Raiatea - 16 43.720S 151 28.645

Mike and Liz Downing
Sun 22 Aug 2010 07:25
Left Fare for Raiatea at 09.00, just in time to get clear of the pass and head out to sea so that I could do my turn as net controller at 09.30, so Liz did the sailing. It's only a small net with normally no more that 6 or so boats underway checking in, and generally they're boats we know. But they are becoming more scattered, with some being several hundred miles apart, so it's HF radio (Tony Hancock style!). We've had a good sailing wind on the port quarter and with just the outer genoa up we've been making 6.5 to 7.5 kts all the way in, for once, quite a flat sea. So it's been a lovely passage, albeit only 25 miles.

Raiatea is the second largest of the Society Islands after Tahiti. It shares a lagoon with the island of Tahaa 5 miles or so to the north. Generally passes tend to be on the leeward side of the islands, but here the main one is on the windward, east side, so you have breakers on the reef either side of a stretch of deep water which forms the pass through the reef. We've now pulled into the Apooiti marina, on the visitors dock - it's just big enough for 2 boats. The marina is used as a base for several charter fleets and currently mostly full of boats, so the charter business doesn't looks so good. Hadn't planned to come in here, but the main town dock of Uturoa was full and we need to be alongside to carry out some repairs - a blocked toilet! It's the first time in 5 years, so can't complain, but it does mean taking off several pipes in confined spaces and relying on the seacocks to keep the water out. So it's nice to have just a foot of water under the keel and be tied alongside, just in case!

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