Posted by: catamarantwooceans | October 3, 2009

Huahine and Raiatea

29.9.09  –  After entering Huahine we found a quiet anchorage on a turquoise sandy patch and spent a well deserved restful night there.

30.9.09 – Wednesday – We motored south in the lagoon, to find peace in Avea bay. I spent some time at the top of the mast, trying to insert a new rope for the lazy-jack system. No success! Instead I improvised an arrangement on the outside of the mast. It’ll have to do for now.  Trying to pass ropes in the boom for the reefing system also proved fruitless. I’ll have to think of some solution.

Another thing that bugged us was the lack of fish. While Gili made a meal out of imported Tyson chicken parts, Nir was playing with the fishing rod and reel. We did not have high hopes, as the bottom was mostly sand and we saw no fish when we snorkeled. Surprise, surprise! A small fish first, then a big, 3 kg batfish and two other small ones were caught. The last piece of bait brought another2 kg batfish!

1.10.09 – First thing in the morning was to go to the resort’s restaurant to check whether the batfish was safe to eat. The two lovely mamas in the kitchen gave me the O.K.  Next move was to relocate to Raiatea – some 20 miles away. Hopefully we shall not need to reef. Most of the way was fun, going 7.5 kts with 15-17 knots of wind, but then the rain caught up with us. We aimed at Teavamoa pass in order to go to the sacred Marae of Taputaputea. Boy, that pass was narrow! A tiny islet with a hut on starboard and breaking waves on the reef on the port side, and we were in. We could see the Marae on shore, but did not find a suitable place to anchor. So we went on to Faaroa bay, a deep green bay, where we found a good mooring buoy in the company of four other catamarans and some monos. The batfish was cooked in coconut milk and spices and although Gili complained that everything just went wrong – it was delicious.

2.10.09 – Friday – Morning brought more rain and wind. We had gusts of over 30 knots! We decided to go to the western, more protected side of the island. Waited for a lull and went out, sailing inside the lagoon with the jib only, doing 6.5 knots in 20 + something knots of wind.  On the northern side of the island, near the main town of Uturoa, we discovered a marina that was not mentioned in any of our sailing guides. The idea of a night in a marina did appeal but we decided to try marina Apooiti which seemed to be better protected. At that point the wind got stronger and I furled the jib. Good thing that I did, because as we passed  the narrow gate between reefs in the north of the island we were hit by a gust of 35 knots, which blew the mainsail out of the lazy-bag. I had Gili turn the boat into the wind, pulled the sail back into place and tied a rope around the whole thing to keep it in order.

We approached the marina, calling them on VHF with no reply. As I was maneuvering towards the visitor’s dock, a gentleman appeared and pointed to the right place to tie to. We were now in a protected place, with water and electricity. We even succeeded doing laundry at the Tahiti Yacht charter base.

I went by foot to the next bay, where a carrenage (haul-out) company was located. They are dearer than the one in Apataki  but it is close by. Thinking of sailing back to the Tuamotus against the wind is not very appealing when the weather is as it is now.

While I was away, Pascal and Raymond – whom I met in Panama and Tahiti – came to the boat. They were the ones who told me about Apataki and now they found the Raiatea carrenage and went there to take their boat out and fly to France for a while.

As we were sorting our laundry on the boat, a young man and a woman approached. “Where are you from?” they asked. “Israel” we replied and promptly they answered in Hebrew! Tami and Orian, who are also from Israel, turned out to be a very nice couple. They are traveling the Pacific with their surfboards and are now looking to join a yacht going to Hawaii. Who knows? Maybe they will join me to Apataki, if I decide to go there after all.

Orian and Tami

Orian and Tami

3.10.09 – Saturday – We wanted to get out of the marina and find a place that will be pretty and protected. The forecast was strong winds up to and including Monday. The bays adjacent to the marina, the one near the boatyards, where many yachts were at anchor, and the one immediately south of it did not appeal so much. We decided to move 4 miles further down the coast, making it necessary to go out of the fringing reef and enter again through Tiano pass to enter Tetooroa bay. The guide book promised a “best anchorage” near a small islet, Horea, where we could snorkel but this turned to be open to the wind. We did stay there for a while, having lunch, content that we put out two anchors in tandem, because some gusts went over the 30 knots mark and threatened to drag the boat onto the reef. The bay itself was either too deep, over 20 meters, or– where a river emptied into it – too shallow. We opted to go back north, and found a good mooring in the bay south of the boatyards.

4.10.09 – Sunday – I succeeded in passing new reefing lines through the boom. Having no lead lines inside the boom took some improvisation. I first tried to pass a 0.5” plastic water pipe but it was not stiff enough and got stuck somewhere in the middle. I went ashore and cut a slender branch off a pine tree, inserted it into the pipe and hallelujah! It did the trick which was a morale booster for me.

Feeling the need to move on, we motored inside the lagoon to Tahaa, just to the north of Raiatea and sharing the same encircling reef. Tahaa is also a beautiful island, green mountains in the interior and palm clad motus on the reef. We anchored near one of those, not far from a typical resort with bungalows built on stilts in the water. A shallow channel between the motus turned out to be an interesting snorkeling location, with a lot of colorful fish, giving a feeling of moving inside an aquarium. Going back to the boat turned out to be a very wet affair as rain pelted from above and wind made short waves, into which the dinghy slammed, sending salty spray over us. Moved to Tapuamu bay for the night. Tomorrow I will have an answer from the haul-out company – Chantier Naval de L’ile – whether they have a place for “Two Oceans”. If they do – it will make a big change in my plans.

Yesterday I had a message through the site saying that “Inherit the Wind” sank!  You may remember the story about Sylvan and his boat’s odyssey of crossing to the Marquesas on which I wrote in the post “Still there”. Bad news! Let hope he comes out O.K.

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