Postponement in Polynesia May 28- June 10.

So very easy to do ….always an excuse to stay within the calm and safety of the lagoons , but the work continued.
While waiting for the rigging repairs to be done we practiced managing the new oversized dinghy and the new possibly underpowered 2.5 suzuki 4 stroke but I am glad to say practice makes perfect and with the Gibson lift we are now much more adept at launching and raising it .This has to be done every night as dinghy theft is common and would be a cruising catastrophe. The outboard is quite adequate for our needs which do not include winning the round Raiatea dinghy race.
We decided to venture to the island of Taaha over the weekend, still within the Raiatea lagoon but we hoisted the new main sail on the way and it looked very glossy and clean with a much improved sail shape . We stayed for the weekend in Haamane Bay, Taaha which we knew very well from last year and is very beautiful and tranquil. There is an excellent restaurant with equally excellent internet and two reasonably stocked supermarkets including fresh daily baguettes . We serviced all the winches while there, a very satisfying job and enjoyed a delicious dinner in the Tahaa Matai.

tranquil Haamene bay

tranquil Haamene bay

We then sailed around the north coast of Taaha to try out the foresails ,although 6 years old now they looked good so we hope they will be up to the passage . On Monday we planned to go to Uturoa the main city on Raiatea to provision and refuel before returning to the boatyard for the rigging repairs . As so often happens plans changed en route because a strong easterly wind was blowing making docking in the small easterly facing port of Uturoa rather tricky. We had been blown onto the dock last year during similar conditions so with discretion being the better part we went directly back to the moorings outside the boat yard and decided to refuel in Bora Bora by dinghy now we had one up to the job ! We took a taxi to the supermarket and came back with more food than we would need but overprovisioning is a good policy I think.
The 1st June was the day for the rigging so we went into the small basin in the yard but Fred the rigger had other ideas and postponed until the next day. Once in the basin which has a difficult entry between two reefs we had to stay. All went well with the rigging repairs the next day although the test will be the ocean winds and waves so we will reserve judgement for the moment.

Rainbow in Raiatea near Carenage

Rainbow in Raiatea near Carenage

By Saturday 4th June we were ready for the short passage 26nm to Bora Bora which started with light winds, motor sailing and water making . Finally we sailed half the way on the big jenny alone so very pleasant.

Borabora from Taaha

Borabora from Taaha

Supply ship en route to Borabora

Supply ship en route to Borabora

 

We returned to the Bora Bora yacht club and were happy to find it unchanged and many staff we knew still there, this is our fourth visit. The weather has been very mixed since we arrived here because of a large system passing to the south which produced westerly and southerly winds here so quite boisterous in the YC bay which is sheltered from the usual prevailing easterlies! We have had several squalls with up to 35 kts but so far the mooring has held us in position.

Borabora yacht club

Borabora yacht club

Borabora yacht club in bad weather- a bit different!

Borabora yacht club in bad weather- a bit different!

We took advantage of the dry and less windy periods to provision (again ) start our exit procedures , John started rigging the boat with a new style preventer from the bow and manageable from the cockpit .We successfully transported several jerry cans of diesel in the dinghy which would not have been possible in the now departed Avon . We watched the weather which did not seem conducive to our route west, so our departure date was postponed several times and we are still here waiting .Rather frustrating but because of this delay we had to use the water maker again and after a few minutes of operation it stopped ! Just as we were thinking the list of jobs was ending another rather major one appeared . It seemed the pump had given up , we had a replacement which John masterfully fitted but it was a days work and so much easier in the Bora Bora lagoon than mid Pacific ocean. The additional bonus is that we are now producing much more water than before. Every cloud …….etc
The weather seems set fair for our departure on Monday 13th as the system has passed to the east, and the swell is settling from 3 meters from the south to 2 meters from the east , so lets hope we can manage to drag ourselves away from Polynesia which will be quite a wrench, we have had a wonderful time here and it is a real sailing paradise. I think we prefer au revoir rather than goodbye!

piroques race passing us by.

piroques race passing us by.

 

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Voyages on Baringo May 2016

We arrived in Papeete on 7th May to the usual warm Polynesian welcome not only the temperature but the music and flowers as well . We had flown from New Zealand after a 10 day tour there visiting my cousin John in Mount Maunganui  and Palmerston North and then Peter and Gayle Williams in Wellington.The last time we had been there was 20 years so a lot of catching up to do ! All great fun and we ended with a train journey from Wellington to Aukland which was very relaxing and interesting.

Now we had to focus on the watery side of our lives again and happily Baringo was still in Raiatea in the same place and undamaged.

flight to Raiatea passing over Moorea showing Cooks bay

flight to Raiatea passing over Moorea showing Cooks bay

Approach to the airport showing Raiatea carenage where we left Baringo

Approach to the airport showing Raiatea carenage where we left Baringo

We had decided to stay in the wonderful Raiatea Lodge hotel again probably our last time but it was  as good as we remembered so we enjoyed it while we set to work on the boat .

Raiatea lodge hotel room

Raiatea lodge hotel room

Where to start ? It takes time to change the mindset to a nautical one but we began by taking delivery of our new mainsail which was waiting for us in Raiatea . Preparing it for attachment to the mast and then attaching it was quite an operation done in the blazing heat, new mains are more like cardboard than cloth but eventually it was on the boom . The pool in Raiatea Lodge was a necessity that evening to say nothing of the delicious dinner accompanied by an excellent bottle of wine!

We had moused all the halyards so this all had to be reversed. Luckily all went smoothly apart from the Solent jib sheet which required a short ascent of the mast to encourage it through  but this was what had happened last year so not a surprise .

work in progress inside Baringo

work in progress inside Baringo

John as usual spent time examining the bilge ( Manuel has left now Simon )  and he found a leak which came from the hot water tank again so this needed to be removed and repaired . The rain was very heavy at times so our work was frequently interrupted and because it was so wet we decided to move into the Sunset Beach Motel rather than onto the boat in the yard which turns rapidly into a mosquito infested quagmire with the rain. We had a lovely bungalow very well equipped and fresh baguette was delivered every morning. We hired a car to speed up the errands which were becoming quite frequent now and continued preparing the boat for launching.

Verandah sunset beach bungalow

Verandah sunset beach bungalow

The other new item this year was the dinghy ! It was a very sad farewell to the Avon rover which we had had for 20 years and had done wonderful service. Malcolm and Glynis had fine tuned the engineering systems to raise and lower it last year and it had worked so successfully .The new vessel was much bigger heavier and difficult to manoeuvre so tempers were frayed and regrets flew. There was no going back so we continued! Our outboard was completely seized so we though the new dingy deserved a new outboard so we bought a small 2.5 suzuki 4 stroke . We could not manage to put all the floor boards in the dingy on the deck but despite this once afloat with a slightly modified version of the Gibson lift she showed her charms and all was forgiven .We are now very pleased and we have a much sturdier work horse .

goodbye to the Rover

goodbye to the Rover

new Dinghy

new Dinghy

We had one rather unpleasant set back in the Motel  when our bungalow was burgled while we were in the “library “ bungalow nearby on the  internet so we lost some money and two wallets which means another insurance claim and processing new Id cards and driving licenses .  Of course it could have been worse but it took time with the gendarmerie and was rather upsetting but Madame the owner of the motel was very kind and helpful beyond the call of duty.

We decided to get the rigging checked before setting off on quite a long voyage and Fred the rigger discovered two broken strands in the shrouds so those will need to be replaced before we leave.

 

Friday 20th May: We were in the water! Luckily no problems but it is always tense watching Baringo suspended on the travel hoist with no back stay attached .

Launch

Launch

We stayed on a buoy just outside the yard for the next few days waiting for opportune moments of dry windlessness to raise the foresails. They finally came so we hoisted the sails but then there was more torrential rain, not perfect boating weather .

Baringo is now finally looking as if she might take on another ocean passage  so we are planning a test sail to Bora Bora after the rigging has been repaired and then hope to sail west to Nuie with the waxing new moon in early June .

cocktail view-sunset over Bora Bora from our mooring.

cocktail view-sunset over Bora Bora from our mooring.

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OCC map

Belated Happy New Year to all. Baringo remains on the ‘hard’ in Riaitea in French Polynesia. We plan to return in May and set sail in June for Australia via Nuie, Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu, and New Caledonia. Then up the Austrialian coast to Thursday island across to Indonesia and after stopping at several islands to Singapore.

Here is the latest OCC map of members boats showing Baringo lonely seemingly in the middle of the Pacific!

OCC Fleet Map 2016-02

Baringo OCC map

 

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A Holiday Adventure 22nd August – 25 th September 2015

The journey from Fakarava to Papeete was again with a force 6 touching 7 wind and the accompanying rough sea which has been our lot this year. We had just finished supper on the second night when the autohelm suddenly switched off and as neither of us were at the helm the boat turned quickly downwind rather surprisingly and we had jibed before we realised what was going on. We had quite a shock with the bang but luckily we had a double reefed main and the mast remained in an upright position and on later inspection no damage had been done. We reached Tahiti at dawn with a spectacular view of Moorea which has a particularly dramatic silhouette but often invisible due to cloud cover. We went to the Marina Taina just south of Papeete rather than the main in town marina which as our crew from last year will remember well is right by the main road and quite noisy. The pontoons are all brand new now and a great improvement but still close to the road. We initially stayed on a buoy near the marina to tidy up and get ready for the arrival of Antony and Vanessa.

 

dawn arrival papeete

dawn arrival papeete

Moorea at dawn

Moorea at dawn

We went into the Marina proper after a couple of days still in a strong wind so needed help to get tied up but we were badly positioned at the end of a pontoon with the wind blowing us onto the adjacent boat causing anxiety to the owners and to us. We had to have an extra mooring line rigged to a submarine concrete block which had to be attached  by a diver and this worked well until the wind changed direction after a couple of days and we were pulled half off the end of the pontoon ! Hardly an ideal spot and not what we had wanted for our arriving guests .In addition, being stern to rather than alongside we all had to walk a narrow uphill plank to get on and off the boat …tricky after a few Hinanos ! The final coup was a 30 euro charge for electricity for a 4 days stay so we will not be going back! Vanessa and Antony arrived at 05.15 on 30th August and after welcome of walking the plank and breakfast we had a drive around the north of Tahiti to see Venus point where Captain Cook tried to time the passage of the planet across the earth to determine the distance of the earth from the sun ( he failed ) . The weather was changeable and the beaches black sand but Tahiti is certainly not the high spot of the Society Islands so better things were to come. We then started a slightly curtailed version of what is fondly known as the Davies Society island Cruise and left for Moorea the next day in strong winds but with beautiful views of Moorea .We anchored in “internet alley “ at the head of Oponhua Bay which Simon and Jo will remember and dined overlooking the sharks again at the crepes restaurant in the nearby Hilton and enjoyed the lively Polynesian music and dancing there the following evening.

internet alley anchorage

internet alley anchorage

 

Next was the overnight sail to Huahine which started off in the usual way with force 6 which gradually calmed by the morning but not in time for us to be able make the pass under sail and as we did not want to miss the island altogether the motor took us the last few miles. We found a mooring buoy outside the main town of Fare, there were fewer boats here than on our pit stop en route to Tikihau. The water was too clear and the beach too close for our guests to resist so the days entertainment was an easy choice .We stayed and provisioned then the next day we went south through the lagoon to Avea where the water and the snorkelling are first class with an easily accessible coral reef just off the beach.

Fare beach huahine

Fare beach huahine

Avea anchorage at sunset

Avea anchorage at sunset

Time pressed on and we had to leave for Raiatea, Vanessa and Antony were with us for only two weeks so no time to dally sadly .This day sail was pleasant and we had full sail up for a short while a first for this season! With only a one night stop here we chose the spectacular coral garden to visit .This is a narrow shallow channel between two motus ( coral islands )but full of fish of all colours and shapes .There is no need to swim as it is shallow enough to walk through but it is pleasant to float back with the current amongst the fish. Just after the snorkelling trip a big squall blew through so we had to wait to leave for Bora Bora. We had thought this would be a pleasant downwind sail so we spent the rest of the morning rigging the pole for the jenny only to find from the GRIB file on the weather when we checked the latest forecast that all had changed and we were to be upwind ! So it was all change again .It was a grey and wet crossing but we arrived at the welcoming Bora Bora yacht club in time for a delicious supper.

hotel near coral garden raiatea

hotel near coral garden raiatea

small motu raiatea

small motu raiatea

church Tahaa

church Tahaa

rainbow over Bora Bora

rainbow over Bora Bora

Henry arrived in Bora Bora the next morning in glorious sunshine and we took the airport catamaran to meet him, there is no land access to the airport as it is on a motu on the north side of the reef   . Meanwhile Vanessa and Antony rented a jeep to explore Bora Bora by land . Once all aboard again we moved the boat further south near to Matira Point and we celebrated Henry’s arrival with an excellent dinner at Bloody Marys that famous Bora Bora restaurant some of you will remember . We moved further out the next day to try and see rays but it became quite stormy night so we were unable to dinghy over to dine at the Japanese restaurant we had discovered last year quite by chance with Simon and Jo. We enjoyed an evening on board while the wind raged outside and we played card games .We have had excellent holding with the now not so new Rocna anchor which seems to have proved its worth and to be highly recommended for any sailors who have not already got one .

Antony and Vanessa had booked into a hotel on the large motu on the east of Bora Bora for their last few nights so despite the bad weather continuing the next day we motored round the lagoon which is quite tricky as the water gets very shallow (3.0m) and there is a tortuous path to follow through the reefs. It is well marked but requires some concentration and is best done in bright sunlight and light wind neither of which did we have that day ! We tried to get close to the hotel to minimise the dinghy ride but even though there was no reef directly in front if was too shallow and we touched the bottom in our attempt, always a fright but only sand so no damage done .We anchored further south and then there was the dinghy ride with Vanessa and Antony and bags to the hotel but our sturdy little Avon and tiny outboard made it in John’s skilful hands despite a 30kt blow .

We then found that it was easier to take a shorter dinghy ride to the shore and walk round along the beach to the Hotel Eden which was very pleasant in a perfect location and accommodation was in small bungalows but very tastefully decorated with shells and coral blending perfectly with the beautiful environment … No hint of any glass or chrome! We could use the kayaks from the hotel and had a delicious lunch washed down with cold Hinanos . Antony and Vanessa’s holiday came to an end but Henry was with us for a few more days so we stayed two more nights here as we wanted to find the rays that we had seen last year. We were successful and indeed there were many more they are such an eerie sight silently and slowly flapping their way through the water like outsize underwater birds. The next day we visited another coral garden, it was a beautiful sunny day so the water was brilliantly clear and there were lots of fish.

Eden hotel

Eden hotel

nacre decoration eden hotel

nacre decoration eden hotel

hammock eden hotel

hammock eden hotel

Julia and Dobby Eden hotel

Julia and Dobby Eden hotel

motu pit au anchorage Bora

motu pit au anchorage Bora

shades of blue at motu piti au

shades of blue at motu piti au

crater at borabora

crater at borabora

Bora Bora anchorge; wonderful colours

Bora Bora anchorge; wonderful colours

wonderful clarity of the water- anchor chain clearly visible

wonderful clarity of the water- anchor chain clearly visible

We then headed back through the same circuitous route, there is no other, and anchored off Motu Topua on the west side of Bora Bora for the night before returning to the yacht club. We wanted to show Henry the island by land before he left and we had a nice day out although it does not take long to drive around the island, it is very small but by land there is a different perspective . We finished with cocktails at the Sofitel and supper by the sea at the Maitai Hotel . The next day was Henry’s last but we snatched a quick early morning swim from Matira beach as we still had the car,such a beautiful long stretch of golden coral sand with clear brilliant turquoise water so a fitting end for Henry ‘s short holiday .Later that day we all flew to Papeete and we saw Henry off on rather a long journey to London and we returned to the boat the next day . The short interisland flight gave a wonderful view of the geography of the islands .

We now have a month left here before our trip to Peru and Bolivia .

 

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Voyages On Baringo 2015 Raiatea to the Tuamotos 25th July -23rd August

We left Hurepiti without incident and planned to provision for the voyage at Uturoa the capital of Raiatea and the second largest town in Polynesia second to Papeete. The harbour is quite small and having forgotten it was Saturday and changeover day for the charter fleet we could not get in so sailed on toward Farooa bay further south along the east coast of Raiatea. Yet another magnificent bay, large and empty and oh joy some government buoys as well . There is a river at the head of the bay so of course we had to gunk hole up and explore .It was trip that proved very fruitful in more ways than one as we met farmer Andre who showed us his farm on the river bank and taught us about the plants and then gave us a huge bunch of bananas.

gunkholing

gunkholing

Andre and gift of bananas

Andre and gift of bananas

bananas ripening

bananas ripening

 

The next day we prepared for the forthcoming departure from the tranquillity of the lagoon into the boisterous pacific ocean and after a days provisioning in Uturoa we finally made the exit through the pass into the Pacific . Of course the swell caused the usual rolling which we had to get used to again but soon after departure dark clouds gathered and the journey suddenly seemed much less attractive so we easily agreed to opt for plan B and pulled into Huahine for shelter. We needed three tries at anchoring despite going directly for our previous anchorage spot but this did not prove as good holding as last time … ?

The following morning the sky looked better so we left early before getting too used to the easy lagoon life again .We headed north east with a south easterly wind . It was quite rough and the wind gusted to 30 kts not so great when beating into it . The next day was continuous squalls with rain as well so decidedly unpleasant but at least we were making progress towards Tikehau By 2.00 am the next morning conditions had calmed and we tacked up and down waiting for dawn to make the approach to the pass into Tikehau lagoon . Luckily there is an anchorage just outside the pass and it was fascinating to watch the pattern in the water at the pass entrance as the outflow from the lagoon poured into the ocean. In rough seas and strong winds a lot of water enters the lagoons over the coral reef and can only get out through the pass , this results in a very strong outflow , often strong enough to oppose the incoming tide delaying low water slack and the incoming tide by one or two hours or in some atolls abolishing it completely .So although we had tide table data this does not exactly predict the true timing of the flow of water in and out of the passes . The currents can be very strong so it is vital to time entry and exit correctly and this indeed took up many ( happy ! ) hours of debate .This time we had the luxury of being able to watch from a safe anchorage exactly what was happening to the water and so we glided in smoothly and safely .

We stayed in Tikehau until 7th august enjoying the extraordinarily relaxed life style of the atolls .We bought freshly baked hot baguettes and croissants from the boulangerie every afternoon and hired bikes from the supermarket and cycled as far as the motu ( coral island ) would allow . We found an excellent pension where we ate poisson cru au lait du coco ( raw fish in coconut milk ) a delicious polynesian dish and had some good chats with the owner .We did a day trip around the atoll with Gilles and four Italian honeymooners ,and picnicked on the famed sable rose, again poisson cru au lait du coco .We visited Ile des Oiseaux which lived up to its name ,and later saw giant manta rays . It was hard to drag ourselves away from such a delightful place just the right mix of basic necessities and pristine natural beauty .

Tikehau port

Tikehau port

cycling tikehau

cycling tikehau

Bird island -bird-Noddy? Jeremy please comment!

Bird island -bird-Noddy?
Jeremy please comment!

Baby gigi

Baby gigi

Bird island

Bird island

Sable rose beach picnic site

Sable rose beach picnic site

atoll residence

atoll residence

coffee by the beach Tikehau

ladies lunching polynesian style

ladies lunching polynesian style

 

There was the usual anxiety about the pass and we waited until our calculated time watching the water and luckily we were safely through.We sailed along the north of Tikehau then Rangiroa the largest atoll and both gave us some shelter from the southerly swell . Once clear though the wind and swell picked up but we could make the course north east to Ahe our next destination.

Ahe is a small atoll and once inside we could see the coral rim all around us. The journey was uneventful but again we had to sail up and down waiting for dawn and the correct time to enter the pass. Ahe was much quieter than Tikehau but surprisingly the shop was open on Sunday morning but sadly no boulangerie on the atoll. On closer inspection it was rather more untidy and run down than other atolls, maybe because it had been hit by a cyclone a few years before and had not recovered. The beaches were less pleasant littered with lots of fishing debris and the inevitable plastic bottles. We had anchored quite far out as usual as we were always worried about getting the chain tied up around coral heads of which there are many in these waters and for the next few days the wind blew so hard we were unable to get ashore again . If we had perhaps we would have discovered more beautiful parts of Ahe but there were no restaurants or pensions to enjoy near the village . The generator impeller had broken during the journey and so we had time to replace it being boat bound.We left on the 12th august and once again managed to time the pass safely .We headed to Fakarava the second largest atoll in the Tuamotos. We had been here last year with Malcolm and Glynis and really enjoyed it but we had missed the south pass so wanted to try and see that as the snorkelling and diving there is legendary.

We had a pleasant sail overnight towards Farakava passing Taou and Apataki atolls and reached the main pass into Fakarava slightly too early so tried heaving –to and waited for the inflow to begin at our calculated time . Heaving –to is rather tricky on Baringo with the slutter rig as the solent jib is not quite enough to balance a double reefed main but we managed to drift at about 1.5 kts which was preferable to sailing at 7.00kts . It was curious that Baringo seemed to sail fast when we wanted to go slowly ! We entered the pass (which is the widest in the Tuamotos )slightly earlier than we had calculated only to find the inflow was well underway and we were pushed in at 9kts.

Fakarava nice big wide pass into lagoon

Fakarava nice big wide pass into lagoon

We made our way over to the village of Rotoava and anchored very near our old spot from last year . The colours were spectacular and there are beautiful overhanging tress lining the lagoon a much softer look than the ubiquitous coconut palms.

Fakarava Baringo at anchor

Fakarava Baringo at anchor

We found our old friends Aldric and Stephanie at the very welcoming Fakarava yacht services and had the usual cups of delicious coffee while using their internet . We stayed put for a few days swimming off the boat which baby sharks soon adopt as their home living under the hull appearing only when scraps are thrown overboard .They are harmless black tipped sharks but still I prefer not to take the goggles while swimming around the boat . We hired bikes and found the wonderful PK9 beach totally unspoiled and deserted with wonderful coral and fish in clear turquoise water just a few meters off the beach . We saw the old lighthouse on the way back an easy landmark on the atoll in daylight but no longer functioning.

Fakarave beach at PK9

Fakarave beach at PK9

Fakarava coral near anchorage

Fakarava coral near anchorage

Fakarava boat storage style

Fakarava boat storage style

Fakarava restaurant for lunch

Fakarava restaurant for lunch

old light house Fakarava

old light house Fakarava

Coral fakarava on route south

Coral fakarava on route south

On Tuesday 18thAugust we motored to the south pass about 35 miles away .Luckily there is a well buoyed track but we still kept a good lookout for any shallow water with coral reefs .We followed the coast of the atoll passing one beautiful deserted beach after another each edged with brilliant turquoise water.We anchored off Motu Hirifi at the SE corner and much to our surprise found a restaurant on the beach there and met Liza and booked dinner the following night.

Hirifi beach at sunset

Hirifi beach at sunset

The next day we woke to a northerly wind which meant there was some swell in the lagoon but we could still swim and had a walk along the magical tropical beach before our delicious supper chez Liza .Sashimi followed by grilled parrot fish and frites and we had an interesting chat with Liza who is so hospitable and friendly .We discovered that her son in law who was there is a diver which was very reassuring as there is always the worry of getting the anchor chain around coral heads and there was certainly not much other help here.The next day brought black clouds and rain so we moved to anchor close to the south pass with the intention of leaving Fakarava through this to try and get to Tahanea an uninhabited atoll just to the south . The weather did not improve and the wind remained strong around 25 kts and our dinghy excursion to the pass did not inspire confidence as there water was chaotic with eddies and currents. We decided against the legendary drift snorkel but found some beautiful living coral and plenty of fish just off the beach and felt much safer . The timing of the south pass exit was taxing to say the least . We needed daylight, slack water and a light wind to avoid any wind over tide which would create large standing waves in the pass ! So in the end we decided discretion ….and headed for the wide north pass to exit. It was another pleasant sail through the lagoon and a quick anchorage in Rotoava to wait for the correct exit time but then the trouble started. After a pleasant and refreshing swim to set ourselves up for the night sail to Tahiti we could not get the anchor up, yes it was wrapped around a coral head and time was ticking by towards slack water for the exit.  Finally with some gentle coaxing  it came up and then almost immediately we were in less than 1.0 meter depth over a previously unseen coral reef, alarm bells all round but we miraculously just missed hitting it. Shaken and Stirred we motored to the pass and made the way through just before dusk still in slack water so it was out into the night and the ocean towards Tahiti to meet Vanessa and Antony for their holiday aboard Baringo .

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Voyages on Baringo July 6th 2015 Tahaa and Raiatea; Islands and Lagoon

As the new week dawned the clouds,rain and wind continued. Our repaired hot water tank was returned and installed and no leaks now. The water maker pump and membrane had to be moved for this exercise so the next worry was would it work again after its unseating! Luck was with us this time and we made (drinking) water without a hitch.

During the lift out and lift in at the Carenage we had been obliged to lower the wind generator as the crane was not big enough to allow its height. Despite such strong winds over the previous weekend not a single ampere was forthcoming so we decided to investigate .This as usual proved more complicated than expected; it is much heavier than it looks and we had difficulty manoeuvring it over the backstays and the bimini and at the end of that day it was left rather precariously over the stern. The next day with renewed strength we got it into the cockpit and managed to undo the top from the pole after a lot of WD40 and muscle power and discovered that the electric cable was broken presumably when it was lowered to get into the crane. The wire was so short we could not repair it and presumably the original installers (some will make a guess who this was)   had never thought it would have to be removed so had only used a very short wire. Anyway there was nothing we could do except to return it to its correct position and tie it off. The prospect of carrying this heavy weight around for nothing was not appealing!

The weather did not show much sign of improving by mid-week but, luckily we had the local Wi Fi hot spot was available on the mooring so we could keep in touch with the outside world and on Thursday we managed at last to hoist the big jenny. Other problems continued to surface, heads not working, a new leak from a window and more importantly the last can of Hinano …the rather delicious local beer …was drunk so definitely time to move on. Baringo cocktails were on the verge of extinction!

We moved speedily to Uturoa the main town on the island with shops mainly run by Chinese who have significantly changed the opening hours on the island! Just as we were preparing to shop a Canadian Richard walked by on the pontoon and greeted us giving us a card stating he was a marine electrician. John casually asked him if he could mend our electric winch switch expecting nothing but he jumped at it saying he had fixed many before. He started work immediately and indeed did fix the switch after a couple of hours work. Encouraged we asked him about the wind generator and again this was to be no problem to fix. It was late afternoon so he arranged to return the next morning and tackle it .We were then committed to stay alongside the town quay but the stay was enhanced by finding some excellent live music in the local café. Next day Richard returned and after several set back and a few hours with John as electrical apprentice we had a working wind generator …full marks for persistence. We again enjoyed the music that evening in the company of two lovely ladies in their flower headdresses.

We left the next morning happy with the unexpected improvements to the boat and sailed down the west coast as far as it is navigable inside the lagoon and found some government buoys which we had heard had been laid earlier this year so could be trusted. Another beautiful bay with the oldest protestant church on the island in view, curiously built on the site of an ancient Marae (traditional Polynesian religious site).

Oldest protestant Church

Oldest protestant Church

Marae wall behind the church- a bit inconsiderate of Church builders!

Marae wall behind the church- a bit inconsiderate of Church builders!

We stayed for two days continuing our tasks! I sewed the mainsail luff that had missed the sail repairers not so beady eye and just as we thought the end was in sight we then discovered a leak in the dinghy. Very disappointing after Simon and John’s hard work last year and John’s careful repair with new glue the previous week; so the jobs keep coming !

Julia repairing mainsail.

Julia repairing mainsail.

We repaired it again and left for Haamene bay on the east coast of Tahaa the other island in the lagoon north of Raiatea. It is 2 miles long and although facing the prevailing easterly winds is relatively sheltered and joy of joys more government buoys to pick up! In addition there was a nice restaurant, two supermarkets and much to our surprise the best internet yet in Polynesia in the restaurant. With so much on hand we stayed for week watching many other boat come and go. We hired a scooter for a day and travelled the island and hiked over the middle to the northern town of Patio the capital of Tahaa . We debated our next move and the chances of making it to the Tuamotos looking at the weather patterns and the charts. The weather gradually improved while we were there and the Polynesia we had come back to see returned.

View of haamene bay from walk over the hills.

View of haamene bay from walk over the hills.

haamene bay showing reef outside.

haamene bay showing reef outside.

our favourite French restaurant in Haamene bay.

our favourite French restaurant in Haamene bay.

Cross island hike (thanks Simon and Jo for great useful waterproof bag seen here!)

Cross island hike (thanks Simon and Jo for great useful waterproof bag seen here!)

jo dassin beach only reached on foot.

jo dassin beach only reached on foot.

Beautiful local flowers

Beautiful local flowers

We finally left the bay and moved further round the east coast of the island and anchored in Hurepiti bay. Simon and Jo will remember this as we hit (just touched with the rudder) a reef here last year! So far this year we have not. Our current plan is to try for the Tuamotos this weekend 25th July but chicken out in Huahine if the going gets too tough or the dinghy starts to leak again!

Bora bora island in the distance

Bora bora island in the distance

sun setting behind Bora bora

sun setting behind Bora bora

at last sailing again!

at last sailing again!

 

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Voyages on Baringo June 18th 2015

“Flowers-r-us” and we are back in Polynesia again! After 20 hours semi –comatose at 35.000’ we arrived in Papeete to a traditional Tahitian welcome of garlands of perfumed flowers and the stirring rhythmical beat of drums. The next day we flew to Raiatea and had the first glimpse of Baringo on the hard looking as if she had missed us. We were staying in the wonderful Raiatea Lodge nearby and were greeted with a flower filled room and a delightful dinner, not only tasty but a creative work of art .We enjoyed many more during our stay there.

Flowers ++ in Raiatea Lodge:

flowers bed flowers loo flowers2 flowers3

Flowers in Raiatea Lodge

Flowers in Raiatea Lodge

Raiatea Lodge haute cuisine

Raiatea Lodge haute cuisine

Raiatea Lodge hotel: highly recommended

Raiatea Lodge hotel: highly recommended

Lodge pool

Lodge pool

on yer bike!

on yer bike!

We were able to cycle to the boat yard every day so the work started straight the next day.On arrival we found the bilge was full of water which we presumed was rainwater as the companionway hatch drain had blocked and overflowed. We pumped the bilge dry and at least it was cleaner than it had been! There was little we could do over the weekend but on Monday the sails were taken away for repair and the dank mouldy smell in the boat gradually faded once the windows were all opened . We had rented a dehumidifier during our absence but it was not running when we first arrived so not sure how much use it had been used, but there was no mould and nothing had rotted so maybe it was worth it. The routine for the next few days was cycling to the boat in the morning, spending the day organising and doing the multitude of little jobs ,returning to the hotel in the evening for a refreshing swim followed by a wonderful supper on the hotel terrace .This was a perfect antidote to the day’s work in a hot ,dirty ,mosquito ridden ,noisy boat yard with minimum ablution facilities. By Thursday we decided to have a break and we hired a car to drive around Raiatea. We spent the morning looking for a new gas regulator as ours had corroded during our absence. We did not succeed but after seeing another model in one of the shops we realised we had a suitable one in our own collection which we had acquired in the various countries we had visited since leaving Hong Kong! We finally started the journey and found the island very dramatic with high central mountains , rivers and waterfalls and a beautiful coastline .It is, rather unfairly , not the most lauded   Society Island   probably because there are no long sandy beaches but this means fewer visitors leaving it more deserted for the discerning traveller .

Raiatea island shore

Raiatea island shore

Peak

Peak

Back to work again with the repaired sails returned, sadly not all repairs completed but an improvement. We put the sail bag up followed by the mainsail after we had renewed all the lazy jacks .Gradually Baringo was returning to her former beauty . We attached the anchor chain and were ready to go ……but oh dear an unforeseen public holiday delayed us by another day! We were set to go the next day but on Polynesian time it happened the following day. This did allow John a day to replace all the Raymarine instruments. The screens had gone black over the last season so were unreadable. We had managed to get replacements in Hong Kong so after John’s electrical handiwork we can now see the depth, speed etc which is quite an advantage!

 

 

Baringo on the hard nestling in the palm trees

Baringo on the hard nestling in the palm trees

on the way to the launch

on the way to the launch

into the water- nerve wracking!

into the water- nerve wracking!

1st July and we were afloat at 13.00 ! The yard is quite small so two boats had to be moved to allow us out in the crane and we were lowered gracefully without incident and no leaks (yet ). We had noticed a small problem of persistent fresh water in the bilge since we pumped out the large amount we had found on arrival …..but from where ? We left the yard for a nearby mooring to finish the remaining jobs and get the foresails up. John’s closer inspection then revealed a leak from the hot water tank maybe it had been there for a while and we had explained the presence of the fresh water as coming from the fridge but it certainly explained the large amount of water when we first arrived ..the contents of the hot water tank. Luckily we had left the main water tanks empty otherwise there would have been more. How to mend it? This was for the next day.

The wind is lightest in the early morning so we were up at 6.00am to hoist the foresails. We hoisted the first time but forgot the battens so had to drop the sail, up again and the furling line was the wrong way so drop again and corrected. Up again ….no… we now had a halyard wrap so it was up the mast for John this time to unwrap it! Finally for the third time we hoisted the sail just before the wind picked up so no time to hoist the second foresail! The morning had not gone quite as we expected!! Jet lag?

The yard were able to help with the water tank which they removed and mended by welding it .The weekend arrived and everything closed, the weather deteriorated so we were storm bound on the mooring swinging wildly with heavy rain and winds up to 37 kts but protected by the reef the sea stays relatively flat. Many boats arrived near us over the course of the weekend seeking shelter from the bad weather which was not what we expected at this time of the year.

 

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The Society Island Cruise 26.9.2014 -28.10.2014

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.

Moorea Cook's Bay anchorage

Moorea Cook’s Bay anchorage viewed from Belvedere lookout

island tour Moorea

island tour Moorea

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!

mountains of Moorea

mountains of Moorea

lagoon hotel Moorea

lagoon hotel Moorea

 

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.

coral reef and lagoon Huahine

coral reef and lagoon Huahine

Pearl Farm Huahine: John waiting for the ladies to finish!

Pearl Farm Huahine: John waiting for the ladies to finish!

Marae Huahine

Marae Huahine

Huahine; interesting rock shape!

Huahine; interesting rock shape!

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.

Avea beach Huahine

Avea beach Huahine

Clear lagoon water Avea bay, Huahine

Clear lagoon water Avea bay, Huahine

Avea beach anchorage, viewed from hotel.

Avea beach anchorage, viewed from hotel.

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!

sunset over Raiatea

sunset over Raiatea

Rocna well buried-seen from the foredeck!

Bora Bora lagoon: Rocna anchor well buried-seen from the foredeck! Amazing clarity.

Engineering department trying to fix a leak in the dinghy.

Engineering department trying to fix a leak in the dinghy.

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.

Carenage at Raiatea- Baringo's winter home

Carenage at Raiatea- Baringo’s winter home

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!

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Tuamotos to Bora Bora and Tahiti – The Gibson’s last sail 16.9.2014 -249.2014

The passage on the journey from Tuamotos to Bora bora was quite rough with a big swell once we lost the protection of the atolls we passed on the leeward side. The wind lasted until early in the morning of our landfall in Bora Bora and gradually the swell reduced as well. The passes in the Society islands are much easier thankfully, no tidal gate or standing waves or strong currents and they are very well buoyed. Calm reigned once again inside the lagoon and we picked up a mooring buoy in front of Bora Bora yacht club. Sadly no reciprocal arrangements with RHKYC but a very pleasant first stop nevertheless.

approaching Bora Bora

approaching Bora Bora

The water was the predicted brilliant turquoise and the shapely backdrop of the mountains was no disappointment. We dined in the yacht club over the water the first night and then the iconic Bora Bora restaurant Bloody Mary’s with sandy floors and excellent seafood.

Time was pressing on for our crew change in Tahiti so we only had one more night at anchor behind one of the islands in the Bora Bora lagoon and once again we were rewarded with wonderful colours but the coral was disappointingly bleached.

Bora Bora Lagoon

Bora Bora Lagoon

coral island (motu) Bora

coral island (motu) Bora

We departed the following morning and did a sail through between Raiatea and Tahaa towards Tahiti passing Moorea in the morning of the next day. We had to motor sail as the wind did not allow us to make course and we had a deadline to meet. We moored stern to in Papeete which seemed very noisy and busy after our previous resting places.

Papeete, Tahiti,  approach

Papeete, Tahiti, approach

celebratory lunch after arrival in papeete- the end of  our journey from Ecuador to Tahiti

celebratory lunch after arrival in papeete- the end of our journey from Ecuador to Tahiti

Our next crew Simon and Jo Davies had arrived from Easter Island so it was a grand Hong Kong reunion, but it was indeed a sad day to see Malcom and Glynis leave Baringo after all our magical shared experiences during the voyage. We had some very enjoyable lengthy and amusing lunches and dinners catching up on travel and family news.

As we have learnt to expect a problem came our way when we were least expecting it and we had one incident when we discovered our anchor was stuck on the bottom of the harbour! Although it was stern-to mooring we had not been sure if the mooring lines were present and with the usual strong cross wind which always seems to blow when manoeuvring to anchor stern to we had dropped the anchor to secure the bow. The next event was the almost immediate departure of the boat next to us who had also dropped their anchor and not surprisingly our chain was over theirs. They went to and fro in front of us moving our chain and eventually they were clear and departed but our chain had become very tight …problems ahead were predicted and indeed became reality when we tried to move later the next evening. After many tries to free the chain it proved impossible so we had no choice but to drop it leaving 2 fenders marking the spot and we retreated back to the pontoon. The next day we found a diver from Topdive who agreed to come that evening to try and retrieve the anchor and chain which he did very efficiently using a parachute float. It was with much delight and relief that we put our trusty Rocna back in its place with chain attached.It has been a reliable and solid piece of equipment which we would not be without having changed from a CQR two years ago .

So the day of the grand farewell arrived and Malcolm and Glynis left for New Zealand and we left with Simon and Jo for Moorea and our Society island cruise.

 

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The Tuamotos A sail of four atolls 28th August –16th September 2014

We left the Marquesas on the evening of 28th August and the first night gave us a very confused sea with wind opposite swell which caused a curious and rather unpleasant twisting motion in the boat . Luckily this did not last for more than the first 24 hours but in exchange the wind died so we sailed very slowly but eventually had to motor . We had some rain and cloudy skies but the cocktails continued each evening with the sunsets.

The Tuamotos are a series of atolls very little land but a lot of water and what land there is flat coral and sand with coconut palms growing .Because they are so low lying navigating between the atolls can be hazardous but modern technology of GPS ,chart plotters and radar has significantly reduced the risk so making our journey possible .To enter the atolls we needed to navigate the passes which are natural breaks in the coral reef usually one sometimes two but they are narrow and because a large volume of water flows in and out with the tides significant current and eddies can develop so correct timing for entry and exit with the appropriate tidal flow is essential .

  • Atoll Kauehi   2.9.2014 – 5.9.2014

We timed our approach with the start of the incoming tide hoping it would not be too strong and just float us gently inside the atoll.The water looked fairly smooth initially so we went in and were suddenly taken by the tide reaching a speed of 8kts but otherwise a smooth ride .Once inside all was calm and flat as the reef shelters the lagoon from the waves making a wonderfully calm anchorage .It was about an hour motoring across the atoll to the small village of Tearavero where we anchored near brilliant turquoise water ,the colours were truly amazing . We explored the village meeting most of the locals and we found bread and a few other provisions . We hired bicycles the next day the perfect way to explore the flat atoll coral rim which had a track along it sometimes concrete but sometimes rough. We had a picnic on the beach ,swam and snorkelled in a deserted paradise .We were the only yacht here ! The 4th september was Malcom’s birthday so after a birthday breakfast we visited a pearl farm and had lunch with the owner surprisingly chicken cooked in imported crème fraiche but we were surrounded by 9 pretty puppies ! Apparently the grafting of the oysters to produce the pearl is done by Chinese who were on holiday back home …we decided this was a much pleasanter and healthier working environment than a factory floor on the mainland ! We swam and snorkelled and then rode back in the truck and visited the owners house to view pearls but all the best had already left for China so only low grade ones were left . We had excellent birthday celebrations with champagne and birthday cake and departed the next morning at 03.45 to catch the outflowing tide in the pass which gave us 10kts over the ground into some huge waves with a few loud slams .It is always worse going out as the water meets the wall of sea but we were soon on our way to the next atoll .

Kuaehi pass

Kuaehi pass

Kuaehi church and village

Kuaehi church and village

malcolm's birthday cake

malcolm’s birthday cake

  • Atoll Fakarava 5.9.2014 – 9.92014

Malcom caught a huge dorado soon after we left the pass so it was sashimi for lunch and fish for supper all very tasty . We entered the pass again carried in at around 10 kts with some turbulence but no major problem but there is no doubt these entries and exits are to be handled carefully .It was another hour across the atoll to the village of Rotoava and another beautiful anchorage with brilliant blue water and palm fringed beaches . Again we cycled as far as we could with the pounding breakers on one side and the flat blue lagoon on the other . We found a welcoming French family running a yacht services with laundry , internet facilities ,bicycle hire and excellent coffee ..what more could a yachtie ask for ? Again we cycled as far as we could with the pounding breakers on one side and the flat blue lagoon on the other . We swam and snorkelled and had an excellent dinner in the local pension the price of which included a fresh water shower ! The next day was surprisingly windy no shelter here from the wind only the swell so we stayed on board . We did some provisioning before the next journey the shops are much better stocked than we had been led to expect which was a nice surprise .

at anchor Fakarava

at anchor Fakarava

lunchtime restaurant Fakarava

lunchtime restaurant Fakarava

 

  • Atoll Toau 9.9.2014 -11.9.2014

We had an easy sail here until the final 2 hours when we had to motor due east into a strong headwind ,but we were well rewarded as the bay was spectacular . We did not have to enter the atoll through a pass as there is a natural bay in the reef, Anse Amyotwhich provides excellent shelter .There is a family residence here with a very friendly couple Gaston and Valentine who have thoughtfully laid moorings for visiting yachts of which there are about 200 each year .Again the colours were amazing and the snorkelling was a wonderland of shape and colour . Gaston and Valentine caught a huge number of fish in their traps while we were there because the cargo ship was due to arrive and take it to the dining tables in Tahiti .There was great excitement as the catch was unloaded as several sharks came to watch and eat the discarded fish much to the consternation of Valentine’s dogs who were barking fiercely when they approached too close . We left with 4 large lobsters for lunch !

anse amyot with leading beacons

anse amyot with leading beacons

catch at anse amyot

catch at anse amyot

shark scaring dog!

shark scaring dog!

dogs barking at sharks

dogs barking at sharks

 

  • Atoll Rangiroa  12.9.2014 – 16.9.20

This is the largest atoll in the group and the island of Tahiti would easily fit inside it.

We had a pleasant overnight sail here arriving two hours too early so had to wait for the slack water to enter the atoll through the Tiputa pass .It looked rather fierce as we approached but by the tide tables it was meant to be the start of the incoming tide and therefore the quietest so we entered expecting our speed to increase. Suddenly the opposite happened and our speed fell to 0.5 kt so we were clearly not on the inflowing tide ! It is at these moments we are thankful for the turbo powered engine so at high revs we stayed almost stationary for about 15 minutes inching our way into the lagoon . At last the calm water was under us and we were inside in peace and quiet . There were only a few yachts here and the anchorage was close to the pass in front of a rather luxurious resort . We hired bikes the easiest mode of atoll transport and we saw the extraordinary waters raging in the pass from the comfort of the land . We dined at the very French Relais Josephine overlooking the pass in which dolphins played and sharks could be easily seen in the clear water just under the verandah .The snorkelling was wonderful on a coral reef close by marked by the leading light into the pass with buoys to attach the dinghy all very easy! So the days here passed easily and pleasantly in the sometimes glassy calm of the lagoon. We were delighted to have to wait an extra day for the wind to arrive before we left for Bora Bora . This time we asked the local dive operator about the best time to leave to get a gentle outgoing tide which was 2 hours after the scheduled one! We had a calm exit the speed only rising to 8 kts and no slamming and we went out into the sunset into a huge flock of whirling black birds and were accompanied by a very large dolphin who played under the bow for about 20 minutes glancing up at us to check we were watching him ! A truly exotic departure party!

dinner at relais josephine

dinner at relais josephine

birds fishing off rangiroa pass

thousands of birds fishing off rangiroa pass

 

 

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