Cooks Bay, Moorea,Society Islands,French Polynesia

Dick and Irene Craig
Sat 8 May 2010 21:36
The selection of fruit and vegetables in Carrefour was very disappointing and we had to leave Tahiti without obtaining everything we needed.
As we left the pass, we saw surfers practicing their surfing skills. With just one wave breaking, they could let the sea lift them up and having surfed down they were able to move back, via the calm water to repeat the process until perfection had been attained.
The sea bed at Cook's bay in Moorea was soft mud and we made four attempts to set the anchor in around 18metres. The bay is stunningly beautiful with rugged pinnacles, mainly enshrouded with dense green foliage. From our anchorage we could see at least three separate areas which were being actively farmed but all were on a hillside.
A collection of thatched roofed huts, making up part of two separate hotels, stood on stilts above the water. We heard that another hotel, standing close to the beach, had ceased trading before the world economic crisis hit. Unfortunately these islands are very expensive and are no longer feasible as a holiday resort for the masses, assuming that this was ever the case.
While we were doing a tour of Tahita, we passed a large hotel which had ceased trading in the late 1990s despite Government intervention to try to save it. The hotel had been built on a number of terraces to get round the building regulations. Apparently the height of a building may not exceed 2/3rds of the height of a palm tree. This is very interesting as with so many varieties of palm trees, there is also at least one variety of short palm trees.
We spent two nights in Cooks bay. Cook in fact never anchored in this bay and the bay was so-named after Cook's death. The subsequent morning we moved out from the lagoon and via the next pass, once again into the lagoon to Baie D'Opuncho, where the water was crystal clear and light blue.
Here we swam to a reef and snorkeled. The fish were magnificent. So many different types of fish we hadn't seen before. One in particular resembled a huge rectangular leaf. It was buttercup yellow with a black, triangular shaped mouth, wafer thin and about 8 inches by 6 inches in size. The red fish hid under the rocks hardly daring to look out. They knew that they were delicious to eat and tried to keep away from predators of any kind.
Just as we were swimming back to the boat, we saw a ray, about a metre across, swimming way below us.
Getting back to the boat was hard as the current took me astern of the boat, further away than I had swum to the reef initially. As I approached the boat, it moved off, swinging on its chain. I gave up. By now I was quite exhausted having done little swimming recently I was out of shape. Dick towed me back to the bathing ladder and I climbed aboard. I had rinsed off the salt water and moved to pick up my shampoo and conditioner when whoosh!, over I went. I bumped down each of the steps on the sugar scoop on my coccyx, ending up in the water. I now have some nasty bruises and have difficulty sitting down, some horrid gashes and a graze on the top of my back near my left shoulder as well as a stiff neck.
The shampoo and conditioner, both full bottles, floated off across the lagoon and within minutes were half a kilometer away from the boat. The current was too strong and the distance too far to swim out to retrieve them but nonetheless, Dick magnanimously did just that, exhausting himself in the process. Should you wonder why we didn't take the rib, it was because it was ashore with a couple of the crew.
We now need to consider obtaining a second rib, or even a dinghy so that if an emergency does arise when the rib has been taken from the boat, we still have contingency.
Wednesday after lunch, we left Moorea and made passage to Fare, Huahine, arriving around 10am next morning. The sea journey was not comfortable. We were sailing 140º-150º off the wind but the swell was on our beam.
We had to slow down after a few hours as we were sailing so fast, we would have arrived during the hours of darkness. The parasailor was therefore brought down and the genoa unfurled. That did the job nicely.
We anchored in the lagoon at Fare, had a brief sojourn ashore, then moved a further 8 miles into the lagoon to Baie D'Avea.
The buoyage in the lagoons is quite different from that which we have generally encountered. Other than entering and leaving the atoll via the pass, where the red buoy on entering is still to port and the green buoy to starboard, once in the lagoon, the red buoy indicates the land and the green buoy indicates the reef.
Wow! This must be paradise. The sea is blue, pale blue and completely crystal clear. The sea bottom is white sand. The scenery is stunning with cypress trees, conifers, palm trees plus many that I don't recognize, growing down to the white sand beaches from the pinnacle of the mountains and hills. Thatched huts, on stilts built over the water with others built at the edge of the beach, some hidden by trees. Looking out towards the sea, we are protected by the reef where the water is constantly breaking from the south Pacific.
When we arrive there is a catamaran here and a Moorings charter monohull. Before dark, one of the other WARC boats has arrived plus a Moorings charter catamaran.
We had a steak barbecue for supper and I experimented with my first breadfruit. This was the first time most of us had knowingly eaten breadfruit though Moe had eaten it boiled and hadn't cared for it. I roasted it in the oven in a similar way to potatoes though it cooked much more quickly than potatoes. The general consensus was that the breadfruit tasted like a cross between roasted parsnips and roasted potatoes. We will have another go tonight with the half that we haven't cooked yet and serve it instead of potatoes with another barbequed supper.
The consistency of the breadfruit before roasting, was most interesting. The outer 3/8 inch, after the skin had been removed was hard but the rest, after cutting out the centre, had the consistency of putty.

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