Baie Faaroa, Raiatea
Thu 21 Aug 2014 22:18
Entering Baie Faaroa.
Heading South we set off for Faaroa Bay, which cuts deep into the East side of Raiatea. We had heard that the river at the head of the bay was navigable by dinghy for some way so had decided to explore. Our poor outboard was running again, but still struggling - it had not enjoyed it's hours submerged in sea water and being turned in the surf, but it was improving each time we used it and we figured it was reliable enough to get us up the river.
The head of the bay.
Even without the prospect of a river trip we were glad that we'd come to see the valley - the scenery was wonderfully majestic and the village consisted of a collection of small holdings, the gardens of which were vibrant with colour. Also, we were lucky enough to be on the road when the mobile shop arrived, so we were able to get some bread, biscuits and some strange rice filled spring roll type things!
The river started off amongst the farm land but soon narrowed and slowed. Navigation was fun. I carried a boat hook to use for soundings and sat up on the bow to look for a passage " 6 inches in hand, water to port!" I'd call as we snaked from one side to the other of the river, following the deeper water through the meanders. A couple of submerged tree trunks across the whole width made things interesting and finally, after about 3 miles, we reached a shallow patch that we could see no way around and had to admit defeat. On the way back we turned off our 9.8 Hp engine and swapped it for the peace of a 1 Bp (Boy power) paddle as Jon sat on the bow and quietly paddled us back.
"Secret Anchorage" at the mouth of Faaroa Bay.
We moved on that afternoon to an anchorage(thanks to our friends on Scotia for the tip) tucked in behind a motu at the mouth of the bay. It's deep and there's only room for one boat to swing between the reefs but was very beautiful and perfect for a welcome cooling swim. Jon found a patch of sand under a palm tree and lay with his body in the cool water and his head on the sand, looking up at the blue sky through the green of the palm trees. He'd realised he'd been weeks in the South Pacific and not laid in the sun on a beach yet. He'd walked on beaches, hung out with friends on them, played volley ball, made fires, had barbecues, watched crabs, and launched dinghies but not just laid there!
Jon's beach for lying on...