Monday, 10 August 2015

Tahitian interlude

Tahiti is where we’ve caught up with our world again. It’s not so far from New Zealand. We’re almost home, we sometimes say. That’s stretching the truth - we still have about 2500 miles to sail -  but more boats around here are from NZ and Australia than anywhere else we’ve been. Plus, there are daily Air New Zealand flights in and out of Tahiti.

NZ-flagged yacht Rhombus in Papeete port

Window in the cathedral of Papeete

 They’re bringing our world to us.

Touchdown Tahiti - the runway is just beyond the main pass

The Aranui coming into Papeete port on July 31
First up, my mum, who actually arrived by sea.
She had organised off her own bat to take a two-week turn around the Marquesas and the Tuamotus on the supply ship Aranui in July.  Would we be in the region at the time, she wondered? 

We made sure we were. We met her off the Aranui on the last day of July in Papeete and brought her back to Enki by dinghy. She had only a day in Papeete before she flew out to a chamber music festival in Townsville. It’s hard to keep up with my mum.

Lots to catch up on after 18 months

My mum charmed our cruising friends

 It was her first sighting of our floating home. She follows our travels, of course, but it’s hard to understand the constraints and the pleasures of our physical space without standing/sitting/moving around in it.  She did a lot of that,  and got the gist of our normality at dockside. I think it rather took her fancy.  Next time in New Zealand, we said.

Lunch was very French that day

A woman can't leave Tahiti without pearls

Next up, our old friends Bridget and Mike. They had a scant week to spend with us, but that was enough time to sink ourselves into the beats of Moorea which are considerably slower than those of Papeete.

The skipper relaxes on our way to Moorea

New man at the wheel

Opunohu Bay, Moorea (and below)

Moorea landscapes (and below)

At anchor in Opunohu Bay

The weather changed markedly  about the time that Bridget and Mike arrived in Tahiti.  In the Tuamotus, I’d noticed a drop in the temperature of the water.  I needed my  hardly-used wetsuit to go snorkeling for any length of time.  It’s winter in the tropics, we reminded ourselves.  But there’s more than that happening.

We nipped around the corner to Cook's Bay

From the pineapple plantation, sold at the gas station

We’ve been hearing for a couple of months that this is shaping up as an El Nino year, and now that seems definite. Troughs are tracking across the Pacific beneath French Polynesia, and affecting wind direction and air temperature.  We’re seeing a lot more cloud and rain. We’re sleeping under cotton blankets (rather than just a sheet).  I’ve come down with a cold.  How clumsy, catching a cold in paradise.

Marce and Jack joined us on a wintry evening at the Bali Hai hotel in Cook's Bay

 The weather shift that we who have been in the tropics for too long were noticing (and whining about) didn’t matter too much to Bridget and Mike.  They were taking a few days off work and out of Auckland’s damp cold.  Everything was enchanting….the stark beauty of our anchorage in Opunohu Bay, the lushness of Moorea’s deep northern valleys, the abundance of fruit, the  warmth of the water, the easy manner of the Tahitians and the camaraderie of our boating friends.  They had a fine time, we hope – and we enjoyed having them on board immensely.

The round-the-island road, Moorea

Roadside fruit stall

Bridget ready to take on the lagoon - with its rays and sharks

Mike faces off a big ray

Bridget thinks twice about the company she's keeping

Couple gone troppo

The road up to the Belvedere lookout on Moorea 

One eye on the sky
Archeological site on the side 

 Big marae dating from the 17th century
View of Cook's Bay from the Belvedere lookout

Shrimp farming at the head of Opunohu Bay (and below)

We’re back in Papeete, awaiting the arrival of sister Barb and the Commodore. The plan is to sail with them as far as Bora Bora – and to catch some fish on the way.

Back in port - with Moorea just over there

Our neighbour - M5 (Ron Holland design, ex Mirabella 5)

M5 crew at work

The Chinese are also in port, keeping an eye on things


  1. Have just caught up with your lovely blog. Brings back lovely memories. We should be back in Australia in November touch wood. When do you think you'll be there?