Sunday, 7 July 2013

you say tahiti, i say tahiti

Arriving at the pass, one early morning
When various people heard or read that we arrived in Tahiti, it seemed to sink in for them. Nyon really was in the South Pacific. I mean, who hasn’t heard of Tahiti? Though, the Tahiti in your head is different from my Tahiti. Either way, Tahiti is a bit of a Mecca for us sailors too, mainly for practical reasons. 

Rowing across the channel, keeping a
sharp lookout... Must avoid getting run
Papeete is where we can find supplies. It is where we can find chocolate and fresh produce again! This is where we may find what we need at the chandlery if we are willing to pay an arm and a leg for it. This is where we run into old friends from Canada and previous ports. This is where we finally meet with boats we’ve been trailing behind for years. That’s what Tahiti is to us. Yes, it’s a lovely island and if we had more time we’d anchor away from the big city to experience the rest of Tahiti, but we don’t. Our visa will soon run out and we want to see Moorea, Bora Bora, etc. So, we have been running around looking for obscure pieces for our wifi antenna, green LEDs and Sikaflex 291. (We found one out of three. Not bad odds.) We finally replenished our stores. That means we made a couple trips to the Carrefour, (think: big box store that has EVERYTHING). It’s not cheap (nothing is cheap here), but Rick was beyond excited by the 12 different types of jam and the aforementioned chocolate, I was excited to find pickles and brie again. It’s weird what you end up missing.

Le marché

Making some Tahitian culinary discoveries: Chicken and fries
in a baguette. It's actually tasty!
Just like SV Bella Star, we had to include a shot of the
famous chocolate aisle!

When the excitement began
Our first day here, we anchored just off Marina Taina. To be honest, this is the world of mooring fields, anchoring options are limited at best. We normally prefer anchoring, but we were squeezed in a tight spot, close to reefs and other boats. We knew a storm was brewing for the following Wednesday, so we moved to a mooring ball in Zone A. It turns out they’re pretty cheap, and you get to have real (cold) showers. In spite of having to row much farther, I’m glad we moved. When the storm hit, it was worse than expected. We spent the day aboard, checking our mooring lines for chafing every half hour, while the radio was buzzing with panicked calls. Search and Rescue was busy that day. Boats were dragging everywhere, a boat ended up on the reef, people were stranded on another reef and had to be rescued. More than once, boats called other boats to tell them an untethered vessel was bearing down on them. The boat on the mooring ball ahead of us broke free with no one aboard. We called the MRCC to advise them, we would have tried to secure it but we don’t have an outboard on
The one that got away. Luckily
it was retrieved before smashing into
the reefs
our dinghy and the winds were in the high 30’s (gusting in the 40’s) by this point. We watched with a sinking feeling as the boat was blown toward the nearby reefs. Luckily, it was apprehended before it suffered any real damage. You spend a day like that on high alert, watching the boats around you, listening to the radio hoping no one you know is in danger. As a sailor, when you see another sailor or their boat in trouble, your heart goes out to them whether you know them or not. We share the same reality. What it comes down to is: that could be us. Eventually, the storm abated. We heard stories, among our friends. There were bits of damage and runaway dinghies, one boat dragged a little, but nothing more. And then, being sailors and all, it was back to the regular program.

The waves in the background are the Pacific Ocean slamming
into the coral reef that surrounds Tahiti. It may have been
bouncy in the anchorage, but not that bouncy
Celebrating Canada from afar with a little international help
Canada Day fell on our stay here. We gathered with a multi-national group to celebrate with 2 for 1 beers that tasted pretty damn good. Maybe it tasted that much better because of the company.  It was great fun to gather with the crews of Landfall, Estrellita, Osprey, Cariba, Marionette, etc. Rick and I both loved the energy and social outlet, it seems we were ready for it. I think it was pretty funny that it was one of the American boats that brought a Canadian flag to the celebration, not a Canadian boat. Thanks for your patriotism Osprey! You are now honourary Canadians.

The anchorage on a calm day
We’re still in Papeete. We have one more thing that needs taking care of, our SAT phone email. We did find someone who set me on the right path with our initial problem. Like any search in a foreign port, there is always a bit of a story. This is how we found Xavier: we asked a guy at the chandlery who told us to ask his boss who sent us to this obscure building next to another building after the roundpoint. We had to go to the second floor and wander around a maze of dark hallways. We found the office of a company called Assystem that works in telecommunications and other crazy stuff. We were less than a drop in the bucket to such a company. But Xavier, took us under his wing and talked me through the steps of fixing my problem. I went home and tested things and while that step worked,  now a new message has come up and I don’t know how to solve it. Luckily, Xavier told us to come back with laptop and SAT phone if we still had problems and he’d help us out. This guy wasn’t getting a cent from us. He was just being kind. Isn’t that nice? Unfortunately, the new problem arose on Friday, so we have to wait until Monday.

Sunday morning

Today is Sunday. The busses don’t run. The liquor aisle is closed at Carrefour. Everyone is moving in slow motion. And that feels just right. We’ll do laundry and wander ashore for a while, but we need to recharge our batteries, (not the boat’s), ours. A city like Papeete wears you out. We do look forward to snorkeling and playing in Moorea, but as my friend Barb pointed out, being stuck in Papeete isn’t so bad.


  1. It's good to hear from you again, and you made it to paradise! What will you do when your visas run out?


  2. We will be heading to the Cook Islands next!

  3. This post made me hungry you guys.

  4. It was great to finally meet you guys. Enjoy the trip West!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...