Bora Bora

Paradise, that’s about all you can say for Bora Bora. It truly is. We are currently on the hook in front of the Bora Yacht Club. I just had a visit from a local in a outrigger canoe trying to sell me his Blue Marlin Spike that he carved. However, it was out of my budget. 35,000 ff (french franks) about $350.00 US. Not so very expensive but more then I had in cash on the boat. So “se la vie” or something like that….

We rented a car yesterday with our friends Joni and Ken and did the around the island tour. She’s only 17 miles around, we stopped many time for photo ops which I’ll be sharing soon as we get better connection. Huahine so far has had the best connection. Our tour around had some melancholy moments, seeing all the special places like the Hotel Bora Bora closed and they wouldn’t even let us walk the property and take pictures. We then stopped at Bloody Mary’s for a pee break and decided to stay for lunch. It’s such a fun place with sand floors and the heads are comical. Of course we have pictures….:0-) Lunch was great, I had one of the infamous “Bloody Mary’s” and it was delicious. Tomorrow we move to the back side of Bora Bora to do some swimming and snorkeling…

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Leaving Huahine

Well what can you say, it’s sad leaving an island, especially a beautiful one like Huahine. We really didn’t have enough time here, our 90 days in French Polynesia is running out. We arrived on the 12th and left on the 15th, so we really only had three days to explore. We went to Happy Hour at the New Te Marara where the beers are half price and only $2.50 a glass. We sat with two other cruising couples John, Suzanne, Paul and Catherine, both from Great Britain. It’s fun to connect with others that have been on a similar journey and exchange stories of the sea. John and Suzanne have been cruising for over twenty years on and off, while Paul and Catherine have been out here for just over a year. Rick and I are the newbies at only four months, however we were the oldest by age… lol, not by much however, we’re all of the same generation.

We were having trouble with our alternator which was shutting down during charging. Not good. Rick decided it was too important not to address immediately. Of course we had a spare and Rick spent the good part of the day making the change. It was difficult as the replacement was not the same model. Not a fun job, especially when it’s hot, but he managed with not too much cursing. While he was working on that I cleaned the head. Not just a quickie but emptied all the lockers sprayed for bugs, deodorized them and put the boric acid on the bottom. We really haven’t had a problem with bugs, we thought it was going to be pretty bad with the mosquitos and all, but it’s not been bad at all. I guess when you have so much repellant on board they don’t come around… The job in the head took almost as long as the alternator. We were on our way to Happy Hour, but stopped at Kahia and Paul and Catherine invited us aboard. So we had happy hour with them on their boat, it’s fun to visit on a more intimate level. We so enjoy making new friends and getting to know them better. We came back to Rhino and I made a steak dinner, that turned out great. We had bought the steaks at the market, here steak is cheaper then chicken (which comes from the states). A package of chicken breasts can cost more then $40.00, for 3 or 4 breasts. Our two steaks were around $9.00 and really tender and tasty, along with fresh broccoli and a tomato salad, plus a great bottle of Silver Oak cabernet (compliments of Rick’s sister Alida). All in all a great day filled with accomplishments. We were going to the market today to pick up a few more things, but today the 15th is some Holiday in France and everything closed at 11:30am. The time passes so quickly, hard to believe this month is half over already. However we’re looking forward to Bora Bora and re-visiting some of the places that we went the last time we were here, only with our own Rhino and we can stay longer.

Well it’s 4:00 in the morning and I’m on watch. The seas are rolly again maybe 3′ to 5′, not horrible but uncomfortable. Wind is blowing approximately 15 knots, our position is 16 degrees, 36.142 minutes South, 151 degrees, 46.542 minutes West, with a course of 282 True and our speed is 5.4 knots. As I gaze up at the mast our navigation lights red and green are dancing with the twinkling stars. Such a beautiful melody can be heard if your listening to the wind and the sea. It takes your mind off the uncomfortable part.

The sun is rising over Bora Bora upon our arrival, such a sight to see from the sea. It’s about 0600 and we’re at the entrance to the passe Teavanui. I wake Rick about 0615 and we make our approach into Baie Faanui but not before checking out the anchorage in front of Vaitape the main town. The anchorage there is very deep 100′ so we decided to go to Faanui and anchor. It’s also a deep anchorage (70+’) and after two attempts to set the hook, we decided to pick up a mooring ball. So we are on a ball in front of the Bora Bora Yacht Club. Very close to the same location we were at when we were here in 2000.

Our friends Joni and Ken arrived on Dancing Walrus around 4 and we had drinks on their boat and then went over to the yacht club for dinner. The food was fantastic but of course very expensive. However the mooring ball is complimentary for the first night if you have dinner at the club. They have a pool table now, so we had a few games of pool, Rick and I are still trying to win…

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Huahine

Our trip here was uneventful.  We left Moorea around 3 in the afternoon and arrived at the entrance to Fare on the island of Huahine around 10 am.  We anchored in the crowded anchorage with no problems.  Our friends Jonathan on Messalina arrived shortly after us.  Today we shopped and re-provisioned for the rest of the trip to Bora Bora, Tahaa and Raiatea.  The market here is one of the best we’ve been to.  They have everything you could possibly need.  So now we’re back at the mother ship enjoying the peace and quite of the islands

View from the Maitai on Huahine

.  We’ll go back for happy hour at 5 pm.  I’ve been able to upload some photos here, the wifi seems to be a bit easier and quicker.

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Moorea

Well here we sit, another evening on the hook in Opunohu Bay, Moorea. It’s been a beautiful couple of days since we’ve arrived. We took the dinghy over to where you swim with the sting rays and the black tipped sharks. Our friends Jonathan, Evan and Chloe also made the trip with us. It’s exciting to be so close to these fish in their natural habitat. It reminded me of the Cayman Islands and Sting Ray City only these guys were much BIGGER. After we had our fill we dinghy’d over to the beach near where the Club Med used to be. We then found the road and walked to get additional fuel in order to make it back to the Mother ship. It was over an hour dinghy ride to get there, with our 2 HP engine, Jonathan has a 2 1/2 HP, so we travel about the same speed.

The Club Med was abandoned and falling apart. We walked to a small village picked up our gas then stopped for a pizza at the Iguana. A cute little restaurant and bar with a brick oven. The pizza’s were great and the beers were cold. What more can you ask for.

We also dinghy’d over to Cooks Bay the next day. Another almost hour ride to check it out and find an internet cafe. Cook’s is very different from Opunohu Bay, much more developed but still fun. We walked to an internet cafe which was about three miles from where we docked our dinghy at the Club Bali Hai. I wanted to apply for Medicare, no luck. Oh well I guess I have to wait till I get home. We also checked out the Club which is where my brother Pete and his wife Chris will be staying next year. It’s a bit dated, but clean with a tiny beach, gift shop and small restaurant. On our walk back we had stopped to pick up some groceries (vodka, which was on sale for $14.00, what a bargain from $27.00 on Nuku Hiva), so we had a heavier load on the return. We put our thumb out and hitched a ride. Finally a guy stopped and gave us a ride. You really meet the nicest people hitch hiking.

The days are flying by, some days we never even make it off the boat. It’s so beautiful to just watch the other boats and check out the goings on, on the beach. Hard to explain the contentment you feel just swinging on the hook in such a beautiful and wondrous place.

We wanted to go the Belvedere which is an overlook between the two bays and is supposed to have a specular view. So we go ashore and start to walk. It feels good to walk after being on the boat and stretching your legs. We came across some men using Leica survey equipment, they didn’t speak much English, but I had fun talking to them about the equipment I used to sell. We continued our walk and found the Fare Vaiare. We rang the bell and Phillip opened it up for us. It’s a four hut Inn on the water near the public beach where my brother will also stay next year. We got a tour of the property, which was lovely. I know they will enjoy being there next year. We talked with Phillip and he gave us some helpful hints on places to go and see. Magic Mountain and Belvedere along with the Tropical Gardens were at the top of his list. We told him we were walking to Belvedere, he said it was very far. So when we left we decided to hitch again. A woman with three children stopped and picked us up. Her name is Moana and she’s a teacher on Tahiti here for a holiday with her niece and nephew from France. She’s half French and half Tahitian. We told here where we were going and that she could leave us off at the bottom of the road. She told us it was very far and it was the heat of the day (noon) and that perhaps we shouldn’t try to do it now. So she convinced us to change plans and decided to go to Magic Mountain, she wasn’t familiar with it but she was going in that direction and would drop us off. When we arrived at the spot that Phillip had said was the start of the trail, she asked if we wanted to go to Belvedere tomorrow. She would pick us up at the public beach and take us with the kids. We agreed to meet her at 9:30 – 10:00 am the next day.

Rick and I then paid our $$ to walk the trail. It’s a small donation to help fund the upkeep of the trail. We then started up…. and up… and up… and up…(you get the picture)… Till we got to the top… What a view, Phillip was right it was magical up there. You could see Opunohu bay, both anchorages and also down where the sting rays are, plus the valley with the homes was incredible to see. Truly a feast for the eyes, the lush green saw tooth mountains with the turquoise waters. WOW. We sat at the top and took pictures of course, they also bring the ATV tours up to almost the top. So while we were there a group of people came up. They were all passengers on the Paul Gaugin which had come in earlier. They couldn’t believe that we had walked all the way up. So we then made our decent and when we arrived at the street we were very parched. I asked a man if there was a store close by and he told us a ten minute walk, in the opposite direction we needed to be going. Rick didn’t really want to walk out of the way, he just wanted to head back. I convinced him it was better to walk the 10 minutes to get our drinks then go farther without. The store was just about a ten minute walk and we were able to pick up some water and cold beer. We were both exhausted by now and were really far from the mother ship. I said a little prayer for a ride back because there was no way we would be able to walk all the way back. We put our thumbs out again and sure enough a gal by the name of Tonina who works for Ron Hall the black pearl store stopped and picked us up. She was so sweet and spoke English. What a treat, she took us all the way to the public beach. Thank you God for answering my prayers, always.

The next morning we make our way to the beach via dinghy. Tie her off and walk to the road and wait for Moana. While we were waiting to met a few other cruisers walking past. It’s fun to connect with others that are on the same path. In fact I had taken some great photos of a bright yellow catamaran with the coconut palms and green grass with crystal clear water. Guess who came to the fence, the skipper of that boat and I showed him the photos I had just taken. He loved them and said he will come by later with a memory stick.

Moana showed up about 10:30, she apologized about being late, the kids… No problem, so we all pile into her little car and off we go to Belvedere. OMG. It was very far from the boat and all I kept thinking was that our Friend Jonathan and his kids walked all this way. We finally got to the top and it was a beautiful view. She then took us to see the Marae’s where they used to hold ceremonies for the dead and also sometimes make sacrifices to the Gods. Monana was an exceptional tour guide and then to top off the day, she took us home with her and made us Tahitian drinks. She also invited us to come with her and the family to a beach BBQ, but we had made plans to meet with Jonathan and family for dinner at Lilikoi a local home that serves dinner. So we declined. She then drove us back the the beach and our boat. What a wonderful stay we’ve had here in Moorea. The polynesian people and there hospitality is beyond belief and truly something we should all strive to become more like.

We now have to prepare Rhino for our trip to Huahine, we’ll be leaving today around 3 or 4 pm. So again thanks for listening.. LAC

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Moorea/Tahiti

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Moorea reality

Cap’n Rick says:

Sometimes I re-read my blogs and they sound a little bit negative. Not intended. Yes, the sailing can require a lot of attention and can be difficult, especially when the wind/seas/squalls are challenging in the middle of the night. As my friend Eddie Jakubik put it – “What, did you think it would to be easy”? Hello! But, BUT on the other side, I must mention the rewards. They are quite remarkable by any standard. The latest just occurred.

After our day sail to Moorea from Tahiti in idyllic conditions, we successfully navigated the pass and settle in to our new anchorage. We had the hook down in 10′ feet of crystal clear, turquoise water with a sandy bottom at 4:45 PM. I could see the chain stretched out from the bow in a clean line. We were inside the reef just off the entrance to Opunohu Bay, the large bay just to the west of Cook’s Bay. The bay and soaring peaks in front of us, the sun setting behind us across the ocean, the palm trees and lush green hillside 300′ off our bow reflecting the twilight, so hard to describe – like you see in those idyllic postcards, but real, here, and for us, now.

We went ashore with our new, dear friends Ken and Joni that evening. They had sailed here a day before. Returning to the boat, the moon was rising. Full and bright in the clear sky. The whole island became bathed in this gentle, yellow light. We were just in awe of the whole experience. Moorea, this ancient, beautiful pearl of an island, seen under a full moon, as the first voyagers must have seen centuries ago. Sitting comfortably in the cockpit of our small vessel, the Rhino, a gentle breeze blowing – mystical is the only way I can attempt to describe it. We were literally spell bound. That, my friends, is the reward side, one of the enduring images of this remarkable sojourn that shall never fade from our memory. It is so totally indescribable, you just have to live it. Thousands of miles across the Pacific from our home port but we are here, we made it. We totally realize how blessed we are. No two people can be more appreciative. Any way, that is the way it was and I become more complete with every such experience. Enjoy every moment folks, life is special where ever you are and whatever you are doing, look for the wonder and you will find it, never forget that.

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Moorea

WOW. Really another day in paradise, and I’m not just saying that. Moorea is beautiful, lush green spire mountains and crystal clear green turquoise water. We had a great crossing from Tahiti only 23 miles. The wind was stiff blowing from 15 to 25 knots, seas were manageable at 5′ to 7′ at 7 second intervals. Going with the current we were making +6.5 knots of speed.

We arrived around 4:45 in the afternoon, just before sunset. We were greeted by our friends Joni and Ken Church who asked us if we wanted to go to the Hilton to watch the sunset and shoot some pool and enjoy “Happy Hour”. Of course we did. Super fun evening with our new BFF’s and then to top it off we had the most beautiful full moon rise. The night was magical and lit up with the moonlight off the mountains. Such a tranquil setting compared to Papeete, Tahiti. Going back to the mother ship was an incredible journey through the water that you could still see the bottom reflected by the moon light, what a sight to see.

Our friends left in the evening headed and to Raiatea… :0-( They will be missed, but our paths are sure to cross again soon.

This is our third day here and we still haven’t lowered the dinghy into the water (today’s the day, really). Having too much fun swimming and snorkeling right off the boat. The water close to shore, which is a beautiful white sand beach lined with coconut palms, is full of coral heads and fish, plus it’s an easy swim for me.

We also reconnected with our friend Jonathan and his kids, Chloe and Evan. We had a fun night last night and played “chicken feet” with the dominoes into the wee hours (aka 2100) lol.

We plan on being here at least a week, so there’s no rush. We may even rent a car again here and check out the island. We heard of an area that you can dinghy to and swim with the sting rays. We did get to see some rays while snorkeling off Rhino yesterday. LAC

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Sunday 29 July

Here it is Sunday night already and we returned our car this morning around 11:30AM. What a wonderful couple of days. We reunited with some friends we met in Rangiroa, Joni and Ken on Dancing Walrus. We rented a car here on Friday afternoon, the rental company even came and picked us up and took us to the airport to take care of the paperwork. Rick and I then want around the downtown area of Papeete. It reminded me of Chinatown in New York. Old, run down and not really clean, but, it is bustling and an experience in itself. The thing you have to remember is that it’s really very old (early 1800’s). We walked around and window shopped, didn’t see anything very exciting or that we could afford. So guess what, we went for a late lunch at Morrison’s Cafe, above the market place overlooking the harbor. We had a waitress that couldn’t understand vodka on the rocks, so she sent over an English speaking man. His English was great and Rick asked him where he was from…. Hello… LA… So we had great conversation with him, he married a gal from here and her parents owned the restaurant which they took over and were having a big birthday party that night for one of the in laws. We was a great contact and had lots of helpful info on getting around town, plus the food was wonderful. Rick and I then drove around and found the Tahiti Yacht Club, such as it is, a very modest place – smaller than DWYC. We sat and had a quick drink and went back to the boat, it was almost dark. We ran into Joni and Ken at happy hour at La Casa Bianca, in Taina Marina, where Rhino is. Woo hoo… Told them of our plans to drive the island to see if they wanted to come, but they were leaving for Moorea…:0-( Well as it turns out in the morning we get a gentle knock on our hull, saying if the invite still stands they would like to come along on our tour of the island. Of course it still stands and how great it is to share it with someone and they have been here and know all the turn offs. We start our trip around 9 am and head toward Papeete and around that side towards the “Cascades”, “Blowholes and Caves”. The Blowhole area was fun to see and Joni had her great binoculars to see the “Mud fish” on the rocks. They look like lizards and hop like frogs on the rocks and if you don’t know there are there, you would never see them. Plus we went up the dirt and paved road up into the interior of the island. Bumpy often steep road but what visuals – beautiful, soaring peaks and lush, lush green – you felt this was the real Tahiti. We finally arrived at an old run down hotel, but serving really cold beers for $5.00 each and what a view and what a ride. We then went back to the coast and continued our drive around the island to see the caves and cascades “waterfalls”. Without Joni and Ken as our guides we probably would have missed most. So it was wonderful to experience it all and be able to share with them. We found a wonderful little place to have a bite to eat and then continued on. Great way to see how the locals live outside of Papeete. It is truly a beautiful place and we are truly Blessed. We get back to the harbor and the mother ship, I’m trying to sleep but keep hearing these drums and thinking “what am I missing”, and I’m already in bed but couldn’t take it any longer and decided to get up and go for a walk toward the drumming. I’m so glad that I did. I went over to the other area of the harbor and found the most amazing wedding that had taken place earlier and the families were still celebrating with local dancing, drums and music. It was special to see, all the locals in their full regalia with the flowers in their hair and around their necks. It was something I’ll never forget.

Today, Sunday, we had to return the car by 11:30 but first had to do our shopping and errands, etc, etc. All is well. We had missed the “Trucks” last night, the boys were tired. So went into town with a taxi to have dinner with the locals at the trucks. It was another experience, the locals bring their food trucks to the center of town and set up tables and chairs outside. The cook all the food fresh to order, many different varieties and boy was it great. Rick even got a “banana split”.

LAC & Skipper Rick

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Crossing to Tahiti

Only a two night crossing from Rangiroa to Papeete, Tahiti, no problem, right. WRONG again. Truly amazing how quickly things can change. We were in dead calm conditions, almost like being in the doldrums. Then out of no where the winds pipe up at 11 PM to up to 30 knots and the seas along with it… Of course is pitch black with no moon and no way to see which way the seas are coming from. What a ride, made the crossing which was only two nights seem like 22 nights. We lost touch with our friend Jonathan, still haven’t reconnected but I’m sure he’s ok. I think.

Now a word from Cap’n Rick: One of the smartest things I did before leaving Dana Point (far away and a seemingly long time ago), was to install AIS (Automatic Identification System which all commercial vessels are required to have). You sometimes wonder will all the safety, trick stuff you install before such a voyage as this will pay off. Well AIS did, big time. I knew Papeete would be a busy port, most likely the busiest in the South Pacific. Ships, big and small, would be in and out at all hours of the day. Sure enough, in the roughest part of this very boisterous night time journey, 3 times the AIS alerted us to another ship in our vicinity – heading in or out of our destination port. Two of those were critical.

The AIS icon (an elongated triangle), for the first of the 3 appeared on our chart plotter. Checking the icon tells you their name, identification number, speed, direction, size, destination, CPA (closest point of approach), and time to CPA (closest point of approach). It passed harmlessly off our stern. The second one was coming at us. After plotting his direction, I concluded he was almost exactly 180 degrees from our course or more exactly, we were headed directly for each other. We were about 20 minutes apart – 6 miles. He was traveling at 12 kts. and we at 5 kts. – combined, 17 kts. closing speed and our CPA was now under a mile and lessening – confirmation of the collision course. I checked his course on the radar and put a VRM and EBL on him (variable range marker, electronic bearing line). But it wasn’t precise enough. My calculation from the AIS information had to rule. I turned to port 10 degrees, deciding that turning to starboard would put me across his bow. But turning to port put me into the wind and heavy seas, not good, pitching and slowing Rhino down dramatically. Knowing the ships name (a 170 foot private vessel heading to Hawaii out of Papeete), I called him on VHF. I raised the skipper and explained we were a 32′ sail boat very close to a collision course with him and that I had beared off to port 10 degrees but it was most difficult in the wind and sea conditions to maintain control. I asked him if he could bear off to his port so I could resume my original course (he had seen me, with my AIS, but didn’t seem too concerned – well, at 170’at 12 kts. versus 32’at 5 kts., I guess I understood). He agreed and did so. Whew! problem solved with less than 15 minutes to go. Then, at about 4 AM, there was a vessel heading up from behind us on my starboard quarter at 14 kts. Again, we would directly cross paths (collision) within the hour. It was heading directly to Papeete also. I could turn to port, but same problem as above. It was a 374′ inter-island trader. Again, knowing the ships name from the AIS info, I called the skipper and again explained my situation and requested he turn to starboard about 10 degrees to pass me safely. He would overtake me in about 20 minutes and then could resume his original course. He understood and also agreed to change course. He soon steamed past us and whew, problem solved.

AIS, you got to love it. It gives you the information for immediate contact with a “dangerous” vessel. Much better than trying to contact an unknown vessel by lat and long. If they are properly manning their bridge, they will respond – they know you know EXACTLY who they are. Exhausting night and was glad daylight was coming! Yeah, don’t be jealous or envious of our journey until you try a few nights like this!

When we arrived in Tahiti it was blowing like crazy and we were headed for Taina Marina area to anchor but Rick decided he we would see if a slip was available, which is fine with me. They had one available and told us where to go. Only problem is they are speaking French and we don’t understand French. We get to the spot, they actually send a tender out to help you in, which is a good thing since you have to BACK into the “slip”, which is only a space on a concrete wall between 2 other boats – no side docks. What an ordeal. I was running around on deck with the boat hook trying to keep us off other 2 boats, it was like a comedy. These guys one in the tender and one on the dock are telling Rick in French what to do. Well long story short, we finally backed into the space, we only bumped one of the other boats once – no damage to anyone. Thank you God. So now we’re backed into the dock, how do we get on the dock? We have a wind vane at the stern, so we’re about 5′ away. The guys that helped us get in, place a gang plank across, so now when we get on or off the boat we walk the 8″ gang plank, and it’s not so easy. Especially if you’ve had a cocktail or two and it’s night… So far we’re both dry.

Sleep is a good thing, especially after a crossing. So we checked in at the Marina office came back to the boat, had our mini celebration (I surprised Rick with a bottle of Kettle One, I’ve been saving for a special occasion) that we made it and slept over 10 hours.

We found the laundromat and it’s only $8.00 per load to wash and about the same to dry. Yikes, things really are expensive here. Not much you can do about it, they have a captive audience. So that took almost all day, doing laundry and cleaning up the boat.

Yesterday we were going up to our local pub for happy hour and we ran into The Boys From Holland. So fun to reconnect with the friends we made in Taiohae bay. We were also joined by a few other cruisers that we had met and it turned into a party. I did post a quick picture on Facebook.

Today, Dion and Johan came by Rhino and took us out to the anchorage in their dinghy. Our’s is not in the water because we’re at the dock and don’t really need it. It was fun to go out and see what things look like from there… The anchorage here is big and there are a lot of boats, including some MEGA yachts. In fact Dustin Hoffman’s beautiful, huge sail boat is here and apparently he was here last week. Fun to see how the really wealthy live. Some of them even have helicopters on top, along with smaller boats inside, just amazing to see. Hard to imagine how much money you need to live like that. Anyway, I’ll never know and don’t really care, we’re here just like they are, right? And we did it not as birds in a gilded cage, but close to the water, of our own efforts – no hired hands.

Tonight at our favorite spot, they had the Polynesian dancers and drummers and they put on a really great show and it was FREE.

We’ll be renting a car and checking out the rest of the island very soon.

Thanks again for listening. LAC & Skipper Rick

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Leaving Rangiroa

Here we are at sea again, rockin’ and rollin’ on our way to Tahiti. The Tuamotu’s with their atolls are very interesting entering and leaving through the different passes. Some are more difficult to navigate through, due to tidal changes, coral heads and current. We left yesterday around noon time, low tide was at 11:31 am and we thought a half an hour after low tide would have been enough to make it an easy and safe passage. WRONG… Well we watched the waves on the outside of the pass for a bit along with the ones in the pass which looked like little rollers. So we thought it was a good time, little did we know. Anyway, we also had Jonathan (35), on Messalina a single handler behind us that wanted to kind of buddy boat down to Tahiti with us. We went first, the beginning it was ok, small rollers, which Rhino took no problem. However, as we got closer to ocean and the end of the pass the waves grew to HUGE. Our weather guy Tony, was so right when he said we would get wet on our way to Tahiti with the squalls and weather, only it happened sooner rather then later. We were, we thought prepared for the worst. We had done our check list before pulling up the hook and all seemed well. Before we went through the pass we had, we thought gotten everything ready and battened down. But when we started taking green water over the bow sprit and got pooped (taking green water over the stern) on AND had about 12″ of water in the cockpit, we realized we missed a few things. Hello… Like dogging down the forward hatch and CLOSING the galley port light (window) so as we were topside and holding on for dear life, down below was getting a good cleaning with salt water. I only wish someone on shore could have had a movie of us going thru the pass. It would have made for a fun watch, the two of us in the cockpit getting drenched by wave after wave and trying to steer our way out. We made it, but then realized the problem wasn’t so much the pass and our timing as the waves off shore. They were 8′ to 10′ and confused, so very difficult to steer a course. We did make it out, both of us we like drowned rats. I did have a minute after we were out to video Jonathan coming out of the pass which doesn’t really do it justice of the way it really was. Rick felt bad as thought he had used poor judgment in his timing, but it would have been hard to predict. The seas were large at least 8′ to 12′ for the first few hours till we made our way around Rangiroa. The night was a bit flatter with winds around 15 kts and the seas were 3′ to 5′. The night sky was amazing as usual, the stars were so bright filled with falling stars and the milky way, which when you look through the binoculars you really become insignificant. I once was told there are more stars in the sky, then there are all the grains of sand on all the beaches of the world. Don’t know if that’s true but looking up from here I believe it. Oops, should have known, Rick read this and said he researched it and the consensus is yes! More stars than sand.

Before we left Rangiroa on Friday we went and snorkeled by the range lights at the entrance. A few of the other cruisers had mentioned that the snorkeling there was wonderful. So we finally got there the day before we left. They were right, it was amazing and FREE. Crystal clear with many different species of fish and sharks. Along with the biggest moray eel that I have ever seen. It had to be 10″ in diameter at the head. Jonathan came with us in his dinghy and the three of us just had a great time, then a excursion boat came and started to feed the fish, OMG. I thought we were seeing fish before but now there were tons. He taunted the moray eel to come out of his hole and when he did, I backed up really fast. He was very fat around but not very long, however he had a very big mouth and I did not want to be very close to him.

Rick mentioned it’s a strange feeling, but when you leave an anchorage such as this, you become a little sad. You have spent 2 weeks getting to know the atoll, the people, the island and beaches and it begins to feel like home. Leaving on your boat, you realize you most likely “will never pass this way again”. He likes that thought as he believes it makes him feel all that more appreciative of these special days and places. LAC & Skipper Rick

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