AHauhine 16:46S 151:04W

SV Jenny
Alan Franklin/Lynne Gane
Thu 9 Jul 2015 04:21
Dear Family and Friends,

Tuesday 7th July 2015

We have arrived in the Leeward Society Islands, and we are now anchored in the lovely bay of Avea on the Island of Hauhine, following our departure from Papeete, Monday lunchtime. We took a route around the south and west coasts of Moorea. It is a journey of nearly 100 miles, too far to sail in daylight hours. We timed our arrival for early morning, making our way up the west coast of Huahine to enter the pass of Avapehi, motoring down inside the lagoon to this bay at almost the most southerly point on the west coast. With all our fingers crossed that the GPS plotter would not play up for the critical charts to navigate the narrow and twisty passages between the reef outcrops, we arrived safely. It has been a dull day here with heavy rain at times, warm of course. This is their Austral winter with temperatures in the low to mid twenties and it is supposedly dry.

The leeward islands are lower than the Windward Isles of which Tahiti is the main one. By way of a demonstration the highest point in Tahiti is Mt Orohena at 2241m whilst on Huahine it is Mt Turi at 669m. The valleys in Tahiti are very steep, often near vertical, in Moorea knife edge ridges and peaks cut the skyline, much of these lands are uninhabitable and untravelled unless you are a mountaineer. Huahine by contrast is older, still hilly but perhaps a gentler landscape. From our trip to the Museum of Tahiti, we learnt of the life cycle of these islands, indeed of all of French Polynesia. Volcanic mountains form beneath the sea from ‘hot spots’ in the earth’s crust, as their height increases so they become land. Once volcanic activity reduces and eventually ceases, the plant life takes hold. Erosion and a slow sinking into the sea begins the journey backwards. Tahiti as the tallest is the newer island, but is sinking into the sea at a rate of 8cm per century, Huahine is middle aged and the Tuamotus have all but disappeared leaving the coral reef surrounding the mount to continue to grow up towards the light.

Mahana resort and yacht club have a nice restaurant and that rare treat a working and free wifi!

Wednesday 8th July 2015

Alan has been using his new toy, a second hand hooker compressor, so that he can dive to clean the hull, and working like a Trojan. There’s a huge area to clean. Despite having copper coat antifouling we have a thin film of green algae attached and to that a fine ‘grass’. I always find it hard to believe but a clean hull can give you an extra .5-1kt of speed, it improves the hulls slip through the water and the propellor and rudder action. So it worth doing, the nicer if that is the right description, for the water being warm and calm.

The new generator is working although quite noisy, the repaired outboard is good (cautionary note below), lights and radio are ok. So far so good on the maintenance front.

I went to body board over the coral close to the shore, beautiful fish of bright blue, orange, yellow and red darted among the coral heads. Yellow and white striped Angel fish, black ones, larger blue and yellow striped ones swam just beneath me. With the magnifying window I have a clear view below and it is magical to be able to see all this without putting my head under water! The waters inside the lagoon are crystal clear, we are anchored in 10m of water and can see the coral on the bottom. The waters are a deep turquoise over the outer reef, a royal blue as the water deepens and a cerulean blue where we are now, its just gorgeous. Coral sands border the sweep of the bay, coconut palms and wild hibiscus fringe the sands and the locals live in houses close by the shore. These are not really buildings, more loosely constructed walls of boarding topped with corrugated a roof, with the occasional glimpse inside, there is not much to recommend the interior by way of comfort. Dogs and the few pigs are often tethered, the feral chickens roam freely and are everywhere. Gardens are planted with coconuts, bananas, papaya and melons, wonderful flowers and brightly coloured variegated shrubs.

On returning to the dingy I couldn’t get the motor started, I thought this would happen one day! Assembling the oars I began to row, very badly as it turns out, I knew I had to aim up wind and current to get back to the boat. But poor stroke technique meant this was a struggle and I got ‘rescued’ by a couple who towed me back. Very ignominious, will have to practice this skill! Alan of course started it when I got back but I knew that would happen!

Rain has set in again, the best of the day over it looks like raining for some time to come. I’m just wondering what the wet season is like if this is the dry one!

All our best,

Lynne and Alan