorite places: The Lucky House. It's far more common that we rent bicycles than a car, so it usually takes us a few hours to reach Lucky House, and then we sit and enjoy the cold beer and breeze. They specialize in pizza baked in a wood-fire oven, and it's in the Italian style: thin crust, little tomato sauce, but lots of cheese and fresh toppings. We enjoyed a beer each as we awaited our pizza preparation, but had it to go rather than to eat. We carted it back to the boat, along with a few other groceries from Chin Lee's store, so we were primed for a week or more with no store runs, and had two pizza dinners and a lunch.
We tried to pay for our last two days of our moorage, but the harbormaster wasn't available and she didn't arrive prior to our departure. Sorry, lady...we tried.
We departed at 0800, and motor sailed for the 6 or so hours that it takes to make passage between Bora Bora and Taha'a's (two apostrophes?) Passe Paipai. It's a long but well-marked pass through their reef and we've navigated it for many years. Still, it's the been the site of a large number of sailboat casualties, with the owners paying for turning too soon to enter the pass. I hate to see it, but it's fairly common.
Instead of staying on Taha'a, we motored across the strait between Taha'a and Raiatea and spent the night on a mooring in... Apooiti! It was too funny to return there, but we knew that we could be on a mooring and have access to both water and hot showers. We ran through our water more quickly than we had anticipated, so we made several trips into the marina to fill our 5-gallon jug and jet back to empty it in our starboard tank. Although we departed the next morning, we added 30 gallons of water and had a hot shower: Excellent use of our time.
On departing Apooiti, we headed to the other side of Raiatea and out the main pass toward Hauhine. It's fun to navigate through the pass since I've dived through it few times: Seen it from the other side. It was a windy day and very confused seas. We had to motor sail again since the angle was so poor, but we were able to charge our batteries and various electronics. We arrived here in Fare at 1500. After a quick survey for moorings (none), we found a good spot for an anchor and Conni nailed it the first time, setting the hook hard. Ahhh, we're home.
Just after the anchor was set and instruments and engine shut down, Conni proposed a beer to share in celebration of our arrival. Yes, please! As she was drinking hers, she asked me on a date for burgers and beer at the Huahine Yacht Club. Again, I graciously accepted.
While the Bora Bora Yacht Club has tried to become a fine dining restaurant, and has succeeded in large measure, the Huahine Yacht Club has maintained its origins as a cruisers' bar. Good food, reasonable prices, and a great Happy Hour started the cruisers headed for the bar at 4:45, in preparation for the 5PM beginnings of the Happy Hour! We had to finish our shared beer, splash the dinghy, and get the outboard mounted prior to heading over so we didn't get an outside table, but it was still fun to sip a MaiTai and watch patrons snapping photos of the impossibly beautiful sunset behind the moored sailboats. Yeah, I took some photos, too.
Fare is on the west side of the island so away from the Trades. There are few passes on Huahine, so a lot of water departs through our pass on the downwind side, keeping the moored boats aligned fairly well. We both love arising in the morning to have breakfast in the cockpit and watch the sailors from a dozen countries as they go about their morning routines. A boat on our stern has three kids aboard, and parents spent a lot of time entertaining them. The son seems to entertain himself with fishing. A Finnish (white flag with blue cross) boat's family looked askance as we began dropping our hook last evening, but soon realized that we knew what we were doing and went back below. We don't blame them for watching. First, there's the possible entertainment value of spouses shouting at one another, and then there's the own boat's safety issue. We watch too. I just saw another Finnish boat astern of us. Raiatea, Taha'a and Bora Bora are all astern of us, so it's quite a view, even in daylight. We see a Danish boat (red flag with large white cross) aft of us, too.
This evening, we knew to have the dinghy prepared for our short journey into the yacht club, so I pumped the dinghy. Earlier, I had dropped into the dinghy to reduce pressure while the sun was out: the dinghy is too old to endure high pressures. Still, I hate to sit in water when we're moving. At 4:45, we took off. Drat, all of the open-air tables were reserved, so we sat one table under the awning, although fine with us since we didn't want the sun exposure. We made Happy Hour with each having two MaiTais, and thoroughly enjoyed the evening.
We'll go into Fare tomorrow to buy a baguette, buy, write, and mail post cards, and do a few other things, and move move down the lagoon to Avea Bay.
As a small but important point, when we arose this morning, later than usual, our batteries were down 50AHr. By 1:30 this afternoon, we were down 4AHr, and by 4PM or so, we had more than broken even. We sat at anchor for 24 hours and ran a refrigerator, but did not need to start a generator. We're both so impressed with our system! It's what every cruiser wants: solar and/or wind power replacing all normal energy use aboard. We've been after this for ten years and we're finally here. We can have a refrigerator, cold water, cold wine and cold beer, keep products needing refrigeration, keep all electronics charged, and all done on quiet solar.