Ia Orana! We are anchored on a coral shelf in 20 feet of turquoise water on the west side of Tahaa and just enjoyed an amazing sunset over Bora Bora. [How amazing is it that I get to write that sentence?!?!]
We sailed over here a few days ago from Huahine. We had 25 knots forward of the beam so it was a wet and wild ride but we made really good time and were anchored deep in Haamene Bay by sunset. Haamene bay is a very deep fjord-like valley cut into the island of Tahaa. We were basically anchored right in the middle of the island. The bay is so well protected that it is considered a hurricane hole.
While in Haamene Bay we hiked to the top of the mountain and carved our names into some stone, visited a vanilla farm, ate some good Chinese food and spent a day hiding from the rain.
Today we sailed from Haamene Bay down to Utaroa, the main town on Raiatea. Raiatea shares a lagoon with Tahaa so getting there was a simple one hour motor sail through coral passes. We fueled up with both diesel and gas and hit the grocery store. We then sailed north to the west side of Tahaa and dropped the hook on the coral shelf I mentioned above.
I found this spot by looking where all the other boats were anchored and then finding another option further south. I really dislike being packed in with other boats so finding a secluded spot was imperative. We managed to sound our way onto the shelf by using the different colors of the water to read depth. We dropped the hook in 25 feet of water and the chain managed to wrap all the way around a dead bommie (coral head) and then we buoyed the chain so it rides over the other coral heads. We aren’t dragging tonight! The wind would have to rip out the bommie we are wrapped on, then pull out another bommie the chain is twisted on and then drag our awesome anchor through hard deep sand. It’s not happening and we’ll sleep very well tonight!
The view here is spectacular. We can see the bottom under the boat like it’s a foot deep. The water is that signature turquoise. The lush green mountains of Tahaa are to the East. the island of Raiatea is to the south. There is a large palm-clad motu to the north. The waves are crashing over the reef to the west and out in the distance to the north west is the legendary island of Bora Bora.
There are a few dream yacht charter cats anchored to the south but not close enough for me to have to wear clothes (that usually keeps the charter boats far enough away)!
Dinner time so have to run. Here are a few pics from that past couple days. The last one is the sunset over Bora Bora.
-Lewis & Alyssa
June 28, 2014
Tahaa, Leeward Islands, French Polynesia
16 38.425 S
151 33.163 W
Iarana from the friendly island of Huahine!
After a boisterous overnight sail from Moorea we made landfall on the east side of Huahine and anchored off the quaint town of Fare. We are really enjoying it here. The island is WAY more laid back than Tahiti and Moorea and much less “French.” It is great to find an island where the people are actually friendly and mostly Polynesian. Tahiti and Moorea were packed with Frenchies that aren’t very friendly, which was quite annoying. The people who live here speak some English so it’s been fun getting to know the locals. We even found snow cones and fresh caramel corn!
We finally have the boat livable again. Lyss was on the verge of a total meltdown because every shirt, sheet and towel on the boat smelled and was starting to mold. Washing by hand just doesn’t get the salt and dirt out and it never seems to dry before the next squall hits. You could stand my shorts up on the table there was so much salt in them! So while in Fare we sailed the kayak to town and had 4 loads of laundry washed AND dried. Never mind that it cost 8,000 francs (almost $100 US!). The important thing is that we are living like civilized humans again and most importantly the Princess is happy. We even stocked up on fresh veggies from the market.
Today we sailed south inside the reef and carefully threaded our way through coral to drop anchor in beautiful Avea Bay. We love it here and will stay a few days and let the front pass over us. It’s raining so we’re just hiding out on the boat. Once the trades fill back in we’ll sail for Bora Bora.
In the meantime we’ll be exploring all that Huahine has to offer.
-Lewis and Alyssa
June 24, 2014
Avea Bay, Huahine, French Polynesia
16 48.638 S
150 59.613 W
We ended up staying in Moorea another couple days to visit with our friends Bruce and Jenn on the cat Skabenga. We did the rays again and then chilled at the hotel pool. We’ll miss them and hope to meet up again soon. Here is a pic of the happy crew!
Bruce – Kiteboarding in Tonga. Let’s make it happen!
There is a three page article about our Pacific crossing in the June issue of Latitude 38. Our friends on Skabenga are featured in an article before ours. Definitely worth reading about how Bruce almost became impaled on the end of the swordfish bill like a kabob! Grab us a couple extra hard copies!
The articles start on page 116
I Pad ePub Version
We didn’t think it was possible to top the breathtaking rugged peaks of Fatu Hiva but Oponuhu Bay on the Island of Moorea did just that! We are anchored at the head of the bay and just finished breakfast with an unbelievable 360 degree view of rugged volcanic peaks shooting out of lush jungle vegetation clung to the steep mountains that tower over the bay. The edge of the bay is lined with palms and those really cool banzai looking trees we saw in Hiva Oa. There are even pretty red and pink flowers on top of the trees on the east side of the bay. I pinched myself really hard this morning but the view didn’t disappear….
I remember telling someone before we left that I wanted to sail until we were so excited for tomorrow that we couldn’t sleep. Well it happened last night. I woke up a few times and was bummed it was still dark outside because I wanted to see the beauty of this place and go exploring. We made it.
Yesterday we took the kayak about 1.5 miles outside the bay to the east and stopped by the catamaran Exodus for a visit before returning to Ellie for apps. Our appetizer spread was to die for. We had French Camembert cheese, soft cheese, fresh smoked salmon, fresh baguette and even threw in some chips, salsa and a guac style dip I found at the Carrefour market in Tahiti. We were livin’ it up with our French provisions!
Today we will pull anchor and head to the west side of the pass to anchor in shallow turquoise water near the Intercontinental resort that has those small palm thatch huts on the water. We’re going to kayak over to an area that is known for rays that you can feed out of your hand and then head to the hotel for a dance performance this evening.
Life is good. Life in Moorea is even better!
Lewis and Alyssa
June 13, 2014
Oponohu Bay, Moorea, French Polynesia
17 30.770 S
149 51.125 W
We are leaving Tahiti tomorrow bound for Moorea. Ellie is well found, well provisioned and ready to continue on. While here in Papeete we have:
- Provisioned our food stores for another 2 months
- Had a stainless block welded (turning block for our monitor windvane snapped and we couldn’t find a replacement)
- Bought new fishing gear so we can actually land some big tuna and dorado (instead of them stealing more lures!)
- Bought more oil and fuel filters
- Bought some spare marine-grade electrical parts to replace the parts we have used
- Bought and installed a new fresh water pump (our old one finally died in Fatu Hiva)
- Bought spectra line for our kayak rudder controls (chafe doomed the original one and we have been running fishing line in place)
I’m sure there is a lot more I am missing. I estimate we have burned over $1,500 in the past week. This is an incredibly expensive city and almost everything is at least double if not triple what it would cost in the US.
And now a funny story from yesterday….
We were waiting for the welding shop to open so we stopped for lunch at a little roach coach in the industrial district. We figured if the locals were eating there it must be good and have reasonable prices. Alyssa was reviewing the menu and she said it was cheap. We asked if the guy spoke english and much to our relief he did. We ordered a chow mien and frites. He asked what we wanted on the chow mien and we asked him what they usually put on it. He replied “BBQ sauce.” We thought that was a bit strange but decided to go with it. We sat down and a few minutes later he brought over a baguette…..hmm. We were expecting chow mien and frites and that is exactly what he handed us……..inside the baguette! haha We both had a good laugh about the complete communication breakdown and tried to enjoy our chow mien and french fries sandwich.
We are heading into town tonight with Skabenga to sample the “roulettes” (food trucks) that congregate each night on the waterfront. We’ll have to report back if we find another crazy sandwich.
Cheers from Tahiti
Lewis and Alyssa
June 11, 2014
Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia
We have had quite an exciting day here in paradise. The wind just backed off but all day it blew over 25 knots and over 30 knots for most of the afternoon with heavy driving rain. Max winds we saw was 36 knots. We are anchored in close with other boats so only have out about 3:1 scope. Our anchor held and we didn’t drag. We had 3-4 foot wind chop inside the lagoon and Ellie was buckin’ like a bronco. Our stainless anchor snubber snapped apart where it grabs the chain and we had to quickly make another snubber and get the strain off the windlass. We managed to make another one up and deploy it within 5-6 minutes and no harm was done. We are VERY glad we had a spare on board!
Other boats weren’t so fortunate and the boat across from us is still dealing with a headsail that came unfurled and is completely torn to shreds. It looked like it was going to tear the rig down. Pretty scary stuff.
We spent the day doing boat chores and cleaning up. I installed a new water pump and made some fishing rigs for trolling.
Yesterday we did a huge provisioning run to the supermarket that REALLY hurt the wallet. We tried not to go overboard and only buy the subsidized products but I think we failed. One cart cost us over $600 USD! And we didn’t buy a single can of beer or wine! We just couldn’t say no to the fresh salmon and shrimp, fresh spinach and arugula, brie, cashews…. I saw a bag of Costco Kirkland Signature dired fruit and nuts and just had to have it…..only to learn from the receipt that it cost $34 USD!! In any event, we are well provisioned for another couple months in the islands. Next stock up will be in Rarotonga in the Cook Islands.
We plan to hit the marine stores and hardware stores tomorrow and then ready the boat to leave on Wednesday or Thursday. We will sail for Moorea for a couple days and then for Huahine.
Here are a few pics of the crazy anchorage today: