I took delivery of my new staysail and very good it looked but being so new the material is stiff and slippery so its going to be difficult to handle for a while.
Before leaving Tahiti I caught a bus to Papeete to pay a visit to Customs to get the paperwork for duty free fuel. Next morning I went to the fuel dock and filled up with diesel before heading out through the reef at Passe Taapuna and setting a course for the north of Moorea. We had a fair wind for once so not to waste it I decided to forgo stopping at Moorea again and headed out for the Iles Sous Le Vent. These comprise the islands of Huahine, Raiatea, Tahaa and Bora Bora.
We were making good progress with a nice beam wind until shortly after sunset when the wind died, progress was then fitful until in the end I started the engine and motored. With the dawn Huahine was in sight in the distance and although I had originally planned to miss this island out, since it was closer, a slight course alteration took me there.
Passing the reef to the west of the island was a sobering sight of a catamaran wrecked high and dry on the reef. I had heard about this whilst still in Tahiti, and had meet theAmerican family briefly when I was in Shelter Bay Panama. They had sailed too close to the reef in the night and paid the price, fortunately they were all airlifted off safely.
A few miles further on we entered the reef by Passe Avapehi and anchored near by the town of Fare. Here in the anchorage was Anne & Richard on Morphious, so it was good to see these friends.
I spent a day with them on a motor car tour of the island, not something I normally do but it was interesting and we saw all the sights.
On then for the 20 mile passage to the twin islands of Raiatea and Tahaa, both within the same encircling lagoon. Had a nice gentle beam wind of about 10 knots for this crossing. Entering by Passe Iriru between two motus we proceeded up to the head of Baie Faaroa to anchor. Here I took the dinghy up the navigable Aoppumau river, a good little trip. Opposite the site of the botanical gardens, closed for refurbishment, a man beckoned us across to the opposite bank and took us on a tour of his plantation, giving us a green coconut to drink, very refreshing and showing us his bananas, taro, guava, squashes, cucumbers,mangos and more. Truly paradise, left with gifts of taro & bananas and some beautiful flowers. The people here are good.
Next day I motored inside the lagoon following the marked channel up to the North end of Raiatea and across to Tahaa where I followed the long Baie Haamene to anchor of the village at it’s head.
It isn’t always sunny here in Polynesia and we have had a day of rain and the cloud has been down so I can barely see across the bay. Went ashore briefly in a period when it was just drizzle to get some bread from the supermarket but returning it rained and rained and getting back to the boat I had to strip off in the cockpit and ring out my shorts and vest before going below. Let us hope for better tomorrow.