Arriving in Papeete, Tahiti

Lynn & Mike ..around the world
Mike Drinkrow & Lynn v/d Hoven
Tue 14 May 2013 17:44
17:32.42S 149:34.23W  Arriving in Papeete, Tahiti
After an uneventful overnight passage from Rangiroa, we arrived at the port of Papeete, capital city of Tahiti.  We had a reservation at Marina Taina, so headed into the port and then 5nm down a channel inside the reef, past the airport towards the marina, which is on the north west side of the island. 
As we turned the last corner for the marina we could now see a huge swell running, with waves breaking over the reef. The boats on mooring balls and on anchor were bucking like wild broncos, and things did not look too much better inside the marina. We radioed to announce our arrival, but where told that there was no way we could come into the marina , as the swell was too big and that we must anchor "for a day or two" until things calmed down.  At this point we saw another Nordhavn (76 called Sirius) leaving the dock - they told us on the radio that the marina was untenable and dangerous. We looked around for a spot to anchor, but it was really full and going to be a very unpleasant stop.  So we called our lovely agent Coralie, who in turn called the city docks and secured a spot for us downtown. We turned around and headed back to the main port.
The city has some floating pontoons, at right angles to the promenade, right off the main street.  Here you tie stern-to, with your bow hooked up to their lines that come up from the bottom. These lines are anchored to a chain on the bottom and although it is a messy business getting those lines on board, it saves you having to drop your anchor.  This is a very common method of tying up in the Mediterranean, but requires a bit of technique. Luckily we had some help from another boat on the dock.  This dock is not very popular with cruisers, as it is quite noisy in the day, has poor power supply and no washrooms/ laundry etc. However,  we are loving it, as it is well protected and you are right downtown, close to everything you need.
TIME2 on the dock, downtown Papeete