Stolen Kiss

Stolen Kiss

July 24, 2012

French Polynesia Finale

They arrived!!!!!!!

Tahiti arrival space (as opposed to lounge!) is a sight to see as in true Polynesian style, everyone is greeted with a Anita received one from us too!! The fragrance of so many flowers was fantastic.. as was the colour! Forgot the camera!!!

After breathing a sigh of relief that the engine was fixed and sounded fantastic and a double sigh that the gear box arrived from the USA the day after Barn and Anita arrived, we could now depart Tahiti for the other islands.

Like father like son…do we think we have enough chocolate??? Barn and Anita made sure we at least had a good start to supplies!

Barn helped Peter get the old gear box off and install the new one. It was supposed to be a complete swap except the new plate that attaches the gear box to the bell housing was the wrong size! Barn looked at the new one and said it was the wrong size!! An easy solution…..attach the old plate to the new gear box! Phew!! We had excellent advice from Aka who has been around the Pacific for a while…….DHL are the only company that can get parts in quickly to Tahiti! Coupled with Tom List Marine’s help in Sausalito, San Francisco, our gear box came from Georgia, San Fran, LA and Papetee in three days and was cleared the next day and installed!! Not so amazing what money can do!!! It was well worth it.

After two days of showing the new arrivals Tahiti, it was off to Moorea for the ray feeding. We had the best weather for the first part of the holiday, which was good!!!!!!! 

Of course, with Barnaby's gentle persuasion, Anita finally got in the water! The rays are quite intimidating climbing all over you, but if you float, they go underneath you! Beware as soon as you put your feet down....

Barn bought his equipment along to keep in shape.

An easy overnight motor sail to Huahine with a fullish moon and Barn doing one watch in the middle of the night was a treat for us! The sea was relatively calm and we even managed to sail the last 4 hours in flat water down the lee side of the island into the town of Fare, where we anchored outside in good sand.
Huahine has a few small villages with limited supplies. During July, there are many celebrations, one of which is a Tahitian dance competition which we have been able to enjoy.

Anita and Barn found the pearl farm and made their purchases whilst we relaxed outside………….

Fresh water eels were talked about as a must see….slippery little suckers… different to their salt water cousins.

The fish farms are rather ingenious and effective! A series of rock walls draft the fish towards the huts. As we saw very little evidence of locals fishing but lots of fish for sale..we can only assume...............

Not far from our anchorage in Fare were some pretty little reef fish and a snorkel that was well worth it.
Barn saw his first reef shark..We could not work out why he was sitting on the side of the dinghy!!! Apparently the shark came towards him with its fin out of the water.....they don't eat people here!

With deteriorating weather, we made a quick exit over to Tahaa and Raiatea, which are two atolls joined together. The Hibiscus Hotel on the east side of Tahaa has free moorings with a free trip to the Vanilla Farm, which was well worth it. The vanilla pods are very succulent and superb!! It is indeed THE best vanilla farm in THE world! The pods sell for $250/kilo and are very labour intensive in their production, with each pod being massaged several times to bring out the aroma after they have been dried.

We decided to go to tuck up on a mooring outside Marina Apooiti, where the charter fleet is based. The winds were quite strong with a reasonable amount of rain! Land based activities were the go. Barn decided that shirts off was the best in the rain as at least you would have something dry at the end!!

The most amazing snorkel by far was the coral garden at Tahaa which we decided to organize at the last minute. Unfortunately in our haste, we forgot the underwater camera!! We floated with the current amongst beautiful coral and so many fishes....the most interesting being the so aptly named Picasso fish and the Porcupine fish with its huge brown eyes peering out from under the rock. Many anemone fish..the anemones that house the little black and blue fish are ok to touch, but not so for the Nemo anemones. Local knowledge is always good! We were able to swim the gardens twice and could have kept doing this all day!!

We were quite bored after a few days of howling wind. The front was clearing in another day or so, so we decided to make our way to Bora Bora. It was a 25 mile sail in confused seas, however, only 12 miles of that was in unsheltered water. As the wind has a tendency to accelerate around/over all the islands, Bora Bora, with its large peaks of an old volcanic crater, is no exception. We clocked a little over 40 knots coming down the lee side of the reef (the previous day Amnesia clocked 53 knots in the anchorage) and were hooning along at 9 knots with a double reefed main!!

We made our way to the Bora Bora yacht club which provided a good service to yachties. We anchored in 25m for a few days in the gusty winds waiting for a mooring. Many yachts were departing for Tonga as we will be doing around the 25th of July. We are the blue boat in the middle!!

Lots to see and do….but the best of the best was the Heli ride!! Expensive for 15 minutes, but considering the costs and the maintenance….safety ensured!! We picked the best day with excellent visibility…….the WOW factor being up there!!  It was breathtakingly awesome! The pilot has a Peterson 44 he is re-fitting in Tahiti and is always pleased to meet yachties...Barn only looks like he's the pilot!!!

You can see the old crater clearly from here. This is looking from the south.

Bora Bora is expensive for us and even more so for the locals.  A great place to explore….in the right weather!! Although there are 2 supermarkets, fresh food is in short supply. The kids are great foodies, so we had lots of wonderful meals and discussed even more! Anita made a sensational rice pudding with some of the vanilla and of course cream! We have all had enough cheese to last us a while! 

We did not do all the anchorages justice by any stretch of the imagination and only spent a few days in the east lagoon. It is sensational!!! We swam with the manta rays on our awesome sight! The coral reef around the mantas was fantastic with lots of good coral and fish.

The Four Seasons lagoon is great to swim in but were politely required to leave, although we were welcome to visit their restaurant and bar if we so desired. Our final night was a dinner at Mai Kai restaurant....a poor anchorage as it is exposed but a sensational restaurant! it is just around the corner from the Bora Bora Yacht Club which came to be our hangout place.

 Its so sad to see barn and Anita leave after a sensational 3 weeks with them and on their departure, we will make our way towards Tonga, some 1200nm. We will have a fast sail for 4 days then it will be a little slower. We will try to make the best of the early winds!

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