Blog 44. Moorea and Huahine. 16.43.25S. 151.02.45W

David Batten
Mon 9 May 2016 18:06
Wednesday, 4 May. Went ashore in good weather and good time in walking gear with cameras and binoculars. We also took a couple of Jane's shirts, to give to the man and his wife in return for the pineapples, which we think went down well. He gave us more rambutan and would have given us another large fruit, but we really didn't want to carry it on the walk. Anthony went for the advanced trek with Ben and Sam from Wishanger, while the rest of the crew went for a more moderate hike with Claudine and Brian. What a wonderful place to walk, with well marked trails from the Valley d'Ananas to the Belvédère in the Valley d'Opunohu. We saw pineapple fields, forests, mareas and crossed the rivers several times. There were some lovely birds, friendly locals and an atmosphere of peace and quiet, enjoyed by all. As we got back to the village a pickup truck passed us full of pineapples and we were given six more by the very insistent farmer. Then there was some retail therapy in a small shop where the girls found, to their delight, some wrap around skirts, much the most comfortable things to wear on the boat and a shirt for Brian. Nowhere open for lunch, so back to the boats for a late one and a much needed rest followed by a pleasant afternoon faffing about. NB water and air temperature noticeably a few degrees cooler now.

Thursday 5 May. We left Cook's Bay, followed by Wishanger and motored round the corner to a very small anchorage off the village of Papetoai on the west side of the entrance to Baie d'Opunohu. This is about as close as you can get a boat of our size to the Intercontinental Hotel. We had been told that off the hotel there are sting rays that you can feed. Safely anchored with Wishanger in the small space between the reefs, we set off on the long trip along the marked dinghy channel to the area between the two mutos beyond the hotel, where you find the rays (and the reef sharks, loads of them!). The rays are well worth a visit, particularly when the tour guides arrive as they love the guides and come to the surface when the guides arrive on their jet skies. Each guide seems to have a relationship with two or three particular rays, the rays identifying them, partially by smell and they come up and almost caress the guides. They will allow you to touch them as they swim round the guides and there was quite a squeak from the Ship's Boy as a ray stroked her leg unexpectedly in passing. Their white undersides are soft and silky, while the grey top skin is rough and hard and the females are very much larger than the males and more sociable. We all really enjoyed the experience, although it was a very cold ride back in the dinghy, so much needed hot showers on returning to the boat. Aliena joined us in the afternoon, but we did not have any time with her as we planned to set off for a night's sail to Huahine. After a short walk round the village we left for the 80 plus miles to the north west.

It was a bumpy ride to start with, with not much wind once we left the acceleration zone under the Island and a big swell and confused sea. Once clear of the influence of the Island, the wind returned and we had 15 to 20 knots from ESE to SSE for most of the night, sailing with Koza who overtook us and Carango and Two Fish, who we overtook during Anthony's watch. It was markedly colder than any previous nights' sailing since we started the rally, with long sleeved shirts and fleeces the order of the day, but it did not rain.

Friday, 6 May. We arrived off the south west coast of Huahine in the early hours and with an unpromising and dark dawn, elected to go north and through the Passe Avamoa, which had clearer leading marks than the Passe Avapehi. Blue Summit was at anchor and Steve very kindly helped us pick a mooring near the village of Fare, which required keel up as the moorings all appeared to be in approx 2.8 m of water. He then helped Two Fish and Carango and we were eventually joined by Wishanger, who had left Moorea after supper rather than before. We were rather tired with the exception of Anthony who set off immediately after breakfast to try and climb the nearest hill. The rest of us went ashore to Fare after tidying up and chatting to Kate and Steve. They told us about the early morning street market, hiring bikes and the attractions of Bora Bora. They were leaving shortly to be in Bora Bora in time for Hannah's 21st birthday on Sunday. We did organise bike hire followed by lunch in the yacht club for tomorrow, managed to do some more much needed hull cleaning and stayed awake for happy hour in the yacht club and supper aboard after. Tomorrow is another busy day!

Saturday 7 May, cool and cloudy but not raining. A perfect day for bicycling round Huahine Nui. The crews of Carango, Wishanger, Two Fish and Alcedo, 13 in all, set off for the north. After being led astray by Anthony and ending up at the airport, (Skipper's Wife v cross with him!), Jason and Gail left the party to do their own navigating while the rest of the party headed for the huge body of water and one of the most extensive Maraes in French Polynesia at the northern end of Huahine. Then it was on along the east coast before tackling a steep up and even steeper downhill ride across the south eastern end, followed by a wriggle round the inlets in Baie Maroe and back to Fare for a much needed beer and lunch. The Wishanger boys, Ben and Sam and George from Carango appeared very much later, as did Jason and Gail, after bicycling around Huahine Iti as well. After lunch, no time to rest, straight on to snorkelling in the Aquarium, the coral area between the anchorage and the reef, but we did have a refusal at another Happy Hour. Too tired and it was raining. Wishanger goes Bora Bora tonight or tomorrow, apparently a "must do" place while we head for Tahaa.