Raivavae, the Austral Islands 23:52.00S 147:41.00W
On Saturday 18th May we left our 'private bay' off the island of Taravai Gambier Islands) and set sail for our next French Polynesian archipelago of the Australes.
A passage of 700 miles which took us a slow 7 days, with wind variations and plenty of squalls. We arrived at Raivavae the following Saturday in our oilies, the skies overcast and in the rain, reminiscent of UK sailing. The narrow passage through the outer coral reefs was clearly marked by a good leading line which was a relief, as chartered depths gave us little margin for error.
We stayed only a few days anchored off Rairua village. The weather remained windy, wet and overcast – and we had to get the duvet out! The few boats in the anchorage had mostly come from New Zealand heading north/ east.
Ashore the population was sparse, fewer than a thousand, their homes scattered along the water's edge, round the fringes of the mountains. The people were friendly and helpful to their few tourists, giving us papaya, bananas and delicious grapefruit.
At the Mairie (town hall) we were given tokens for the internet. Slow, but usable – and free!
The bread van toured the island and was at at 7 a.m - Phil was there! Phil thought the best thing was the chip sandwiches from the 'Eco-Snak' takeaway (!)
This island is 'arguably one of the prettiest in the Pacific' according to one pilot book but sadly we didn't agree and were happy to weigh anchor and head for Tahiti and the tropics as soon as there was a break in the weather.