Tahiti- Moorea,Tahiti-Moorea-Tahiti, ohh the oky koky

Pacific Bliss
Colin Price
Wed 17 Aug 2011 18:47
Tahiti Arrival
"Ye land of paradise and adventure" -  Capt James Cook 
People do not often speak highly of the Tahiti/Papeete part of the Pacific crossing. Mostly because its' a mad rush, difficult  anchorage, and hideously costly.  Because Colin and I don't like listening to the crowd, part of us was determined to enjoy it.  One thing is for sure, seeing the mountains rise from the ocean on the approach, after 3 days at sea,  is dramatic.  It's wonderful seeing such towering volcanic peeks again after such a long time in the flat motos of the Tuamotos.  It had been an easy passage with enough wind to keep us moving most of the time.
First off we arrived in the evening light in Baie Arue just North of Tahiti, off Tahiti Yacht Club, with the express self-imposed time limit of a maximum 24hrs stay.  We were only there to restock for the coming 3 weeks, plus I needed to do some machine washing - all bedding was looking and smelling decidedly ferrel.  So 8 washes later and a van load of groceries (never take a taxi in Tahiti. It costs a small fortune) we achieve our goal and head to meet our friends on s/v Galactic in Moorea.  Perhaps a 'world record' stop over,  but we know 'we'll be back'.  Nice friendly marina and enough room for a few boats to anchor illegally without the water police getting too upset about us anchoring in the channel. However wouldn't have wanted to be here in the busy season. 
 Baie de Arue with Tahiti behind
Just had time for a quick kids birthday party onboard s/v Saba, a new Catana 52' which made us a bit green.  Then we heard of all the problems with their new Catana and we were happy to have a second hand one.
We've been told we'll love it,  so we arrive in Opunohuu Bay with some expectation, this is a classic bay with a majestic views of huge peaks which are the backdrop of the bay.  Cook came here in 1777 and there is a classic engraving of the Endevour in this bay. Great to see Galactic, and Cosmo and Elias have a complete ball.  These guys are able to spend hours playing imaginary horse riding and fishing games.  It's amazing how like a horse a long fender looks when you squint a bit!
  C & Elias playing stink bombs  
                                        Zin with Eric
So whilst the scenery is spectacular we not loving the municipal beach, its short and full of evil broken glass and bottle tops, we're just not used to it, having spent so much time in Tahanea. So so so wonderful hanging with Galactic again but poor old Mike needs peace and quiet to enable him to put together a fish report for the office, apparently that's what them marine biologist guys do!    Carefore had been hugely exciting - seeing freezers full of meat and shelves full of fresh and exciting veg.,  so I planned a fabulous  Spring Sunday Lunch, now armed with  a leg of lamb, Endive, Fennel etc etc......   Yum Yum ymmmmmm the first time eating this stuff since Europe.
BBQing a leg of lamb with a view
The only problem seems that we've been watched, being jolly.  A great late afternoon lunch had us all in early bed.  Only to be woken by footsteps on the deck in the middle of the night.  I wake thinking it must be Colin and he probably the same.  I realise pretty swiftly it's not Colin when I hear the door open so by the time I'm up on deck Colin in the most Scarey and Manly of voices is shouting  'GET OFF MY ******* BOAT', repeatedly .  Evidently the guy he meets escaping on to the awaiting 'out rigger' is rather alarmed by the naked man and the aggressive yelling so he offers an appology- "Je suis desolee",  whilst leaving our boat with a bounty of treasures.  These Mooreans might be theiving bastards but they're terribly polite.  Captian Cook apparently was 'done over'  whilst in Moorea so we can't really blame modern society.  They got our flippers, shoes, camera and other bits and bobs - but far worse than our loss was Galactic who lost an outboard and Eric lost his swimming nappy!
So enough of Opanoohu, having tried to sleep the rest of that night without any success we decided to move, rapidly filed a police report and upped anchor.  So we ended up sadly parting company with our dear friends.  We found a good anchorage further West in the corner of the island inside some motos, but a little busy with tourists, coming to pet the rays and sharks. It took weeks before we slept a whole night.  Returning to Papeette ended up being the only option, and even then sleep wasn't easy. 
Marina Taina
Other than escaping thieves, it seems it's essential for us to be in a sheltered anchorage as the Swell over the following days was forecast to be an extreme 5m which is enough for it to come over the top of the reef and make the anchorage horrible.  Whilst riding the storm in our chosen position we almost colid with the oldest most rusty boat in the anchorage, luckily Colin is allerted by another sailor moments before the insurance takes a hit, but we survive without any scrapes just yet more sleepless nights.  We quickly tire of Tiana it's known as a horrid anchorage and after 4 days and having lifted the anchor at least once a day unable to leave the boat unmaned,  we've got itchy feet.  But we're getting things done and supplies are starting to be replenished.
Crazy swell in anchorage for 48hours    
                                                                   Then calm nights and sunsets over Moorea 
We love remoteness but I also love getting into a place that has cars and shops.  Papeete certainly isn't St Barts or Brighton but it has a surplus of fabric shops, Jewelery shops selling, guess what?, Pearls.  All we need to do is get some holes drilled and after a few hiccups we find the most wonderful girl who runs her father's shop.  It is wonderful being independent for the first time for what must be six months,  I even squeezed a solo lunch with the most wonderfully chilled glass of rose.
We have been able to get jobs done here like servicing the watermaker and regassing the freezer.  All good stuff. The other big job was to get all the bits and bobs we would be needing in Apataki when we haul out in October.
  Superyachts again..  met up with s/v Aschanti who we'd last bumped into in Gambier
We say our final farwells to Galactic, or at least until we fly down to Tazmania in 2013.
  s/v Galactic return a wig
We had been waiting an annual care package from the UK for some time and it was somewhere in the UPS system.  But with no package in sight and the weekend approaching and discovering s/v 'Seal' are heading to Moorea we rally and cojoul Colin, who finally  agrees to  Moorea 'for the weekend'!
Not somewhere we thought we'd be back to in a hurry.  But in fact it turns out to be a good decision to confront our demons.  Z had a ball with the 'Seal Girls'.  We attempt to climb Belvedere lookout once again but due to intermitent windlass motor issues and deep water we fail a second time.  Like us Seal ain't loving this particular spot.   So we make a move but loose Seal in the process as they head West to Huahine.  The plan now is to Party under Sydney Bridge with them for new year 2013.
 In the evening light with a clouds clear of the mountain tops
Colin slept outside on a pile of cushions to ward off any baddies . .  how brave he looks 
Our next anchorage was a complete treasure and enough peace and remoteness for us to sleep again.  It's here we realise Moorea 'taketh a way' and then 'giveth'.  We love hanging out with folk who are doing what we're doing but sometimes too much hanging out stops local experience.  We have also become,  terribly cheeky.  With Colins fabulous French and the two beautiful  blonde children aboard we now 'work it baby'.  And that's how we met the kindest folk so far.  We drew up at the end of Alfred and Tania's back garden wondering if we could dock our dinghy and wander off for a stroll up the road - as I said 'bloody cheeky'.  Well Alfred wasn't playing ball and told us, very cordially, to sling our hook.  Moments later having pulled out the oars and drawn our tails between our legs, Alfred rolled back down the garden beckoning us back.  This was the start of a great week,  where it seems the word generousity was invented.  Never say you like the look of something in Polynesia as it almost always turns up as a gift a few minuites later - this can be both lovely and embarassing at the same time as there is often no way to repay the kindness other than baking a cake. 
First Alfred and Tania arranged for us to go and pick fruit from Alfreds brothers fruit farm up the hill.  Given we where keen for a walk the arrival of a car to deliver us up the hill.  We where given the free range of the farm to pick what ever we wanted.  The kids picked there first Avocado's and we came back laden with citron and pamplemousse.
   We are the white spot in the blue 
Our fruit walk   Cosmo with baby mangoes   Our fruity haul  
Teturoa Marae    
Belvedere Lookout for a picnic lunch with Arnold, Tania and Hia'a'tea
Colin, Arnold, Cosmo  Liz, Zinnia, Tania, Hia'a'tia 
We took an afternoon walk up the hill through pinapple plantations and flowers and past peaceful houses with abandoned cars turned into flowerpots.  It is a tropical garden just walking up a road with Holiconia, stralitia, breadfruit, pinapples etc etc.
 A flower car    Sadest dog in Moorea
                                                   Vanilla farm
Tainia and Alfreds generousity seemed to hold no bounds.  They have retired to Moorea and currently have there 6yr old granddaughter living with them, normal in Poly, fancy Cosmo for a few years Gill and Peter?   We finally have to cub any comments of liking something when with them if we don't we'll be leaving with half there house.  On our tour of the island our they try and buy our veg provisions,  rudely we decline.    But best of all Taina repeatedly offers to do my laundry, and boy it all returns smelling incredible.    Our return gesture is Sunday breakfast but we're truely humbled by these lovely folk.
Back to blue water swimming which is lovelyand not a shark seen for a whole week  
  The family came on the boat for coffee and a swim
 possibly the best Poisson cru to date. And a BBQ
Swimming with dolphins as we head for the pass and back to Tahiti  in case you this looks like a photo of mountains the Family are on the left and dolphins on the right