Thursday 9th August – Tahiti
The 200NM passage to Tahiti
passed without incident although the beam reach in Force 5-6 with an
accompanying uncomfortable cross-swell was probably not the gentlest of
introductions to sailing for the inexperienced. However, by 1430 on Saturday
4th August we’d come in via the Papeete pass through the reefs off
Tahiti and berthed in the Taina Marina, several miles south of the city of
Papeete. This proved to be a good
choice for us. The marina is quiet
and has some very decent facilities.
The alternative, in the docks in the city centre, is just about the
opposite although access to the major chandleries and boatyard facilities is a
great deal easier. Nonetheless,
there is a good bus service from Taina Marina which works well.
The situation regarding immigration/customs formalities was
pretty confusing. Having cleared
into French Polynesia in Hiva Oa we’d been told by the gendarmerie there that we
had nothing more to do before we finally checked out of Bora Bora (or wherever)
when leaving French Polynesia. A
number of other sources of advice suggest very strongly that you need to go
through a full clearing in Tahiti regardless of whether you have already cleared
in to French Polynesia in the Marquesas or
wherever. Since customs and the
Port Captain are located a good way north of the town centre whilst immigration
is based at the airport – well south of it – this does seem a bit of a
palaver. Soundings around the place
seemed to indicate that we could just ignore all that advice. So, we did. With luck we won’t end up in
A trip to customs was required for a rather different
reason – to obtain the necessary bit of paper to permit us to buy fuel at
duty-free prices. Since the price
of duty-free fuel is about XPF101 ($1.01US) per litre and the alternative is to
pay over XPF160 ($1.60US) and we needed around 300 litres that made the effort
worthwhile. We can apparently use
the same authorisation to buy any more fuel we need whilst in French Polynesia.
So, that’s good.
Sunday 5th saw the divers off diving (see diving
blog). On Monday 6th
James and Mira went to Papeete to hire a car, shopped in town and
toured the island. James returned
with a considerably thinner wallet whilst Mira was by then the proud possessor
of a very fine top grade black pearl pendant (That boy has much to learn –
Ed). Carol sussed out the excellent
supermarkets locally whilst Jon disappeared to the chandleries in Papeete and made the first
of two visits to the Customs office.
That’s a bus and $25-30US round trip taxi job. Having arrived at Customs he found that
the person who deals with fuel duty exemptions works only on Tuesdays and
Thursdays from 0830 -1130. Obvious
really – he should have known. The
morning of Tuesday 7th saw the divers off to do more diving whilst Jon made a
more fruitful – but still as expensive - visit to the Customs office. After James and Mira had given
Arnamentia’s bottom a good going over, they were keen to go up the mast and
experiment with their various cameras.
James also made some cheeky use of his telephoto lens from the deck.
Fish eye view of mega yachts with Moorea in the
Long Way Down
Does my bum look big in this?
Wednesday 8th saw us all tour the island in the
car, walking a bit, visiting Faarumai waterfalls and Ponte Venus where Captain
Cook took observations on the transit Venus so allowing the distance from the
earth to the moon to be calculated.
More water to shower in at the Faarumai waterfalls than on Arnamentia
Unusual lighthouse at Pointe Venus
We made a quick sortie into Tahiti Iti the smaller “island”
(they are joined by a short isthmus) to big sister, Tahiti Nui. The landscape here is remarkable; you
could easily think you were back in Wales or the West of England! Having chilled out we did a final shop in
Carrefour – you might have thought yourself in Paris – for preparation for departure the next
morning for Moorea, about 20NM distant.
Rural Tahiti with very healthy looking
The view north from Tahiti Iti
On Thursday 9th August we slipped at around
1030 and headed out of the harbour.
A certain amount of discombobulation arose in the narrow channel inside
the reefs because a rather enthusiastic hosing down of the boat just before we
left had resulted in water getting into the compact flash card in the Raymarine
chart plotter and it just would not show us any detailed charts. Um; that’s all a bit of a surprise given
the environment in which chart plotters are supposed to work but there we
are. We have a C-Map back-up on a
normal laptop computer but the charting is not nearly as detailed. After a somewhat anxious interlude
during which we discovered that no replacement flash card was available anywhere
closer than Australia we were mightily relieved
to find that it all worked once it had dried out fully. The very helpful Navionics man in Oz had
meanwhile told us that it was most unlikely that that flash card would ever work
again and was about to despatch a new one to us to pick up in Raiatea or Bora
Bora at a cost of 250 Oz dollars plus P&P. Whew!