Sunday, June 22, 2008


Moorea was nice but Huahine is very nice! Maybe it was the head cold or the strong winds that kept us boatbound but we were ready to leave Moorea. We skipped the next bay over where you can swim with the rays and sharks because it was too crowded.
So we hauled the anchor around noon and planned an overnighter for the 90 miles to Huahine. We had nice sailing for the first half, interspersed with heavy showers and gusty squalls, but then the wind went very light and we motor sailed the rest of the way to arrive at the S end of Huahine at daybreak. Tried three times to anchor on the shelf inside the reef, in about 15' of water, but we gave up and dropped the hook in front of the village in deeper water but with something on the bottom the anchor
could dig into! On the reef shelf, there was only a very fine layer of sand so unless the anchor hooked on coral, it just dragged. With the winds we had just experienced on Moorea, we would not get any sleep unless we knew the anchor was set.
It is quite nice off the village. The boat streams to the W due to the current that constantly runs out of the pass behind us. This is because the swell coming up from the SE breaks over the reef and fills the lagoon to overflowing. There is just enough breeze to make the hot sun bearable and the water is clear for swimming.
We have met up with Brian & Cathy on 'Tarun' again and Barry & Ann on 'Cat's Paw IV' are here as well. So we had our traditional celebratory beer before noon and settled in to relax for a while.
We are beginning to realize that we are drawing to the end of our French Polynesian experience. They gave us 3 months and that will be up July 21st. We are also hearing rumours now of boats who landed illegally in Fatu Hiva (like we did), being fined $200US for not clearing in properly first! Guess it pays to be the first ones in! There are only two, maybe three, islands left to visit before we clear out of the country. The next, Raiatea which we can see in the distance, has haulout facilities
and services for fixing broken gear. We seem to be in fairly good shape (touch wood), so will skip the bottom painting here and hope to make it to NZ for a major refit. After that is the jewel of the S Pacific, Bora Bora, and we are looking forward to seeing it. This is where we do our final clearance out of the country and retrieve the bond they made us post on entry. This amounted to about $3200US and guaranteed to them that we had the means to leave the country if necessary. I guess they
don't like foreign hippies becoming a burden on them! After Bora Bora, there are two small islands we were told we could stop at on our way by. We may visit one of them, Ile Maupiti, if conditions are favourable.
Our destination after French Polynesia is the Cook Islands but which island is still under discussion. We are leaning to Rarotonga but Aitutaki is on a more direct line to Niue which would be our next stop after the Cooks. I doubt we will do any exploring in the Cooks as the islands are small and do not seem to offer much. From Bora Bora to the Cook Islands is about 500 miles and from there to Niue looks like about another 400 miles so the legs are getting longer. After Niue comes Tonga and then
a decision whether to go directly down to NZ, a 1000 mile passage that requires careful weather routing to avoid the depressions that move constantly from the Tasman Sea going E to NZ, or continue further W to Fiji or even New Caledonia, where you get a better angle on the long leg S to NZ. Time and weather will influence those decisions.
But for now, we relax in Huahine! Yesterday we went into the village and found a stage set up in a covered area where bands were playing in a music festival. Sipping on a cold fresh coconut and enjoying the music, which was a mix of French and Polynesian songs with guitars, electric keyboards and voice. People were sporting their best straw hats with lots of flowers wound around them and the tattoos were much in evidence. Then walking back to the dinghy we came across the weighing in of a fishing
competition which saw giant mahi-mahi and swordfish hoisted up on block & tackles to see who got the prize!
Sunday today and maybe we'll drop the dinghy anchor on the reef shelf and see what kind of coloured fishies are out there!

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