Astra Blog: Moorea 05.08.08 - 13 .08.08
Astra Blog: Moorea 05.08.08 – 13 .08.08
All tendered ashore to reconnoitre in the morning. There being no real centre to the settlement along Cook’s Bay, we wandered a mile or two up the east side of the bay before making an obligatory stop on sighting a pearl shop. It emerged that the pearl shop owner was a mine of information which he disseminated willingly. An hour later, having learnt as much about Moorea as we had surmised from hours of reading, and once Sally had got her shopping ‘fix’ we went for a drink at one of the luxury hotels dotted along the shore.
While Jeremy, Sally, Oli and Charlie stayed for lunch, Ash and George returned to Astra to catch up on some jobs neglected over a hectic weekend. However the job list lengthened rather than shortened when Ash went to return ashore; the throttle cable on the tender outboard snapped. Being an innovative fellow, he was able to improvise with a bit of spectra for the time being. It was also reflected that requiring the know-how to drive the tender using a piece of string might prove to be an additional ‘security feature’, tender theft not being uncommon.
In the evening we popped ashore to watch another (and Oli’s first) performance of Polynesian dancing. Now aficionados of Polynesian dancing, we discussed the pros and cons of Marquesan style (aggressive, haka-like movements for the men, furious shaking of the hips and posterior by the women) versus the Tahitian style (slightly camp prancing and knee-knocking for the men, hip wiggling and arm waving for the women) over dinner aboard Astra.
A sign of the times, there were more yachts at anchor at the entrance to Cook’s Bay than in the traditional anchorage in the heart of the bay. The reason for this is that at the bay’s entrance one can pick up wireless internet from a nearby WiFi hotspot. Early morning we went to join the masses in order that we could benefit from the said service.
Dolphins were seen playing around the boat before heading back out to the pass. We headed out in the tender to meet them but unfortunately they were not terribly interested in playing with us and scarpered every time we got close.
At 1430 we left Cook’s
Bay to motor round to the other significant bay on the island,
Despite having only three miles to cover we did not anchor until 1630 on account of spending a good chunk of the afternoon floating around waiting for our whale to reappear. Being in shallow water, the boys went snorkelling in order to check that we had sufficient swinging room without running into any coral heads.
All were early to bed in unknowing anticipation of an exhausting weekend ahead.
Early doors, Ash, Charlie and Oli cleaned the hull, George being exempted on account of his “sick note.” With the hull sparkling they rewarded themselves by setting off in the tender with Sally to find the famous Opunohu Canyons and Rose Garden dive sights, which were located easily just outside the reef and provided excellent diving.
Clearly missing Astra already,
That evening we headed to the place to be on a Friday night in Moorea, “Maria @ Tapas.” Getting there and back was to present a minor problem as it was about 5 miles by road. George formed an advance party as he wished to stop on Ogopogo (in the next bay) to get his stitches removed by Peg, a former nurse. The “auto-stop”, or hitch-hiking, is a very effective way of getting around in this part of the world and within an hour he had got round to Ogopogo, had his stitches whipped out, and was being driven to Maria @ Tapas by Cedric, a dog-trainer from Normandy who had found work in Moorea!
In the meantime Oli, Charlie and Ash were also benefiting from the locals’ generous willingness to share their vehicles. Having hitched half the way, the party of three decided that they would have to split when they were offered a lift on the back of a moped, there not being room for all three.
Oli went on ahead on the back of the moped and managed to order some drinks before the end of Happy Hour and was soon joined by the other three. On the advice of some of the locals, George, Charlie and Oli made the 5 mile trip to the golf club bar (auto-stop once more, Oli on his moped once again!) They went, were refused entry on the basis of their attire, and returned to Maria @ Tapas before Ash had so much as realised that they were gone!
Maria @ Tapas, however, had no dress-code so they spent the remainder of the evening before hitching their way home with various degrees of success – Ash last back on this occasion and a little soggy from a walk in the rain!
Wishing to make the most of the diving opportunities, Sally and Oli went off to buy another dive tank in order that we would have three full sets of equipment. Once Ash had finished filling the tanks, Ash, Oli, Charlie and George set off in the tender to the site of the famous Opunohu Canyons, George doing safety boat duty. He was somewhat taken aback by the colour of Oli’s language when he surfaced and attempted to get into the tender still in full dive gear. The gist of what he was saying was “he is very large and I would like to get out of the water now.” This was confirmed a few moments later when Charlie and Ash also surfaced looking rather wide-eyed, making similar statements, and also attempting to scramble into the tender at a rate of knots. Apparently they had encountered “Jojo”, an enormous great barracuda (later identified by a dive master, he has been known to nibble fingers before!) Fortunately, all emerged unscathed on this occasion, if a little shaken.
Not to be deterred by a big fish, Ash and Oli returned in the afternoon with Sally (albeit to a slightly different dive site) and returned, pleased not to have seen Jojo again, just as the sun was setting.
Preceeded by the normal
auto-stop capers, Oli, Ash and George headed for a hotel in Cook’s Bay for a few
drinks. Oli then headed off to join
Sally, Jeremy, and Charlie in Alfredo’s for Charlie’s farewell dinner. After
dinner, Oli rejoined Ash, George and members of
With the generator
leaking, Jeremy called in
As the morning progressed the troops began to trickle back after their night out. Ash slept on the beach and radioed in at 8am, Oli appeared a bit later at 0930 in a fire engine and George did not re-appear at all!
In the afternoon,
George breached radio silence and gave his position - just round the corner in
Cook’s Bay. Things started to look up as Andy, the skipper and engineer on Foftein discovered that he had a spare
O-ring to replace our damaged one, so we motored back from Opunohu Bay to Cook’s
Bay to collect George and, more importantly, the O-ring. The latter did the job
so we stayed anchored in Cook’s Bay for a final roast lamb before taking Charlie
to the airport to fly back to the
The O- ring was not the
last of our troubles. A resistor on the water-maker burnt out so at 1030 we left
Cook’s Bay and returned to Pape’ete Harbour,
The watermaker agent
arrived promptly at 1400 to check the parts required. With some jobs out of the way, all went
to Les Trois Brasseurs, an excellent micro-brewery for drinks and a bite to eat.
Following that, Sally and Jeremy returned to Astra and the others moved onto another
bar to make the most of having an unexpected night out in
arrangements with the water-maker agent and at 1300 we left Pape’ete and set a
course for Huahine. We had light
winds till we were out of the lee of