Mahea Island, Tahaa

David & Valerie Allen
Sun 20 Jun 2010 00:02
16:38.36 S    151:25.70 W

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The winds again were too light for sailing.  Fortunately it was only a short distance to Tahaa and we were anchored in the early afternoon.  That is, we were anchored the first time by early afternoon.  We did have difficulty finding a sandy spot to set the hook without damaging the omnipresent coral.  After a short nap, we were contemplating snorkelling, despite the very cloudy and ominous looking weather.  We then discovered to our horror that with the shift in the current we were now anchored with less than 15 cm between our keel and the seabed- and the tide was going out!  Needless to say we pulled up the anchor in record time and moved to deeper water!  The anchoring was fine for shallow-draft catamarans, but not for us.  We might have had a better experience had we foregone the dreams of snorkelling and taken a mooring at the Hibiscus Hotel for the night.  Apparently other rally members did that and then visited the turtle nursery next door.  For a sum (rather steep) one can purchase one of the tagged turtles there, name it, then carry it out into the lagoon and release it.  The children on Miss Tippy really enjoyed this.

In the morning we decided to motor around the lagoon and put down the anchor on the other side of the island.  En route we had to pass the Gauguin Tours boat, seen here, anchored off the northern town of Patio.  Bora Bora  can be seen in the background.

Anchorage north of Patio

We were surprised to discover a luxury resort standing in the anchorage we wanted.  We tried an alternate where a large catamaran was happily bobbing at anchor.  Mistake!  We must learn to ignore catamarans.  There was DEFINITELY too little water there and far too much coral.

By this time we were rather discouraged.  We had bypassed Raiatea, south of Tahaa because the only thing of interest there was the enormous Marae Taputapuatea, which is the most sacred one in all of French Polynesia, considered the cradle of its civilization.  Stones from this holy site were sent and distributed to the holiest sites throughout the islands and formed a part of their important marae.  However, we felt a bit maraed-out after yesterday's excursion.  Now we were qusetioning if we really wanted to stay at Tahaa.  Bora Bora was so close at hand and the rest of the "alternate rally" members were over there.  Peer pressure won out and we set our course for Bora Bora.

The passage through Paipai Pass was an exciting one.  Apparently it is not recommended in a southerly wind.  Instead of 5 knots of wind we suddenly had 12 and the large waves crashing into the pass were in direct conflict with a strong current going out of it!  It certainly got the adrenalin flowing.

However, after we were back in deep water, suddenly we could actually sail again for a change.  The seas were VERY high but we enjoyed the trip immensely.  By mid-afternoon we were inside the beautiful lagoon of Bora Bora and were making plans to have a potluck Happy Hour aboard CAMOMOILE the next evening, along with MOONSHINER AND SCOT FREE.

Mooring field at Bora Bora Yacht Club