One of the great things about Moorea is that it is not too far from Tahiti.
A good distance for a shakedown cruise. All systems were go. Well, as “go”
as they were going to get from Tahiti. Our list of things to fix in New
Zealand is a yard long, but we are functional & eager to leave Marina Taina
behind us. I’m not saying anything to slight the marina, we were just done
being tied up there.
From past reports, you may recall that I am prone to seasickness. In the
past 2 years, I learned that this ailment does not go away by wishful
thinking or denial. My goal is prevention using the least amount of
medication along with smart behavior. On 3 hour the motor crossing from
Tahiti to Moorea, I managed well with Bonine & the A.W.Z. (annoying wrist
zapper). Instead of stimulating the wrist trigger point with just a magnet,
it delivers a mild electrical pulse. I suspect the mechanism is that it
gives your brain something else to process, which interferes with the mind
registering seasick symptoms. At any rate, we happily arrived at Opanohu
Bay, Moorea with plenty of time for a snorkel.
DIVING: We dove 8 times in 5 days. The highlight was a 3 foot long green sea
turtle that was very friendly. We saw it on three separate dives. We assume
it is used to being fed by divers. We had nothing to offer but
companionship. It let us touch its flipper & shell. Then it bored of staring
at us with no free lunch, so eventually started chomping the coral. It has a
powerful parrot-like beak. We took care to keep our fingers away from its
mouth! When it surfaced to breathe, it would dive back down right to us.
We anchored the dinghy outside the reef near where the dive operators take
tourists. Sometimes we saw a few other divers underwater. One day our timing
was just right to enjoy close up views of impressive lemon sharks, and less
bold black tip sharks circling the canister of chum supplied by the dive
company. Even after they pulled up the chum container, the sharks stayed
around us a long time, enjoying the lingering scent of fish bits.
Scott has adjusted our compressor to fill the tanks with max air so on a
typical dive we can stay down over an hour with plenty of reserves – nice.
Our first morning dive we “overdressed” for the water temperature; we wore
too thick wetsuits. The water is 84-85 degrees. The air 90 plus. We did not
get any benefit of hypothermia so stayed pretty hot all day. With thinner
wetsuits, submerged for 2 hours or more, we were able to stay much more
comfortable. We keep waiting for the weather to start cooling down a bit,
but not yet.
We had heard of an area near the Intercontinental Hotel where stingrays are
periodically fed, so they tend to hang out. Even though it was shallow
enough to stand & we could see them well with masks floating on the surface,
Scott put on his scuba gear in order to stay down & get the best camera
angles. Video to follow. They are graceful to watch & feel silky to the
touch. These are the same type of generally harmless stingrays that were the
unfortunate cause of wild life wildman Steve Irwin’s loss on the Great
Barrier Reef a few years ago.
A second “touristy” dive was an area where stone carved tikis were sunk..
Former decorations of Club Med, closed long ago.
SISTER SHIP: In November, we had seen “Tatajuba” Switch 51, hull #12 out of
the water at the shipyard in Raiatea. We were thrilled to see her pull up to
anchor near us one morning. After 5 years of cruising, the French owners
with two teenaged children want to return to land life in France. They have
an American buyer from the San Francisco bay area who plans to get the boat
back to the US west coast. Scott has been in email touch with this
prospective Switch owner.
DRIVING THE ISLAND: We got a good rate on renting a car for “all day” but
even with many stops we had pretty much seen the sights in 3 hours. The
highest paved road did not go very high up the mountains. I was looking
forward to a hike in cooler air, but settled for a 15 minutes stroll under a
tropical canopy. When it is this hot, the best thing is to be in the water
as much as possible. I was pleased to purchase some bananas & an avocado at
a roadside stand.
We stopped at the U.C. Berkeley Marine Lab. We had a chance meeting at the
market with Hunter who worked there on our last trip and hoped to see him
again. He wasn’t there, but Frank Murphy, the stations director, kindly took
time to answer our questions about the facility & operations. Frank has a
separate business: Tahiti Expeditions: www.tahitiexpetitions.com offering
nature & cultural tours. I wish we had met him before today!
FRIDGE ON THE FRITZ: April 22 we noticed that our primary refrigerator was
not getting down to the set point. We called Gille of Promarine in Tahiti
who helped us with our freezer a few months ago. He said he was very busy
but that he would help if he could. We motored back to Tahiti early the next
morning, glad that we weren’t any further away from help. The marina was
full, but we didn’t think we needed to be at a dock. When building the boat,
we had one European outlet installed for the express purpose of a foreign
technician being able to operate a power tool with our power source. We tied
up to an open mooring, zoomed to the shore to pick up Gill & returned with
his equipment in hand. His diagnosis is that our lines needed to be flushed..
Sadly his pump would not work with our outlet. Gauges showed proper 220
voltage flowing, but his motor would not start. Presuming his motor was at
fault, they zoomed back to shore, hoping the owner of the machine would be
able to kick it to life after lunch. We got a prompt phone call & Scott went
to fetch Gill with his equipment for the 2nd time. Still no go. Now we had
so suspect our outlet was faulty. We motored the big boat to the shore, side
tying in front of a restaurant near all the mega-yachts. With Euro shore
power, the device worked, lines were flushed & we just had to wait several
hours to see if the temperature would drop to the correct level. It was
Friday night & Gill reassured us he would have domestic strife if he agreed
to pick up his equipment on Friday night. So, sure enough he called Friday
evening & Scott fetched him one more time, to check the system & retrieve
his gear. With hope & prayers we awoke Saturday to a happy refrigerator so
set off for Moorea once again.
SAIL TO HUAHINE: We have been looking forward to a visit from friends Clark
& Vincent for a long time. We saw them on each of our 5 trips to France
during the construction of Beach House & they visited us in LA a few times.
We have talked about them meeting us in French Polynesia for 6 years, and
now the time has come!
It is 115 miles from Tahiti to Huahine, so we suggested they fly to Papeete,
then take the inter-island flight to meet us in Huahine in order to avoid
the long sail. It is a huge help to us that they have a stopover in Los
Angeles. They are kindly bringing us many essential boat supplies.
We rose before the sun and exited Opanohu reef pass at about 6:00 a.m. We
motored for about one hour to see how the wind would develop and were happy
to see it setting up for a spinnaker sail. We took our time and had a smooth
hoisting. “Miss Piggy” (aka: Beach House) shone, going 9 knots in only 14
knots of wind. We even hit 12.5 knots (very fast for you non sailors!). We
took 2 hour watch shifts. It was plenty hot by the afternoon with the sun in
our face and the wind at our back. When the wind slowed down, we motor
sailed the last hour. Using the engines allows us to run the small air
conditioner in our bedroom. Heavenly bliss! If we can’t get in the water,
chilling with the a.c. is a pretty good substitute. We had the anchor down
in Fare Harbor, Huahine by 5:00 p.m. with just 3 other boats nearby.
It was a hot but peaceful night. A strong short rain shower nicely washed
the salt off Beach House. We are still keeping an eye on our main
refrigerator as it does not seem to be cooling as quickly as it should.
Otherwise we are preparing for our guests arrival tomorrow morning. Looking
forward to sharing the benefits of boat life with our friends. With temps
persisting in the 90s, we plan to be a in the water a lot.
Cindy and Scott