Wed 13 Aug 2014 19:59
Entering the pass, Raiatea.
Funny how the sea can scare you silly one day then a few days later charm and amaze you...
We headed across to Raiatea and Tahaa, another pair of islands within one reef and we'd hardly left Huahine before a humpback whale and her calf were breaching alongside us, coming up sideways then falling backwards into the water - an awe inspiring sight. By the time I grabbed a camera they were quite far away and I only managed to get the 'this is where a whale was just leaping out of the water' shots, but maybe next time I'll be able to show you what it looked like.
We'd lost everything that was in the dinghy - apart from our one oar/flag pole, so we needed some replacements and the outboard engine had been submerged in sea water for some hours, having lost it's cover, so it needed some attention. Raiatea had mechanics and, hopefully, spares and replacement bits and pieces. We first went around to the carenage and luckily found an out-board mechanic a couple of days before he went on annual holiday. Phil had done emergency work, clearing the salt water out of the cylinders and oiling it, but it needed expert attention. We then went back around to the town dock and the main town of Uturoa to get a few other bits and pieces, re-provision and, as it happened, pass a few days of poor weather in the company of a number of boats we knew. The supermarket and local fruit and veg market were just next to the town dock. It was good to be able to say "I don't know what we'll have for supper, I'll decide this afternoon" and know I could just pop to a shop as many times as I liked in a day. All this passage planning and making fresh stuff last business is all very well, but it certainly makes you appreciate convenience when you can get it! We could ebven buy ice cream and not have it melt before we got it back to the boat! Outside the fresh produce market a group of people would gather informally most days to make music and sing. It was good to be amongst the islanders simply being themselves:
Check out the chap on the left in an orange T-shirt playing air ukulele:
Alongside the town dock, Uturoa, Raiatea.
Jon and I were tasked on our bikes with an outboard motor cover hunt. The mechanic had advised us that our best chance was asking at the charter boat companies, as they use the same sort of engines as ours. We were successful, finding one that was a different make but that with some bodging could do the job, and also, happened upon a litter of 5 very wet (it had been raining) kittens en route. It's a good job we're headed to New Zealand, where immigration would make it very hard to bring a cat along, otherwise there might well have been a couple of kittens fewer!
Seeking refuge from the wet grass!