Posted by: catamarantwooceans | August 26, 2019

Sailing Tahiti and Moorea–part 2

17.8.19 – Saturday – I woke up early; the sea was absolutely calm, so before breakfast, I just drank a glass of water and went snorkeling. Here is the list of fish seen: trumpet fish, big stingray, 4 foot black tip shark, Picasso fish and finally, close to our anchor chain, a gurnard – that’s a fish with big wings, supposedly sensors for food location. If tomorrow will have the same conditions I’ll go down with the Gopro.

After the regular morning chores I lowered the dinghy and went to the village in the hope of finding WiFi and to do some shopping. WiFi nil, shopping excellent at the Champion supermarket, and back to the boat. Today’s project was cleaning the port aft cockpit locker and gas tanks compartment, which has not seen a scotchbrite and Cif cream for ages. I took everything in there out to dry and squeezed inside, a thing possible only to those with more than forty years of Yoga practice.

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The plan is to go over all the neglected lockers; there are four more on the list. Once finished all I wanted to do is jump into the water to cool down. Did it and once I opened my eyes I saw that a strong current was carrying me south. Powerful swimming brought me back home refreshed and invigorated.

I finished a book called “The red notebook” by a French author named Antoine Lorraine; it’s a romantic novel and I really enjoyed it. (Gili, can you believe it?). I am also reading a book, in French, by a man called Vito Dumas, an Argentinian, who sailed long distances in the last century thirties and forties. It is always amazing to read about voyages done without any of the modern conveniences we take for granted today. For dinner I treated myself with grilled entrecote, potatoes and green salad, washed down, as they say, with red Bordeaux.

18.8.19 – Sunday – Another beautiful morning, calm, clear water and light wind. A morning swim prior to breakfast started my day. Breakfast and then anchor up and I went out of the pass to go to Maharepa, a village on the north side of Moorea, one and half miles before Cook Bay. With time on my hands I played  with making a tack to clear the northeast corner of the island and then turned left to Irinuhu pass and Maharepa. Close to the beach there is an sandy area of about 5 meters depth. I dropped the anchor,releasing about 50 meters of chain because the forecast spoke about wind picking up later in the evening, with gusts up to 23 knots. I was surprised to see only one other yacht, a small one called Minimus, home port in Oregon. When I swam to check the anchor I continued over and tried to speak to a a man who was cleaning the hull. He made a sign as if he was hard of hearing or deaf so I turned away.

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                                  Maharepa in the evening light

I couldn’t see any dinghy dock so I postponed going ashore for tomorrow, probably in Cook Bay. I need internet!

As night fell the forecast became a reality plus. Wind of 25 with maximum gust of 29.7 knots disturbed my peace. I stayed in the cockpit for a while, watching the wind instrument and the plotter to see whether we were moving but the relative shallow waters and the amount of chain made sure we were keeping our position.

19.8.19 – Monday – With 1.5 miles to Cook Bay there was no need to open sails. Just before the pass the full beauty of Moorea came into view.

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I decided to go well into the head of the bay, thinking there would be less wind there and also to be close to the Pao Pao village services including fuel and INTERNET. I found out the the area I chose for anchoring was deep and that the bay was sucking in and accelerating the wind which reached 30 knots, causing my anchor to drag. I went out of there, made a round of possible other locations but everywhere I looked it was too deep for my taste. Pointed the bows out, turning to the area east of the pass behind the reef and dropped anchor at 2.5 meters on good sand behind two other boats. Out of the bay the wind was a steady 20 knots and the anchor held perfectly.

I lowered the dinghy and with laptop, smartphone and jerry-cans motored back into the bay. Near the Mobil fuel station there is a resort that once was called Bali-Hi and is now Aimeo Lodge; they have a small dinghy dock where a dinghy was tied to. I figured I could try and use their internet. My phone was happy with their signal but not my laptop and I needed to download weather and some important documents – especially the weekend crossword puzzles, not to mention publishing a post to my blog. A young man sitting there told me about a pizzeria called Allo Pizza 10-15 minutes walk away. They had good coffee and fast, excellent internet.

Next was the fuel station where they have pumps on a jetty; you fill your tanks yourself and go across the road to pay in the office. Motoring back to the boat was rather wet, with the dinghy bumping into the short waves. A bit later another catamaran which was anchored inside the bay, followed my example and came to anchor outside. I think it is a big old Lagoon model which looks much better than the boxes they are producing nowadays.

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Two more catamarans came in and in the evening the wind went down to 12 knots; everybody happy.

20.8.19 – Tuesday – It started cloudy with a bit of rain; not a pleasant way to start the day. I had my morning swim and then sat waiting for something that would push me into action. I needed change. When the catamaran ahead of me, who was just over my anchor, moved away, I spontaneously took my anchor up and turned towards Opunohu Bay. The most popular anchorage there is on the east side of the entrance, behind the reef and the place was quite full. I managed to find space on the stern of a small Wharram cat, which had the unusual arrangement of a mast on each hull, two abreast. I’m not sure about the advantages of it, especially on such a small boat.

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As noon came the weather improved. I still did not make up my mind about the plan for the coming days. I will, however, go back to the Taina marina area to speak to a marine electronics guy whom David recommended. The way my depth sensor is connected to the depth gauge, via a fish finder, with what I consider to be an unsuitable plug, is causing the instrument to give its info only when the batteries voltage is high. I want it to be rectified.

21.8.19 – Wednesday – Beautiful morning; no wind and boats are pointing to different directions.

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I wanted to go ashore and on the way stopped by the yacht on my right to ask about shore facilities. The man on her took of his hat and glasses – it was Laurent who worked on my boat in Phaeton Bay…I found a place for internet but they were not yet open and I did not fancy waiting two hours for it. I also found two ladies selling fruit and a small magasin by the public beach.

Back on the boat I aimed the binoculars at the western anchorage where I could see five catamarans. One of them seemed to be familiar. A couple named Ryan and Nicole Levinson came to French Polynesia from Mexico on a monohull. After seeing a fast catamaran pass them on their way they decided they wanted to buy one. Ryan found out about Two Oceans and we were in contact by e mail and phone. They ended up buying the same catamaran that impressed them on the passage, a 48 foot (!) one off boat. Ryan and Nicole run a Vlog called “Two Afloat” and you can watch their unfolding story on Youtube.

I decided to motor over and say hello.

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                            Kiapa Nui – Nicole and Ryan’s cat

As I was anchoring Ryan suggested that I was perhaps too close; I re-anchored further away in what seemed a good distance.  I invited the neighbors to come for a drink later in the evening but after accepting they suddenly remembered some painting job they had to do in the evening when the winds die down. We left it open.  After sunset Ryan called me on the VHF to tell me that our boats were attracted to each other and the distance became too close for comfort. I shortened my chain and maybe they did the same; separation achieved anew.

22.8.19 – Thursday – after a morning swim and SUP sortie, I was sitting in the salon, pondering my next steps. I needed internet and a proper shop and those were available in Cook Bay. On the other hand I still wanted to talk to Ryan and Nicole and was not sure whether we did plan on meeting later. My doubts were solved as Ryan called to say they were going out sailing, destination yet undecided (?). I bade them farewell and went back to Cook Bay, to my favorite 2.5 meters deep anchorage.

On the beach I saw an establishment that with the help of the binoculars and my telephoto long lens was identified as the Moorea Beach Café. Surely they would have internet and ice cream? MBC added the words “Yacht Club” on their signs and put a floating dock for us yachties. They have a nice Grill restaurant and an annex – pizzeria with moderate prices. From the Cafe I went to look for a rubbish bin I could use and found one right near the Maharepa super market, only three minutes walk from the MBC. There are also several other shops, like a phone place where I could recharge my local phone, black pearls shop and a Sotheby’s agency, in case you want to purchase a mansion or some land.

23.8.19 – Friday – Morning swim with a beautiful eagle ray. Yesterday as I came in I saw an Austrian monohull called “Imagine”; now my friends Moshe and Ilana have a yacht with the same name; I thought I’d take a picture and send them. As I got closer, the owner came out and after I explained my reason he invited me aboard. Wolfgang and Veronica surprised me with their sailing history; this is their fourth long voyage! If I understood correctly the first three were all circumnavigations!

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They said that this voyage would be their last; they also want to sell the boat here. I gave them David Allouch’s phone number.

24.8.19 – Saturday – A beautiful day with very light wind. This morning swim I saw a black-tip shark; the day’s sporting events included a 45 minutes fast walk and then to the boat for another locker cleaning. Tomorrow I’ll sail back to Tahiti.

25.8.19 – Sunday – If you want to make sure you will see something interesting during your morning swim – do NOT take your Gopro with you. This morning I had four meetings with black-tip sharks, I think they were three individual specimen, and although I am conditioned not to fear them, still the surprising appearance of a relatively big one behind a bommie did give me a jolt.

I went out of the pass a few minutes after a big motor yacht, following her I saw she stopped for a while and then continued. There where also two small motor boats which I took to be fishing boats. As I got closer to them a big splash made the picture clear; they were whale watchers! I immediately turned to their direction and was able to enjoy the show and even take a few pictures.

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                                              Humpback whales

In 2009 we also saw four of those magnificent creatures near Moorea.

After a while I left the scene and sailed towards the pass that would take me to the Taina marina area. As always the anchorages near the marina where completely full so I motored to Maeva bay, which is not far from the marina, is relatively shallow and had space for yet another catamaran. Tomorrow I plan to meet an electronics technician about my depth gauge and on Tuesday start going round the east side of Tahiti on the way to Phaeton Bay and the end of the French Polynesia chapter.

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