17:34.585S 149:37.203W Pape'ete Pit stop

Hamble Warrior
Jamie Hickman
Sun 10 Dec 2023 22:09

24th October 2023

We lifted our anchor from Cook's Bay in Mo'orea shortly after 9am and motored out, waving goodbye to all our favourite places.

We had a short but as it turned out rather frustrating trip across the water to Pape'ete. Despite being just a few miles (in a straight line) the wind wasn't as favourable as we had hoped and instead of arriving in time for lunch we had several frustrating hours tacking back and forth and finally dropped anchor in our old spot off the Intercontinental Hotel at quarter past three. As we entered the pass through the reef we put on our engine and motored the last few miles inside the reef past Marina Taina and to the anchorage off the hotel. As we came through the pass a young man in a Va'a (the fast outrigger canoes favoured here) slipped in behind our boat and finding the water in our wake flat and ideal for fast paddling he stayed with us for the next few miles rocketing along a few feet from our stern until we stopped in the anchorage and waved him goodbye as he shot out from behind us and weaved his way between the fancy over water bungalows of the Intercontinental resort and off into the distance!

Despite only having had a week or so here previously, something about the familiarity of returning to this spot felt like coming home. Maybe it was the fond memories we had of the time we spent here with Jamie's parents and the convenience of having the marina facilities; dinghy dock, water and rubbish & recycling bins, the large supermarkets and the regular buses into the city, all of which we took advantage of over the coming week.

It was to be another short stop here but we had a very productive week preparing for our onward travels. The main priority whilst we were here was to get Meep to the vets for his annual vaccination boosters and we had found a very good vet just a short walk from where we could land the kayak at the public park near where we were anchored. So Meep had his annual trip ashore in his little carry case; we landed the kayak on the small beach at the park and Meep drew his usual adoring crowd. The vet was very helpful and efficient, although Meep made more of a fuss than usual about the indignity of being dragged from his carry case and stuck with a needle; which makes me think he still remembers all too well his last traumatic trip to the vets in Martinique when he was put under sedation to have his bloods taken (or what Meep calls "the gasing incident") anyway it was soon all done and Meep was back on-board with treats for being a brave boy.

We took a bus ride into Pape'ete to get a few last bits from hardware stores and chandleries; we finally managed to get the water filters we had wanted to filter our rainwater into our drinking tanks which was a big success.

We also stocked up on a few provisions from the big Carrefour. We were very aware we had a lot of tins and dry stores still onboard but there were a few things that would be much more expensive back in the small islands so we stocked up on a few of these items whilst we still had access to a big supermarket. This would be the last big supermarket we would expect to see for the next 5 or 6 months.

At the weekend we decided to try a different bar to the usual marina bar as their weekend happy hour was cocktails only. We walked down to the restaurant and bar at the far end of the marina and discovered they had a generous happy hour deal on beer and wine; friendly staff who made sure everyone had a full round on their table when happy hour finished, and a stunning view across the water to Mo'orea!

This became our favourite spot for the next few nights and we would row home full of wine and song; literally!

One such night we were rowing home and a group of fellow cruisers on a large very purposeful looking sailing boat beckoned us over. We had admired their boat "Little Cloud" in the marina whilst they had been preparing her for her onward passage. They introduced themselves and we had a short but lovely chat with them. They were especially taken with our rowing dinghy and loved that we rowed the not inconsiderable distance between the anchorage and marina back and forth each day.

The following night they joined us at happy hour and we got to learn more about them and their plans. "Little Cloud" and her crew were heading right back across the South Pacific to Patagonia! What an amazing trip! We learned that half of the crew where half of a French band called "Deluxe" (or "Deluxe Moustache") who were clearly well known to some of our fellow diners as a few people came over to say hi to them whilst we were talking. "Liliboy" and her husband Sacha had taken some time away from the band to join her sister who was skippering Little Cloud with her boyfriend on this adventure of a lifetime! We had a lovely evening talking about all of our onward plans and where we had come from; exchanging stories of our Pacific Passage so far. We drank happy hour dry and were very tipsy by the time we waved goodbye to them. It felt bittersweet to make such lovely friends just as we were all setting off in different directions back out into the big blue ocean; but that is often the way.

We left shortly after them to go and find our dinghy and as we stopped off to pay up our bill we were told that it had been taken care of by our friends. We were very grateful for their incredible generosity but felt rather bad that we had drunk quite so much wine! We would have been a little more conservative if we had known they had planned to pay our tab. We stopped by to thank them on our way home and to say one more goodbye and wish them fair winds. I have since been following our friends on Little Cloud and tracking their progress as they approach Patagonia and look forward to seeing how they got on in that amazing part of the world.

It was a fitting end to our time in Tahiti and our time in The Society Islands to have spent it with new friends and the next morning (30th October) we picked up our anchor for the last time from our special little spot under the luxurious bungalows of the Intercontinental hotel and set off north east towards the Tuamotus islands once again.