After untangling the anchor from all the bombies (small
coral heads to the uninitiated) we set sail for Tahiti and Papeete.
It was a 3 day, 2 night passage and started out quite
well as far as sailing goes. At one point we even managed to get the cruising
chute up for a while. But then we hit the squalls and that made the chute
untenable. At one point we were in winds gusting up to 38 knots and Beaujolais was surfing on following seas at 10.9
The upside was that we managed to collect some rain to
replenish our diminishing water supply.
The trip was uneventful, not even a bite on the fishing
line to report. Oh yes there was a close encounter with a container ship that
had sneaked up behind us and was only a mile away when we spotted it, but apart
from that it was plain sailing.
We reached Papeete about 10.30am. I called to the port
captain to request permission to enter the port and proceed directly to Marina
Tahina via the Faaa (no that is not a spelling mistake, it is pronounced Fa ah
I have to say what happened next was quite exciting (ok
so I am a sad sailor), definitely different and a first for both of
He gave us permission and then told us we had 5 mins to
get across the port to the channel. I didn’t understand why, until Roger (who up
until this point had neglected to mention the airport runway) said it was
probably because of the airport.
From the other side of the port, the channel crosses the
flight path and then once more at the other end.
We gave her full throttle and got across, just as a light
aircraft took off. Then the port captain called us again and told us we had 5
mins to get across the to the other side of the airport.
We were just crossing as an plane flew over our mast,
that was definitely a first!!
Then again the port captain called and told us we had 5
mins to clear the flight path.
We made it, but we were full throttle all the
From there it was a leisurely motor round to the marina,
who incidentally, had screwed up our booking and we had to moor for the
Now, like many of you, I had a perception of Tahiti as the quintessential paradise island. Exotic and
breathtaking with beautiful white sandy beaches stretching as far as the eye
could see. But as far as Papeete is concerned it
couldn’t be farther from the truth!!!!
It was nothing like that. It was also a huge culture
shock after the Tuamotus. There was urban sprawl, traffic, noise and pollution
waiting for us when we stepped ashore.
On the plus side, they had a large Carrefour supermarket
10 mins from the marina.
The first people we saw when we stepped ashore were our
friends Seleme and Tom from Ever After.
The next day, after berthing in the marina, Seleme and I
went into Papeete towncentre, just a 130 cpf
($1.30) bus ride away.
We headed for the market. I had seen enticing photographs
of the market and its range of fruit and veg stalls, not to mention the
handicraft stalls upstairs where the artisans not only sold, but also made their
goods. I was not
We spent the entire day there, fish and
meat were relatively cheap (compared to the Marquesas and Tuamotus) and the
variety of fruit and veg were the best I had seen since Panama.
Then we happened across the Tahiti pearl market. We only intended to take a look see
(this was because Nina had joined us and she didn’t have any
Well suffice to say, I now have a beautiful