Simon and Jo were now comfortably ensconced on board so we spent the first day in Papeete which is not a very pleasant town, busy and noisy with lots of traffic. We provisioned for the trip and that evening we saw some traditional Tahitian dancing in the main square and had supper in the roulettes which are vans parked near the square cooking a variety of foods ; pizza ,chow mein ,hamburgers etc at reasonable process by Tahitian standards …it is an expensive place !
The next day we sailed for Moorea only about a 3 hours away. It is a dramatic island with sharp peaks, deep valleys and two bays to anchor in on the north side. We started off in Cooks Bay anchoring at the end of the bay and the next day had a long hike to the local lookout point where we were joined by a large crowd of American tourists from a cruise ship in the bay. Once they had gone we could the enjoy the real view we had climbed to see! The engineering department went into full swing the next day mending leaks and unblocking the aft heads …the culprit a plastic bag which must have blown in and been pumped through.
The 29th September was Jo’s birthday so we celebrated with a birthday outing, driving around the island and with an excellent dinner at a local restaurant. We found an excellent “snack “for lunch on the sea front as well. It rained a lot in the afternoon but we still managed a delicious birthday supper despite being rather bedraggled. We moved to Oponohu Bay next and anchored off a beautiful beach with clear turquoise water so wonderful for swimming and snorkelling although the coral was not that good .We successfully christened the dinghy anchor that Malcolm and Glynis had given us .We enjoyed a dinner of crepes at the nearby Hilton overlooking sharks and rays swimming under the tables providing unusual evening entertainment. We also found another interesting “snack “ in the garden of a house that had been transported from Bali by a French lady married to a Japanese man who cooked Tahitian dishes with an oriental twist, quite a combination!
We left for Huahine on 6.10.2014, an overnight sail which was mainly calm apart from narrowly missing a few squalls. Once through the pass we anchored off Fare the main town and had an excellent lunch in the Huahine yacht club ( really just a restaurant )and luckily there was an excellent supermarket for provisioning. We hired a car the next day and saw some marae (the ancient Polynesian temple areas) and visited a pearl farm in the lagoon.Huahine is one of the less visited islands so it is very peaceful but no less beautiful.
We then moved down the west coast of the island to Avea beach in pouring rain but once there we had beautifully clear water and excellent snorkelling. In addition there was a nice hotel on the beach with a pontoon for easy dinghy landing and glamorous cocktails! We stopped briefly on the way back at Bourayne Bay and found more beautiful coral and lots of fish.
On 12.10.2014 we left for Raiatea and had on overnight stop in the lagoon on a pearl farm mooring and set off early the next day for Bora Bora. It was a motor sail as there was no wind but the sea was calm and we were moored at the Bora Bora yacht club by lunchtime. It is a very welcoming place with an excellent restaurant ,laundry and ablution facilities and friendly staff .We hired a car the next day and explored Bora Bora with its many hotels and beaches. We then anchored in several places moving slowly around the lagoon relaxing and enjoying the amazingly clear turquoise water. The weather was rather mixed with intermittent rain and strong winds but usually this did not last long or dampen our enjoyment. Completely by surprise we discovered an excellent Japanese restaurant thanks to a couple from a charter boat anchored nearby who had booked to go there and had organised a car which we all shared!
One morning Simon spotted a group of 7 rays swimming just off a beach near one of our anchorages quite an extraordinary sight .We returned the yacht club for our last night then moved to Raiatea on 22.10.2014 and although the passage is short once outside the calm lagoon the sea was pretty rough and we had to motor into a 30kt headwind, so not the easiest journey and it was a great relief to get through the pass into the calm water again. The reef surrounds both the island of Raiatea and Tahaa so we decided to explore Tahaa first as it is the quietest. We found the most spectacular coral garden with lots of living coral and so many tropical fish, it was in very shallow water so although there was a strong current there was no possibility of being swept away. We then visited the main town of Uturoa in Raiatea and finally to the carenage where Baringo will stay for the next few months. Simon and Jo left for New Zealand on 28.10.2014, the end of a great cruise and a fitting finale to this year’s sailing.
Now we start packing up the boat and will leave on 5th November so until next year when we hope the voyages of Baringo will continue!