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Friday, July 30, 2010

Dawdling in Raiatea

July 30, 2010

Note: We posted some more pictures to our Societies album on Picasa when we had internet outside the marina at Uturoa. That link is:


I forgot to write that last Sunday afternoon we enjoyed a show of kite boarders, one of whom launched from the marina breakwater steps right in front of Nakia. There were up to four of them out sailing at a time and "our" guy was quite good. He would go airborne and hang suspended before dropping down again, and also did 360's in the air. Obviously it was very windy and I was cold after my shower, but I braved it out in the cockpit until the sun went down and he finally quit.

Monday afternoon we were about to depart in the dinghy for one last look in town for eggs (which all three big stores were completely out of that morning!) when we noticed a catamaran idling slowly off the approach to our mooring. It didn't look like a charter cat (the owner of the mooring) but we turned the VHF back on to give them a call. It turned out they had a reservation for the use of the mooring for one night. We had asked marina residents if it was okay to pick it up for a night or two, but we had never officially checked in with anyone in the marina office. So we quickly got the engine running and went off to look for another place to spend the night.

Thank goodness it was 4 PM and we had plenty of time to motor around the corner to a spot in between Marina Apooiti and the mooring field in front of the Raiatea carenage. I won't bother to give coordinates for this 80' deep spot as there were plenty to choose from. We watched another late arrival anchor all by themselves off of the airport, but it was also deep water and we couldn't see any advantage to being in that (possibly restricted) location.

When we checked our email that night we had a message from our friends Ed and Nila on S/V Quixotic saying that they were anchored at Ile Naonao all the way at the southern tip of Raiatea. This was the only anchorage on my list that we had missed, and we hadn't seen these guys since the Marquesas last year, so how could we not take the time to make a surprise visit to them. We had everything from gusty to light sailing breezes as we exited Passe Rautoanui on the NW side and reentered the lagoon at Passe Punaeroa on the SW end of Raiatea. From there we motored upwind through the moderately challenging channel where the coral extended out from both sides in some places. The wind was up to 20-25 by now, but there was an oasis of calm in the lee of Naonao on the SW tip (the guidebooks more conservatively recommend the northern side in deeper water). The motu is private so we couldn't go ashore but there was some nice snorkeling and a very protected anchorage if you don't mind having only a couple of feet under your keel. Having gotten there first, Quixotic had the best protection from the motu, but the holding in sand was good where we were even if it was a bit breezy. I think this might be the first place we've anchored which was rooster free!

{GMST}16|55.174|S|151|25.910|W|Ile Naonao|Raiatea{GEND}

With high winds in the forecast for the next few days we thought it would be prudent to find a less exposed anchorage to wait out the fronts. We called Gloria Maris to see if they were still where we'd left them and they gave thumbs up to an anchorage inside Passe Tetuatiare back up the west side of the island. So we had a great downwind sail and even sailed out of Passe Punaeroa (look Ma, no hands!). Kim warned us that someone in a skiff might come out to chase us off from anchoring so we weren't surprised when we were met by first a woman in a skiff from Ile Tiano, followed shortly after by a man in a bright purple boat from Baie Ereea. They were very worried that we might drop our anchor over cables carrying electricity and water out to the privately owned motu. They wanted us to anchor in deep water NE of the the northern motu (Ile Horea), but we explained that the other two boats were our friends and we wanted to go talk to them. When we got to very shallow water south of Gloria Maris we asked Gaston (the man; both the locals were wearing Motu Tiano "staff" shirts) if this spot would be okay with him, and he was fine with it. We assume they never dreamed we'd come so far into the shallows of the small boat channel, far from where the cables are laid. We think they were also worried about how many more boats might be coming in after us!

In the process of dropping our anchor we went aground on a raised area of the sandy bottom. But some reverse thrust broke us loose and John reset the anchor in a better position. After lunch I baked a wacky (no eggs) chocolate cake and we tried to deliver it to Gaston as a peace offering. It was easy to find his house (the one with the purple boat in front), but no one was home except for a friendly, blue-eyed kitten. So we went back and invited Gloria Maris and Orca over for happy hour (and cake) on Nakia later. The wind came up at sunset and John and Kara got soaked rowing over in their little dinghy, Coconut, but we had a good evening and everyone seemed to enjoy Gaston's cake.

We are anchored in even shallower water here than we were at Naonao and the depth sounder alarm went off while we were watching a movie after dinner. We sort of ignored it until finally we both looked up at the unmistakable feel of the keel bumping the bottom. John let me finish the movie while he went out into the windy night to set a kedge anchor off the bow to keep us off the shallow spot. It wasn't a very peaceful night as we were hit by big gusts of wind in between the lulls, but we didn't hit bottom again.

{GMST}16|50.014|S|151|29.105|W|Baie Ereea|Raiatea{GEND}

This morning John reset the second bow anchor in a better spot and we are having a quiet rainy day with a few big gusts now and then. The sheer mountainside backing the bay is spectacular with over two dozen waterfall scars. Only one of them is actively running even though our friends have yet to see the top of the mountain which has been hidden by cloud cover since they got here. If we get a long enough break between showers we need to make a dinghy run into the local store to buy some eggs and baguettes. Most cruisers in the Societies are also taking shelter from the bad weather, and we've decided to stay here for the time being.

Monday, July 26, 2010


So before we got halfway to Raiatea from Huahine last Tuesday John hooked a mahi mahi (dorado) on one of the hand lines. Most people would assume this was a "good thing" but it ended up causing all kinds of trials and tribulations. We were sailing wing and wing which is downwind with the jib poled out to one side and the main on a preventer (tied down) on the opposite side. It's very hard to stop or even slow the boat in this configuration. John pulled the fish in to the boat, gaffed it, and tried to put it head first into a 5-gallon bucket to subdue it. The fish was unusually calm until the bucket part, when it became very upset and thrashed out of the bucket into the cockpit well where we had all kinds of junk stowed. There was immediately blood everywhere: splattered on the teak combings, the helm seat, the wheel, the cockpit sole, the cockpit well and all its contents - sun shower, swimming trunks, snorkeling T-shirt, snorkel gear, dinghy lock, water siphon hose, oh, and don't forget the main sheet (a very long rope).

Meanwhile another mahi mahi hooked up on the fly John had tied to a fishing pole on the stern pushpit. He rarely bothers to use the fishing pole anymore, let alone with a fly on it, but he thought maybe he could get a small bonito type fish with it. After struggling with the first fish in the cockpit John finally managed to get it head down into the bucket in the cockpit well. I gripped the base of its tail with both hands to keep it from thrashing out of the bucket while John started reeling in the second fish. Eventually the colors faded from the fish I held, and after a few more gentle pumps from its muscles it expired and I could let go. John had me pull in the second hand line before anything had a chance to hook up there, while he kept reeling in the second fish on the pole. The pole he was using is not sufficient for the size fish that was hooked because it's only 20 lb test line. So it was quite a fight. In the end, after 20 minutes, John was able to get the fish near the boat three times but never close enough to gaff it. The third time the line broke and the fish swam away.

Then the excitement was over and we had a chance to really survey the damage. John went to work on the side deck cleaning the 15 lb fish and, after putting all the blood soaked clothing in the galley sinks to rinse in fresh water, I went to work with a bucket of salt water cleaning everything else. We weren't happy cruisers from all this messy activity, and it was very good to finally put the anchor down in Baie Hotopuu.

After lunch our spirits were raised when some kids on a paddle boat came out to give us some little fingerling fish they had caught in a net. They shared some of their fried fish patties, bananas, and a perfumey local apple with us and delighted in feeding Ziggy pieces of their fish cakes. The two pre-schoolers eventually couldn't resist climbing aboard while their older brothers and sister kept an eye on them from the paddle boat. Finally it was time for them to leave and I dug out a ball to give to the youngest boy who was in tears when he realized the fun was over.

Except for dogs barking overnight and the ever present roosters crowing at dawn, we spent a quiet night all by ourselves in the anchorage. While I did my exercises up on deck the next morning I watched a woman in a small skiff setting traps with her young son; a man working a small fishing net from chest high in the water at the head of the bay; a scooter stop at one of the houses to give someone else a ride to work; a kid riding a bicycle in circles behind his house; and I could hear the clinking of dishes and cutlery as breakfast was prepared. All this activity and it wasn't even 7 AM!

{GMST}16|50.715|S|151|22.052|W|Baie Hotopuu|Raiatea{GEND}

From Hotopuu we sailed to Baie Opoa to visit Marae Taputapuatea, one of the most important of the traditional temples in French Polynesia. We had a lovely ending to the day when the canoe replica we'd seen in Huahine sailed through the pass blowing their conch shell to announce their arrival. I convinced John to blow his horn in reply, and a small group of people gathered on shore to welcome them.

{GMST}16|50.105|S|151|22.080|W|Baie Opoa|Raiatea{GEND}

We spent another day at Opoa to meet up with Don and Kim of S/V Gloria Maris for another visit to the marae before enjoying a celebratory birthday lunch for Kim at the Hotel Atiapiti. After a round of rum punches, we ordered lobster for Kim, poisson crue for Don, crab salad with lots of leafy green lettuce for me, and chicken in soy/cola sauce for John. We shamelessly topped it all off with two pieces of coconut cake topped with coconut ice cream and garnished with star fruit and tea roses for dessert. It was a lovely meal but we have to chuckle when we realize that we are so well trained to French Polynesia prices by now that we think nothing of taking the equivalent of $90 to shore with us - and hoping it will be enough to pay for lunch.

We hustled back to the boats for a short sail to Faaroa where we enjoyed a home brewed beer happy hour with Don and Kim. They can brew 23 liters for very little money and John is considering giving up one of our water jerry jugs to do the same! Don whipped up a batch of plum duff right out of Patrick O'Brien for a surprise birthday dessert later. But I think the biggest surprise was in how well it came out when this was the first time he'd ever made it. Delish!

Friday morning we took the dinghies to explore the Apoomau river. On our way past a wooden dock we got a pitch from a man in a kayak for a plantation tour. We continued up river until we had to turn around at a house in front of a shallow little rapids. We met back up with James at the dock to take what we suspect was a completely unofficial tour of someone's farm. But he knew the names of most of the plants and flowers in French, Tahitian, and English and treated us to contraband bananas, coconut, sticky purple fruit, and fern "tattoos" made by placing a fern against your skin and smacking it to leave the pattern behind in white pollen. We got a kick out of his style of teaching (he usually asked us for the name of plants before telling us what they were) and his unusual patter about many of the flowers and fruits - "Is good for you?" "Is no good for me." - which we've now incorporated into our daily routine.

On a sad note we feel it's important to report that a dinghy and outboard left trailing behind an anchored boat overnight was most likely stolen in this bay after we left. Always raise or lock those dinghies and motors!

{GMST}16|49.052|S|151|24.870|W|Baie Faaroa|Raiatea{GEND}

On Friday Nakia and Gloria Maris were happy to find a calm, protected bay for a change at Vairahi. It's been very windy and we're on the windward side of the island so this was a welcome respite. Saturday morning we invited John and Kara of Orca to join us for a hike to the three waterfalls. Per the 2006 edition of Lonely Planet we walked up the road just north of the 6km mark (at a telephone booth and big sign for L'Excursion Bleue) to start the trail at a small parking lot where two cars which had passed us were parked. Unfortunately after crossing one small stream we were thwarted by a brand new chain strung across the opposite side of a bigger stream with no less than three hand drawn signs on it saying things like Piste Privee (private path), Propriete Privee (private property), and Something Interdit (forbidden). Now normally we might ignore something old and faded, but this was so obviously "in your face" that we elected to respect the signs. Since we knew people were already on the trail, my feeling is that it's been put off limits to do-it-yourselfers like us in favor of squeezing more tourist dollars out of shoreside sightseeing opportunities. Even though they weren't marked the cars passing us held one or two locals with one or more tourist types as passengers. We'd like to know if Lonely Planet has a more current version of this hike in print yet.

{GMST}16|46.554|S|151|25.174|W|Baie Vairahi|Raiatea{GEND}

Tired of what I've begun calling "dark water" where we can't see the bottom, we hopped across the lagoon to motu Taoru where Dilan and Gloria Maris were already anchored and Orca was right behind us. Ideally it's a one or two boat anchorage so we stern tied Nakia and Orca to trees on shore. As I swam along the shore I was dissuaded from sitting on one of the tiny strips of sand by two big black barking dogs who came out to greet me. The motu is the private reserve of Pension Manava, but even in so remote and uninhabited a place we woke to roosters crowing the next morning. We only found one live coral head complete with three big anemones, anemonefish and lionfish close to shore and it was too rough to snorkel either side of the pass (the motu actually sits in the middle of the pass). Plus the mosquitoes ensured we wouldn't spend another night there.

{GMST}16|44.728|S|151|25.506|W|Ile Taoru|Raiatea{GEND}

We're currently on a mooring outside the entrance to Marina Uturoa enjoying Hotspot's Wi-Fi to the boat, water from the docks to top our tanks, and grocery stores nearby for provisioning. We plan to spend a second night on the mooring before crossing to Tahaa tomorrow (Tuesday).

{GMST}16|43.404|S|151|26.834|W|Marina Uturoa|Raiatea{GEND}

Monday, July 19, 2010


We left Moorea before sunset last Tuesday and had to motor until 8 PM when the wind finally filled in for a fast sail to Huahine. The island was in sight before dawn and we entered Passe Avapehi without any problems. There were 10 boats anchored off of Fare, the largest city on Huahine, so we decided to drop the hook in shallow water halfway to the village. It turned out that this was where all the surfer cruising boats were anchored for easy access out of either pass (Avapehi or Avamoa) depending on what the surf was doing each day.

We scrambled to launch the dinghy when we heard drums on shore after the anchor was set. We arrived in town just in time to catch a parade of local dancers as part of the Bastille Day festivities. Each group performed a short piece in the town square before standing aside for the next group in line on the road. Three songs were played for the raising of the French, French Polynesian, and Tahitian (or Society Islands) flags and of course we only recognized the Marseilles (if that's how you spell the name of the French national anthem...). When the speeches started we hit the grocery store which was packed with people. We were surprised to find it open on a holiday, and it closed very shortly after our visit.

Both of the snorkels we did on the reef next to the boat were disappointing, although perhaps better than Moorea. We saw a few crown of thorns and lots of dead coral, but some of it was okay. So once again we focused on hiking. In Fare we walked 7 km to the village of Maeva where there are several marae (historic) sites. There's a big reconstructed one right off the side of the road which received all of the tourist attention. But we followed a hiking trail through the woods to see several more, which we had all to ourselves except for a few locals doing maintenance work at one. It was a beautiful walk and it felt great to get off the road for awhile. But we were dead tired by the time we finished the trail so we hitched a ride back to Fare with a Marquesan woman and her 10 month old baby. She's married to a New Zealander and they've done quite a bit of travel themselves.

On Friday we moved south to Baie Teapaa but it was windy so I didn't feel like getting off the boat. John went in for a walk and reported nothing much going on in the very small village there, although we heard drums for a little while just before sunset. The next morning we moved to Baie Avea at the southernmost end of Huahine. This is as far as you can take a big boat on the western side of the island because the lagoon is choked with coral at the southern point. It continued windy with a few rain showers over the weekend, but we were able to get off the boat for a walk on Sunday. We visited a small marae around the point and walked through the village of Parea before returning to a trail head across the street from the entrance to the marae. The trail climbed up a pine covered ridge for great views of Baie Parea and Baie Avea, but it looped back to Parea so we turned around at the top of the ridge and went back down the way we had come.

This morning we snorkeled inside Passe Araara where the current was too strong but I got to see two anemones each with a pair of colorful anemonefish (not actual clown fish like Nemo though!). Then we tried the east side of Motu Araara where I was amazed by the number of sea urchins. John went as far as he could out to the reef and said it was live coral all the way there instead of having a big dead ditch inside the reef like we saw at Fare.

After lunch we motored the eight miles back to Fare and anchored off the village this time. John is at the bar next to the dinghy dock enjoying the 5:30-6:30 PM happy hour with S/V Dignity while I catch up on internet chores. Big Hinano draft beers are only 250 CFP and maitais are half price at 450 CFP!

After popping in for fresh baguettes in the morning, Tuesday we'll sail across the channel to visit Raiatea, the second largest island in the Societies.


{GMST}16|43.222|S|151|02.378|W|Fare surfers anchorage|Huanine{GEND}



{GMST}16|42.756|S|151|02.346|W|Fare Village|Huanine{GEND}

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Before we left Tahiti for Moorea we paid a last visit to the roulottes and to the final night of rehearsals for Heiva in the outdoor stadium at the end of the waterfront promenade. I highly recommend trying to catch the free rehearsals two or three nights before the official start of Heiva. Some of the younger dancers didn't appear to have their act together yet, but an older troupe was very good. We arrived before sunset which was too early. We should have eaten first and then walked down to the stadium. As it was we watched a couple of numbers and when there was a break in the action we walked to the roulottes for a crepe and a hamburger. We returned to the stadium after 8 PM and stayed until 11 PM for the grande finale (in full costume).

We paid our bill at the quay and officially checked out of French Polynesia. Papeete is the center of all things official in FP, and we need do nothing more than check in and out with local gendarmes at each subsequent island (we're even stamped out in our passports). We then made the five mile trip to Marina Taina past the Papeete airport where we filled up with gasoline and duty free diesel. We exited a nearby pass for the 20 mile sail to Moorea. It was a terribly uncomfortable motor sail with confused seas in the channel between the islands. But as we rounded a point on Moorea John looked out over the distance just in time to see a lot of wind coming our way. He reefed the sails before we got hit with 25-30 knots of wind, and it was a quick sail to the well marked and easy pass at Opunohu Bay (past Cook's Bay). We anchored in 12' of water next to the coral extending out from the reef inside the pass. In most of these bays you can also anchor at the head of the bay where the water is much deeper and you are more shaded by the high mountains. If we were to do it again we would anchor closer to the beach side because all the tour/dive boats speed between Nakia and the reef on their way back and forth between Cook's Bay and our pass and beyond.

We made a brief visit to Stingray City where the tour boats don't mind if cruisers join in the melee of feeding rays and black-tip reef sharks (there were easily over two dozen of the latter darting in between people standing in the shallow water). We had done something similar in the Bahamas with a smaller group and fewer sharks and this was a bit too chaotic for me. We took the dinghy farther down the bay to try to find some snorkeling but the wind suddenly kicked up and we needed to go upwind back to Nakia. We managed to get in the wake of a small speedboat who "broke trail" for us. Then we passed a smaller dinghy with four people going very slowly. They were having trouble with their motor and motioned us over. We offered to take their two Belgian guests aboard our dinghy, which improved their situation, and we led the way back to their boat. Of course not much later, the wind calmed down and it was a beautiful afternoon.

In fact every day has been absolutely gorgeous and it wasn't until yesterday afternoon that we had any clouds. After our trip to Stingray City we went for a snorkel on the shallow reef next to Nakia, but most of the coral was dead and covered with some kind of strange weed. I counted five crown of thorns sea stars so that is part of the reason for the poor condition of the coral.

Since the snorkeling isn't very interesting we've concentrated on land exploration. On Saturday we made a five hour round trip hike to Belvedere (lookout) and Three Pines for stunning views of the two bays and the pineapple fields in Paopao valley. Sunday we took a walk after the solar eclipse to Jus de Fruit in Cook's Bay, but alas it was closed. And yesterday we caught an early morning bus to the ferry terminal in Vaiare. I was under the mistaken belief that it would be the biggest city on the island, but there wasn't even a bank. Instead the main city appears to be Maharepa where the post office and a few banks are located. Without much to see in Vaiare we walked to the Super Champion grocery store and then back to the terminal to wait for the next bus. The bus schedule is tied to ferry arrival/departure times so we waited for over an hour just people watching. We caught the bus going to the south and west sides of the island even though we were fully aware that it only went as far as Hauru at the northwestern tip. Hauru was a little tourist town where we bought a couple of fresh baguettes and started walking towards Papetoai with our thumbs stuck out for every passing car. Finally a pickup truck slowed for us and we hopped in the bed. But the driver motioned for us to get in the cab with him because it's illegal for people to ride in the back. Our driver turned out to be a city councilman who spoke excellent English. We told him how much we were enjoying Moorea and he told us that there's been a big campaign to get the garbage off the road sides and beaches. He said the next big job will be to build some new schools.

It's nice to be out of the big city, but this is also a busy place probably because it may be a holiday week for many people with Bastille Day coming up tomorrow (Wednesday). Saturday night a place on shore right next to the anchorage blared awful music literally all night long. The volume went down a bit some time in the wee hours of the morning when we think someone might have complained. We suspect it could have been a solar eclipse party since it was still going strong later in the morning. The eclipse was fun. We had our commemorative glasses and a clear morning for viewing it. As the shadows lengthened the air became significantly cooler. While we weren't in a zone of totality, it got pretty close but not close enough for an actual solar corona.

Tonight we leave for Huahine which is reputed to be a quieter, more laid back place where we hope to find better snorkeling.


{GMST}17|29.346|S|149|51.082|W|Opunohu Bay|Moorea{GEND}

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Papeete, Tahiti

It's been another busy week! We ended up spending a few more days at Apataki waiting for a front to blow through. This gave us a chance to do some more reef walking and snorkeling, and chores like defrosting the freezer and baking bread. But it was quite windy and rainy so we also had a bit of down time.

The most interesting event was seeing Tutatis hauled out at the carenage (boat yard). The operation is similar to the one at Marina San Carlos but with even less water and no dock at the ramp. Tutatis draws only 6' but Tony (Alfred's son) was in the water during the entire operation, first to dig a ditch in the sand using pressure water, and then to make sure the boat was positioned on the trailer correctly. After hours of work the trailer raised the boat out of the water, but it was just slightly crooked. Everyone took a break to wait for the tide to come up a little, lower the boat back in the water, and reposition it on the trailer. They finally dragged it all into the yard before sunset with a combo back ho/front loader. There are absolutely no supplies available other than what can be delivered by plane so you'd have to have everything you needed for repairs or maintenance before you hauled out.

The next day we left for a two night sail to Papeete in the Society Islands of French Polynesia. It was a rolly downwind sail with a wicked half hour squall the first night. The wind gusted to 45 knots and it poured rain. But we left Apataki with two reefs in the main and only a little bit of the jib out because we knew we were likely to go through some heavy rain clouds. John hand steered through two more squalls that night but nothing as bad as the first one. Rather than get bulky foul weather gear soaked John prefers to wear swim trunks and his wet suit jacket to stay warm out in the rain. Fortunately there were only a couple of light showers during my watches, and nothing requiring hand steering.

We arrived after sunrise on Friday as planned and called Port Control for permission to enter the busy harbor. We stood off for a few minutes to let one of the Moorea ferries go ahead of us. We then turned left into the harbor only to be met by a wall of canoes in the distance. As part of the Heiva festivities in July canoe races were being held last weekend and Friday was a practice day. At first we tried to stay to the left side of the harbor, but after the canoes started it was apparent that was the favored side, and we dodged right to stay out of their way. After they had passed we needed to go left again to get around and behind the buoyed start line, and into the ferry terminal and yacht quay area to our right.

The yacht quay now has three docks floating perpendicular to the wall complete with mooring lines, electricity, water, and locked gates. I imagine some of the flavor of the old days of tying directly to the wall has been lost, but this cuts out the hassles of crossing anchors with other boats and jockeying for position on the wall. I can't imagine what being on the wall must have been like when the ferry wakes went through rocking all the boats. We are the odd boat in that we're tied a good 12' from the dock to keep Ziggy from jumping off. We also chose a spot at the very end of the dock to keep us far from the gate which leads right out to a boardwalk along the main waterfront street where Ziggy would be toast in no time flat. Just like we did in Hawaii we get from the boat to the dock in our dinghy which is on a pulley system for going back and forth.

Rather than waste our first day here sleeping we charged out into the city to find Cost and Company which turned out to be a mini version of Costco at almost twice the price. But they had Kirkland coffee and just about everything else you could want if you hadn't seen it in years. Since we were still well stocked from Hawaii we drooled but didn't buy much. We didn't quite make it to the Champion grocery store at the other end of town before a huge downpour so we took shelter across the street from a Protestant church and watched the Tahitians in their finery (the ladies hats are something to behold) going to Friday evening services. The store had very French things like brie and truffles, and we tried to buy only what we needed.

Back to the boat to drop our purchases, shower, and head out to the roulottes in the town plaza for dinner. There must be close to a dozen vans to choose from, most of which feature Chinese food which is usually cooked to order on woks and grills right outside the roulotte. We ate at another chow mein roulotte last night, but next time I'd like to try one of the crepes.

On Saturday we got a late start out to the industrial area of town to investigate the local version of West Marine, and a real Ace hardware. Unfortunately because things open at 7 AM, they close by Noon on Saturday (and anywhere from 4-6 during the week!), but that made walking around a little easier. The sidewalks here are almost as uneven as in Latin America and cars use most of what would be sidewalks for parking. On the way back to the boat we stopped at Les 3 Brasseurs (a waterfront brew pub) for some refreshment, and after lunch I did some laundry in the rain and we filled our tanks.

Our Fourth of July was a non event. There was a party on the dock in front of us, but they all looked under 40 and the babes in bikinis and the beer bong reminded us of the annual bash on the Delta back home! We started our day early by visiting the big Sunday city market for veggies, finished our shopping at the Champion, and did some more laundry. No fireworks, and early to bed for us.

The last couple of days were spent doing a lot of walking trying to get our paperwork sorted out and ordering duty free liquor. Since we didn't understand that we had to do the former before we could do the latter, we made a lot of wasted trips which fortunately helped work off the pan du chocolate and other wonderful pastries we bought at the market. We hope to take delivery of a case of very questionable (but cheap!) Martinique rum this afternoon. We've decided to stay one more night in hopes of watching an evening of practice dancing and music before the Heiva festivities officially get under way. In the morning we'll get fuel and be on our way to Moorea.


{GMST}17|32.420|S|149|34.228|W|The yacht quay Papeete|Papeete{GEND}

Monday, July 05, 2010

Pictures of the Tuamotus

We finally have some internet, so we've posted our pics of the Tuamotus: