June 29 - Moorea - Cooks Bay

Yesterday we took a dinghy ride and visited the church at Papetoai. The Octagonal Church was built in 1822, and is thought to be the oldest church in the South Pacific. We then dinghied over to where some tikis had been placed underwater for the tourists to find (kind of hokey), and finished up nearby the Club Mediterranee, a rather expensive hotel with a fantastic view, to snorkel with stingrays and black tipped sharks. Very cool. Actually, the best part was finding a flying gurnard fish. I know, a few of you are probably thinking "What took them so long to find a flying gurnard?" Well...for those of you who have never seen one (we hadn't before this morning) the common name is "sea robin." What a great looking fish: it has camouflage to fade into the sandy background and wings that make it look like it's flying as it's swimming around.. pretty unusual! It looks like a moth and moves slowly along the bottom, using his 'hooks on either side of his head to stir up the sand. Thanks, Sheri (sv Reflections) for sharing your pictures! This morning we motored to Cooks Bay and anchored in 67' in front of the Bali Hai Hotel. We tied our dinghy up to their dock and went inside to find the proprietor to make sure it was OK to tie up where we did, and her response was to look at us and say "This is your place...of course you can tie up there." What a welcome! We've made reservations for dinner and a Polynesian dance show tonight. The steak dinner cost 2000cfp, the chicken 1800cfp, and there were many other entrees as well. Some of our friends dinghied over from Opunohu Bay to Cooks Bay just to see the area, and we've met some other cruisers from New Caledonia as well as a French local who runs a catamaran doing day charters here for the last 12 years (actually, "met" isn't the proper term as I went out to "rescue" him as he tried to row into shore against a fresh breeze and couldn't make it, so I towed him in). The views here are beautiful, just a bit different than the views in Opunohu Bay, and it's easy to see the tremendous allure of this area. The weather is doing a bit of change, so we expect to be around here for a few days.

Moorea - June 27

The second (and last) day (Sun) of the Pacific Puddle Jumps Tahiti-Moorea Sailing Rendezvous began with an outrigger canoe race. There were 26 teams of four cruisers and two Tahitians in each 6 person canoe, and four canoes faced off against each other in each heat until there was an overall winner. We didn't win our heat, but came in third, missing second place by a second or so. There were many activities you could choose from-weaving of baskets/bowls/headbands, or make your own flower headband or lei, or design and make your own pareu. After the outrigger races, a traditional Tahitian lunch was served. After lunch there was a rock lifting (strong-man) competition, as well as foot races and coconut husking sessions. An awards ceremony was held after everything finished up, and all participating boats received a beautifully engraved oyster shell momento of the Rendezvous. Traditional dancing closed out the entire program, and lots of pictures were taken. You can check out the pictures and happenings at www.latitude38.com, the main sponsor for this event. If any of you readers are thinking of coming this way, we'd highly recommend this Puddle Jump get together; we had a really good time, and think you will too!
This morning (Mon), we hiked to the Belvedere, a lookout between Cook's Bay and Opunohu Bay. We then took an additional extended hike to the Three Pines, which afforded a beautiful vista view of both bays (Mount Tohieva and Mount Mouaroa) as well. The wind is 20-25 knots outside the reef, although the gribs don't reflect it; it's supposed to lay down tomorrow….we'll see….

June 25 - Moorea

Lat S17deg29min/W149deg37min.
We slipped our mooring at the Yacht Club de Tahiti at 0800 and motored out the pass in very light winds. Unfortunately, the wind didn't pick up, and instead of motoring down to the entrance of the Port Of Papeete, where the official 1000 hour start time of the Tahiti to Moorea Sailing Rendezvous was, we decided to just motor on to Moorea, as we figured the winds would stay very light anyway. We were right, and out of about 40 boats registered for the rally, only (I think) 7 actually sailed, the rest of the fleet motored here as well. Well, some years the winds just don't fill in as expected. About 50 boats are anchored way to close to one another in front of Mareto Beach here in Opunohu Bay. The bay is stunning, with Mount Tohivea and Mount Muaroa forming a jagged backdrop at the head of the bay (Robinson's Cove), and we'll go exploring and hiking Monday. Today, after all the cruisers arrived, there was a welcoming party on the beach, with traditional dancing and cocktails served. We've signed up as one of the 23 four person canoe teams (we're aboard Team Hawaii with some friends of ours) for the canoe races tomorrow (Sun), and there will be other competitions as well, before a traditionally prepared Tahitian lunch on the beach. Sounds like good fun. We're anchored in 10' of crystal clear water, watching the sting rays glide by, with big smiles on our faces, pinching ourselves to remind ourselves we're really here in Moorea. The only sounds at night or in the early morning are roosters crowing and the occasional dog barking. Air temperature is 73 degrees. Lovely.

June 19 - Tahiti update

We've been really busy around here. The Tahiti Yacht Club is a wonderful spot. The moorings are (approx) $11USD/day - a real bargain. Included in that price is the use of the Club facilities - hot showers, restrooms, laundry ($3.50USD wash and $3.50USD dry), and there are 2 small restaurants here that are open for lunch. The big draw found everywhere are the 'roulettes' that come out at around 6:30pm. These are trucks which are set up as portable kitchens, fire up a hibachi grill, and (usually) serve Chinese food, chicken, fish and meat dishes. We've found prices are about 1000-1400 xfp (about 80xfp/USD); the food's been fresh and delicious! There are a few roulettes that show up outside the YC but more are found downtown; every night the vans/wagons fill the square on the waterfront, with their tables set up it's quite a scene. We also pulled Infini up to the TYC fuel dock and got duty free diesel (approx 72 xfp/liter or about $4.02USD/gallon at the exchange rate). The public buses run just outside the Club and go downtown to the yacht quay area; we walked around the commercial area in and out of chandleries, an ACE hardware and other local stores. We rented a car with our friends Dave & Sherry on Soggy Paws -(expensive at approx $110USD/day unlimited mileage) and have been seeing many parts of Tahiti far away from the Yacht Club. The big news is that we took Matt to the airport last night for his flight back to Florida. He'd been aboard about 10 months, and decided it was time to return to other priorities and places. We'll sure miss him around here and know it will take a while to adjust to his absence. We'll be staying occupied; more sightseeing today and preparing for the Tahiti-Moorea Yacht Rally that many of the Pacific Puddle Jump cruisers participate in which takes place Saturday. We'll be continuing our moseying west across the Pacific from there (Moorea).

June 13 - Moored at the TYC

We motored over to the Tahiti Yacht Club this morning and took an available mooring. Tomorrow morning we'll complete check in stuff, and then go exploring. The winds are forecast to go very light, so it doesn't look good for Matt to have decent wx for kiting for another week.

June 12 - Team Infini is safely anchored in Tahiti

Position - S17deg29min/W149deg29min
We anchored in 25' under the loom of the lighthouse at Point Venus. We had a good day sailing, at times reaching over 7 knots; this speed allowed us to get to the anchorage at dusk - what a pleasure! Tomorrow we'll move around and find another anchorage; tonight is one for celebration. It'll take a while for it to sink in - we're in Tahiti!!

June 11 - Infini is enroute to Tahiti

Position: S15deg26min/W148deg30min.
Course: 200 T
Speed: 5.6 kn
Wind: SE 22-24 kn
Seas: SE 6-8'
Sails: 2nd reef main; reefed jib. We use the running backstay as much as possible; mast support can't hurt!
This is a fairly short run of about 200 nm from Rangiroa to Papeete. We raised anchor at first light and motor sailed down to Avatoro Pass, exiting the pass at slack low water without problems. Since we expect arrival at Tahiti after sundown, we plan to anchor at Point Venus (named by Capt. James Cook) and go thru the pass into Papeete in the early morning daylight.

June 8 - Waiting for weather - Rangiroa

There aren't a whole lot of boats traveling around, anywhere. The reinforced trades have brought 20-25 knot winds, and high seas, for days now; mostly SE, but with a bit of E and ENE thrown in. Exiting the passes here is just way too exciting in these sorts of conditions, and we've even seen several yachts thrown about as they attempt departure. We watched heart in mouth as a large Oyster 60-something took waves over the bow back to the cockpit, pitched so heavily its stern was clear out of the water, then slewed around as the waves battered him as he fought to gain steering control....nosiree...we'll wait a bit longer before we get into anything like that! So, we had an open-house (boat)/cocktail party/meet your new neighbors/birthday party aboard the other day; I counted 19 people from 8 boats aboard; a very nice gathering. Matt's been doing a bit of kiting, but the other two boats that had kiters aboard departed a while back, so he's been on his own. We're doing a lot of reading (always), and go into town for fresh baguettes, croissants, veggies and other stuff when needed. The weather in Tahiti, our next stop, is pretty similar to ours, so when the next decent time frame for departure from here to there occurs, there will be boats moving from there to wherever...it's a constant shuffleboard of boats to and from. We have slow internet here, a real bonus, and are enjoying our prolonged stay here in Rangiroa. Btw, two megayachts are here: the 43m Dubois designed sailing vessel "Drumbeg" and the 78m Feadship motoryacht "TV" (it charters for $185000/week! Infini's rates are somewhat less....) - look them up on the net - we did!

The Blue Lagoon, Rangiroa

We motored down to the Blue Lagoon and anchored in 41' of sand. We anchored about 1.8nm past the anchor symbol on the C-Map chart, and ended up much closer to the Lagoon. The chart marks a fairway from Ohutu all thew way to the Blue Lagoon, and there were no obstructions. Minimal depth in the fairway was 55' for just a short bit, but most of the time it was 80'-100' depth. The first night the wind was about 10 knots right on the nose, and we pitched a bit thru the evening, but there was, thankfully, no roll. In the morning, we awoke to rain and squalls, but at about 1030 we launched the dinghy and decided to go exploring. We had to portage the dinghy over the shallow areas, although there are four mooring buoys to tie off to that the tour boats use to bring folks to the Lagoon to picnic, relax and feed the sharks. We found several picnic tables and BBQ pits set up on both islets, obviously for the tour boats. The black tipped sharks must have been expecting to be fed, as there were about 30-40 of them, from 1'-4' in size, that hung out in the shallows and didn't bother us. Matt waded out to take pictures, and it was funny to watch them circle him! We then toured some of the various motus that surround the Lagoon, seeing little signs of habitation, but you're never quite as isolated as you think! We snorkeled some of the coral formations in the lagoon. The fish were colorful, and the shape of the coral heads was interesting, but the coral didn't have a lot of color or health. We returned to the boat, and in the afternoon were joined for a potluck aboard by the crews of Slip Away and Loon III who arrived in the afternoon, feasting on homemade pizza, chili and peach cobbler! Do we eat well, or what! The night was quite calm, and the boat was surrounded by black tip sharks; we counted 13 of them just off the stern! The next morning we departed to go back to Ohutu to hunker down for the expected blow coming our way in a few days. There's a fairly strong high pressure area SW of Tahiti pushing those isobars pretty close together, so this entire patch is expecting stronger winds and big seas for a while.

The Blue Lagoon, Rangiroa

We've motored down to the Blue Lagoon here in Rangiroa. Anchored in 41', sand, at S15deg05.727min/W147deg55.289min. We'll go exploring tomorrow and report back! Btw, we're off the internet grid and back to SailMail and our Winlink email.