From Annie's Log...
We are now on our 3rd Society Island (so called
supposedly after the Royal Society of London by Captain Cook trying to suck up
to them for more money, or because they are located so close together that they
form a society of islands depending on who you believe).We are finally starting
to calm down after all the dramas of Tahiti - the Big Island. It was not a good
experience for us there - very frustrating dealing with officialdom, a mad
scurry by Darren for spare and vital parts for the boat and a crowded and swirly
anchorage which culminated in a huge squall putting us on the reef briefly -
luckily a good samaritan came along and gave us a nudge off - no real harm done
but nerves, already frayed, shattered.
One bright spot was our escape one afternoon to the
Paul Gaugin Museum (about 40 miles along the coast) - a quirky place set in
beautiful gardens beside the Boatanical Park with lots of memorabilia, a
reconstruction of his studio and model of his house, and representations of most
of his works including of course all of his Tahitian paintings and a lot of his
sculptures. He was very concerned that the influences of western society were
ruining the local culture and badly affecting the natives - and that was in the
1800's! He'd be spinning in his grave to see it now.
Speaking of western culture - one of Darren's high
spots was discovering a MacDonald's right next to the Marina, you could actually
dinghy up to it. Needless to say this was a frequently visited landmark. The
provisioning was relatively easy as there was a huge Hypermarket about 5 minutes
up the road with a wide variety of food both gourmet and basic. It had a cheese
counter that was out of this world and lots of frozen lamb from home and NZ, we
even found oysters on the half shell, smoked and unsmoked duck, you name it.
Hugely expensive but we managed to fill the cupboards and fridge/freezer for our
next leg which will take us 1000 miles to Samoa and Tonga. Next provisioning
stop will probably be Fiji.
After a week we managed to extricate ourselvesand
made off for Moorea (about 15 miles away). This is more like it. A beautiful
anchorage in the lagoon with a short dinghy trip to a spot where about a dozen
stingrays all come to be handfed tidbits of fish. Darren stood in waist
deep crystal clear water and was literally mobbed by 4-6 foot wide rays
searching all over him for food. We took some tuna we'd forgotten about in the
freezer and they loved it. I was way too chicked to get in but took some great
photos of the whole thing. Anyway the 3 blacktip reef sharks circling on the
periphery were enough to keep me high and dry.
We had 2 nights there and it was just lovely, a
real break. We are now in Raiatea (100 miles from Moorea). We did an overnight
passage which was very lumpy and uncomfortable - where is this peaceful Pacific?
We are to be hauled out of the water this afternoon so that we can fit a new
depth sounder (it's not a pop out one) and fix a leak at the rudder post. The
old depth sounder gave up the ghost in the Tuamotus and we really miss it -
dipping in the handheld one every once in a while whilst hanging precariously
off the transom just isn't doing it. Not with all the shallow patches and reefs
We can see Bora Bora in the distance - very
ethereal. All going well we will be there next week. I'm hoping to get to
an internet cafe and send some photo blogs, so stay