Saturday, March 29, 2014

Tahaa - Society Isl, Fr Polynesia Mar 25 - 28 2014



If you visit Tahaa, try to find the time to visit the above places, they are well worth it.  The Coral Gardens are some of the prettiest shallow water snorkelling you will ever experience.  Visiting the Pearl farm is a real education as is the Vanilla bean plantation.
We made one other stop that held a certain significance for us.  Leo’s restaurant was a place we visited in 1989 on our first visit.  It was unique in that it had only 6 tables Leo was a happy newly wed.  They had a 600 lb pet pig named La La with a great personality who would move from table to table to visit and be hand fed.  The food was excellent and very reasonably priced.  Unfortunately for us on this visit, Leo was not quite as happy, La La was no more, the restaurant was fancier, the food was good, the prices astronomical dare I say outrageous.  If it’d hadn’t been a nostalgic fix it might have been downright disappointing.  Oh well, not all things get better with age.  However, on balance, we found Tahaa to be delightful.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Mo’orea, Society Islands, French Polynesia Mar 11 – 17 2014

We arrived in Cooks Bay, Mo’orea with building winds and seas as a cold front bringing heavy west winds was due and we were exposed sitting on a mooring at Marina Tiana on the west side of Papeete.

With our hook firmly in place we settled in to wait for the bad weather.  We spent the first night without incident and then were visited by the French Coast guard who came knocking and told us that it would be safer for us on the east side of the island, as they had dragged earlier in the week sitting in the same spot we were anchored.

We raised anchor and sailed in a brisk breeze back to the eastern anchorage, entering thru the ferry pass with building seas.

As we entered the anchorage we noticed a very interesting site, it was a ‘Jet Boarder’.  This is akin to strapping on a boogie board and hooking up to a water jet.  It propelled the rider out of the water and with practice you could see how much fun it might be…however, give the height of thrust, it could also be a dangerous ride.  The young fellow we saw was screaming like a bangie and apparently having the ride of a lifetime, it did look like fun.

We spent the next three days hunkered down as the winds howled.  Three days of 30 + knots with gusts over 50 knots. 

I was up reading on the last night of the heavy weather when the winds seemed to have finally blown themselves out.  It appeared that the system had passed and the winds were down in the 12 – 15 kt range.  We had not had much sunshine for the solar panels, and I had tied off the wind generator to keep it safe.  I decided it was time to loose Winne and get some power back in the boat.  It was all good for about an hour and about 4 am. along came a microburst of undetermined strength, but it was strong enough that it latterly lifted our 30lb. wind generator off the mounting pole and away it went.  I mean it was gone.  We were anchored in 70 feet of shark infested water so murky you couldn’t see a foot.  All of the wave action of the past few days made it like soup.  For those of you who have followed the saga of our KISS wind generator, we have had it since the beginning and it was was a royal pain in the keester.  I completely re and re’d (rebuilt and re-installed) it 14 times in 10 years.  It was only the past year that it actually worked as advertised.  But it was gone!  And the next day so were we…as we made an overnight passage to Raiatea.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Papeete, Society Islands, French Polynesia – Mar 2 – 11 2014

Papeete, Tahiti is the Administrative capitol of French Polynesia.  It is the economic hub for more than 117 islands that are spread over a marine area the size of Europe and encompasses some of the most remote and stunningly beautiful geography and topography on the planet.  The volcanic Marquesas, The Tuamotu Atolls and the reef rimmed Society Islands of Tahiti, Mo'orea, Ra'iatea, Huahine, Taha'a, Bora Bora, Maupiti and Mopelia, Paradise of the South Seas.

Papeete is where you go to provision and also if you need to beg for a Visa Extension and begging is the operative phrase…they do not make it easy or make you feel welcome, quite the opposite, you are clearly a bother.

We checked into Marina Tiana on a mooring ball and for the record these folks were great.  The anchorage was conveniently located close to shopping and town. 
There is a certain charm resident in the island architecture and native population, the old ships at anchor and the beautiful encompassing reef, but we found the administrative Bureaucrats much less so.

After jumping thru all the hoops, numerous visits, passports photos and questionaires copied ad nauseum, we were begrudgingly and reluctantly allowed an additional 30 days.  (I am writing this in RED in honour of all the RED TAPE NEEDED HERE!)
 It was a start! 

We provisioned up and sailed on to Moorea to wait out a weather system before proceeding on to Raiatea to effect some needed boat maintenance.