June 1, 2010 - Makemo, Tuomotus to Fakarava, Tuotmotus -- 124nm
It was a very fiesty overnight passage. There was lightening and squalls all night. One squall was in the mid 30's. We only had our genoa up and we were going downwind so we just kept on going. We arrived at the Fakarava South Pass earlier then low tide but we checked it out and it looked fine so we went ahead through. I think we were a little bit off the channel because our depth sounder went down to 8 feet which was a little anxiety provoking as the water was so clear that I could see the coral heads and didn't know how much shallower it was going to get. However we made it through, the anchorage at the south pass looked too rough, so we kept going 5 miles up found a very nice protected anchorage with a beautfiul sandbar for the kids to play on. There were lots of kid boats already there so it was nice to meet up again.
June 3, 2010 - To South Pass Anchorage, Fakarava -- 6.93nm
When we passed by this anchorage a few days ago, there were 2 boats here. Now there are over 20!! Where did they all come from? The locals on shore say they have never seen so many boats here. We are excited to snorkel the pass today. We have heard so much about it from other cruisers who have been here. I am a little anxious about all the black tipped reef sharks though, but everybody says they don't bother snorkellers or scuba divers so in we go!!
The snorkel was very cool and beautiful. The current took us and dropped us right back at the anchorage. We loved it so much that we did did it twice that day and three times the next day. Actually, what ended up scaring me was the biggest fish I had ever seen in my life -- a Napoleon wrass. I was in the lead and saw this montrosity swimming gently toward us and I turned around to get Chris, unfortunately, I scared the pants off of Cari, and she was in tears in the dingy. All for a fish!!!! Pretty silly on my part.
Emmaunel on sv Merlin organzied a potluck at Mahini's place. Mahini is the owner of this beautiful resort. He showed us all around and what a place! trees, gardens, guest houses, and his house, it is quite a treat for sore eyes. We met lots of cruisers at the potluck, it was a very nice time.
When I saw the following I knew that I had been fearing the sharks for nothing. Manihi was scaling and cutting up some fish that he caught on his little dock and was throwing the scraps into the water. This was attracting quite a few fish and sharks. The sharks were going ballistic and getting into quite a feeding frenzy. Then all of a sudden, Manihi's dog jumped off the dock and right on top of the lot of them and they skittered away quickly, he did this quite a few times -- it was just hilarious.
Actually, what ended up scaring me was the biggest fish I have ever seen in my life -- a Napoleon wrass. I was in the lead and saw this monstrosity swimming gently toward us and I turned around to get Chris, unfortunately, I scared the pants off of Cari, and she was in tears in the dingy. All for a fish!!!! Pretty silly on my part.
If you do a google image search on Napolean Wrass, you can see what I mean.
June 6, 2010 - back to protected anchorage 5 miles north of South pass anchorage - 6.67nm
We celebrated Kai's birthday from Kamaya on the beach today. We were on the beach pretty much all day. We played games, had sandcastle contests, and of course ate cake, the kids had a blast. Then when it got dark we had a bonfire, Tyee brought hotdogs and popcorn, Kamaya brought marshmallows. The weather is a little odd, the wind is coming from the west instead of the east and it is really blowing! We have told the kids that they must wear their shoes on the beach because of the possibility that they step on a cone shell or a stone fish, both of these are poisonous and potentially lethal. There are alot of flies in this anchorage for some reason, not pleasant! I hate flies.
June 8, 2010 - 10 miles more north up atoll -- 13.58 nm
We motored up inside the lagoon for 13 miles (Cari drove about half the time and did a fantastic job!) We found another great anchorage which we had all to ourselves. We went snorkelling on the reef and the water is so clear you feel like you are in an aquarium. It is so surreal. Our anchor chain got stuck on some coral again, but the water was so clear that we were able to see which way to steer the boat in order to clear ourselves off the coral head. I'll sure be glad when we are into anchoring in sand or mud again, but that is just the way that it is here.
June 9, 2010 - to the North anchorage, Rotoava,Fakarava -- 15.94nm
After exploring the village, which has a great bakery by the way, and spending days trying to send the kids completed school work for the end of the year in over the very slow internet connection at the Post Office, we motored over to the North Pass. We met up with our friends on Pickles who we haven't seen in a year, since we were both in Bonaire. The kids couldn't wait to see each other and it was very cute to see them swim out to each other before we even had the anchor set.
We had two great snorkels here, one was at the north pass where we did a very fast drift snorkel over the reef. It was so much fun and so beautiful, we went back and did it 3 times. We just held onto the dingy and let it pull us into the lagoon. The other snorkel was inside the lagoon at a red marker just north of the pass. It was some of the best snorkelling we have ever done. The water was super clear; a ton of fish, and sharks, colourful coral and it was not deep.
June 14, 2010 -- North Anchorage to Papeete, Tahiti-- 241.3 nm
We saw lots of dolphins on our way out of the pass, the first set were really large and the second set were black. I didn't realize that there were so many different types of dolphins. We must read up on them in our dolphin book.
The passage was very windless and calm. We put up our spinnaker for about 14 hours and the rest of the time we had to motor. At 200 in the morning on the second night out we were motoring with our port engine when all of a sudden it starting puttering like it was being starved for something -- no diesel-- we are out of fuel in our port engine so our starboard engine is sure soon to follow suite !!! We hadn’t expected to motor so much over the last few months. We knew we were low but we thought we could make it to Tahiti. We decided to try to save some fuel for the entry to Papeete Harbour, but we couldn’t sail, there was no wind – the anemometer was reading 0!!! So never fear, as long as Captain Chris is at the helm, actually I’ve renamed him Captain MacGyver (for those of you who remember the 1980’s TV show?) He rigged up our dingy to the back of our boat and the dingy pushed our Stray Kitty 22 nautical miles and 5 hours later we spotted the Tahiti Yacht Club. However to get there, we had to weave our way through the markers and reefs to a mooring ball. This is how we did it: Ryan got in the dingy and drove, Andrea relayed the messages to him from Chris, Cari and I were up front watching for coral heads and reefs. Our friends on sv Mulan from Vancouver showed us which mooring ball to take and courageously handed me the lines to tie up to. And whew we are here. Yeah!!
We went over to Totem for appetizers with Moulan. We brought some Cassis and a bottle of champagne to celebrate this achievement of making it all the way to Tahiti. We are very proud of ourselves and I still can’t believe that we are here. It is a milestone in our trip. We went out for dinner to the Roulettes. These are great. They are mobile vans that show up around 1800, and they serve out delicious, low priced food. One was pizza (kids choice) and the other was Chinese, we of course tried one meal from each and they were both delicious.
We spent the day doing laundry, and reprovisioning, what a job that was. We went to the Carrefour and bought 3 huge carts full of groceries. Unfortunately, they don’t offer boxes, bags or transportation! We managed to scrabble up enough boxes on our own and decided to walk back on the road with 3 carts. It didn’t quite work out, we could barely push them on the rocky sidewalk. We were about 25 feet away from the store looking pathetic when a lady offered to take us to the yacht club in her truck. She said she was going there anyway so we all squeezed in with all of our boxes of groceries. Once we arrived another man sitting having a beer and Ruby (the driver) helped us unload them all from her truck then it was two loads in the dingy. Then it was an additional 2 hours unpackaging it all and repackaging it in ziplocks with bay leaves to try to keep the weevils at bay. I was thanking Ruby for doing this for us and she was rummaging through her purse to give me something and it was two pamphlets from the Jehovah Witnesses. She said to read it as that is why she helped us!
The next day we spent all morning getting diesel, gas and water and washing the boat. Then we were ready to head over to the Tahiti-Moorea Rendezvous. We dingyied the 4 miles to the downtown centre. It looked very industrial and dirty. We registered for the Tahiti-Moorea Rendezvous and then went to city hall for a Polynesian dance performance and buffet. The Rendezvous is organized by the Papeete Port Authority along with the Tahiti Tourism board, the Mayors of Papeete and Moorea, the Tahiti Yacht Club and Latitude 38 among others.
The next day we headed for the start of the race however by the time we left the Yacht Club we missed the start we had no wind where we were but where the fleet was it was really blowing. So we had to motor at least 10 miles before we got any wind, then holy moly did we have wind, we entered the fleet around half way and there were many cats that didn’t reef in 25- 30 knots of wind gusting to over 35 knots!! I just couldn’t believe it. It was really gusty from the wind funnelling down Moorea and from some type of effect between the islands. We put a reef in albeit much later than I had wanted. That afternoon we went in and had a cocktail and watched some dancing by some younger girls but it was still very good. Then we had a bbq dinner on shore.