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Date: 27 Apr 2015 03:03:34
Title: Sunday, 26th April, 2015

Position: 16.44S 151.29W
Apooiti Marina, Raiatea

Run from Tahiti: 120 miles

Since our arrival in Tahiti on 9.4.15, we spent most of our time arranging for and effecting repair jobs including maintenance work in the boat yard. Great was our surprise to find upon haul-out the hull almost clean of the luscious growth that we saw developing mid Pacific when I had to go over the side to find out why the propeller was not doing its job properly (felt as though we had a fishing net wrapped round it). It would appear that the fauna in French Polynesia took a fancy to the upside down garden and crustaceans under the boat as Luna Quest’s bottom appeared almost clean!

Getting to the boat yard had been a major challenge as it can be accessed only by going through a pass in the reef that surrounds Tahiti (most of the islands in the Pacific have surrounding reefs that afford some quieter waters between the surrounding reef and the land) some 10 miles from where we were in the Taina Marina, accessed again through another pass. So, it meant leaving the marina and the surrounding reef through one pass and out to sea to gain access to the other pass from seaward. We had left early in the morning to be at the boat yard at 11am and all went well until we were through the pass and out to sea when sudden near gale force winds (32 knots) forced us to abandon engine power and tack out to sea under the smallest sails possible (which provide far more power than an engine). The seas had become steep and nasty and tacking became problematical. A little engine power, however, helped us with the tacking. At the height of the gale, one of the genoa sheets became entangled in the propeller, which cut clean through it with the aid of a rope-cutting device that I had fitted at home many years ago and which had not as yet had an opportunity to cut its teeth on anything. With half a sheet left, we nevertheless managed to reach the pass, where without any sail up or engine on, the boat was being blown towards the yard at 5 knots through the quieter waters inside the reef.

While the boat was in the yard, we took the opportunity one day to take a tour of the island with some of our friends. In two 4x4 Mazdas we travelled inland through thick rain forest and impassable tracks witnessing dozens of waterfalls, steep cliffs and deep valleys all clad in dense verdant growth.

Raiatea is the centre of French Polynesian yacht racing and while the races are taking place over the next 10 days or so (Tahiti Pearl Regatta), Luna Quest will remain in Apooiti Marina. Julia has applied for a place on a press boat, while I shall help crew a friend’s boat that is taking part.

The next blog will be on Monday 11th, when we shall be under way to Suwarrow in the Cook islands.

Eric



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