Graham Shaw
Wed 20 Jul 2011 16:50
Long time no blog. 
Well the dive at Rangiroa was super, dophins came and played with us, loads of sharks all around us and huge puffer fish. It was a bizarre dive as the fish were so large.  The current in the pass was very fast - we were doing about 6 knots through the water and being thrown about in a eddy or two, so it was quite difficult to keep the depth level.  It was the best dive yet and great fun, except my underwater camera broke, hence no pictures of dophins.
Also off the pass there is an aquarium to snorkel in, which was full of very colourful fish, plus more sharks in about 2 ft of water, so we wandered around them (with my crocs on, so I did not loose any toes).
We set off to Tahiti hoping for an overnight passage that turned into two - the wind got very light, to the point where we could not hold the spinnaker.  We then lost a halyard up the mast, so Gray hauled me up to the top, my first time under sail.
On the way from Rangiroa to Tahiti we caught the biggest dorado yet, at nearly 5 ft tall. But we lost it. I know that's what everyone says, but the fishing line broke when we had the fish on the back of the boat, and I had hold of the trace line, and that parted company as well - this tells you how big the fish was to break a steel trace - I was gutted.
We arrived in Tahiti to a beautiful sunrise over the town of Papeete.  The anchorage is quite a way away from the town.  More importantly though, here there is the the biggest supermarket between America and New Zealand, everything anyone could want, of course all at a price.
This is Moorea, an island about 15 miles from our anchorage in Tahiti, and which will be our next stop (the film "The Bounty" was made here - the 1984 Mel Gibson / Anthony Hopkins version). 
We have been extremely busy fixing lots of broken bits on the boat, as you do, the most important of which was to have the shrouds replaced.  I felt like a jack in the box the amount of time I had been up and down the mast - this is not a calm anchorage either, everyone roars past you at full speed, so you have to hold on all the time. I have bruises in places I thought I could not bruise.  Anyway, the rigging was removed and replaced by a professional outfit, I decided I did not want to take half the rig down, when I was up the mast ( wise choice I say).  They were great, and managed to sort it all in one day.
Alex the rigger, up the mast:
Catacaos alongside in the commercial port, ready for new rigging:
Can you spot the missing shroud?
It seems to be the biggest place to catch up with everyone, so it has been hectic every night of the week, with a number children's birthday parties in the day.  Lucas has been having a great time with all the kids, specially the boat Evita, his favourite friend in Oscar, who he wants to play with all day!  As for little Romain, from the boat Charade, Lucas was very confused as Romain had had his hair cut very short and he did not recognise him, and kept asking where he was!  It was the last time we will be catching up with Charade, as they have gone back to France for 6 weeksso we will be gone by the time they return, and then they are spending another season or two in Polynesia. 
Bastille Day, on the 14th of July, was not celebrated in the usual French way - very quiet on the fireworks, but they had lots of canoe racing and they were celebrating the Polynesian Games which ran over two weekends.  This consisted of spear throwing (at a coconut 9.5m in the air and 22 metres away horizontally), the weightlifting event, which involves a large stone which was the weight of two people (or one american), and coconut splitting and de -meating - I was so surprised no-one chopped their foot off with an axe. Of course there was lots of Polynesian dancing as well, and it it was great fun.
  One for the girls!
Big money: the currency here is the Pacific Colonial Franc. Not only are the numbers huge (one franc is equal to about one US cent), but the notes themselves are huge as well - too big to fit in Gray's wallet!  And believe me, ten thousand of the things doesn't go very far here.
Here's a health and safety issue we don't come across too often at home:
Trying to keep up with us?
Arrival early morning in Tahiti. Was it a fisherman or was it a statue?
Papeete market.
Well off to Moorea tomorrow, only a short hop of 15 miles.  More to come later.