16:38.40S 151:29.09W Tahaa above Raiatea. A fine cruise but some sad news.

Wed 24 Aug 2016 16:44

16:38.40S 151:29.09W Tahaa above Raiatea. A fine cruise but some sad news.

We had 103 miles to go and set off with the diva flying in fine style and overnight a ship and sailing vessel passed us along our reciprocal course. Then in the darkness a weird combination of lights approached. All golden and in a near vertical line as if on a back stay, from masthead to stern.

As it approached we could see a green nav light low down and the very faint glow of four equal height masts. AIS described her as the Wind Spirit, 134 metre motor sailing yacht who takes up to 290 paying passengers from Tahiti around the islands. Nice work if you can get it! As I write she has just come in here, to Bora Bora so maybe we’ll sneak aboard for a look later. She reminds me of the Royal Star Clippers that ply the Caribbean whom I have seen before. I even had the son of one of the officers as a driving pupil before he went off to Dartmouth Naval College. Lovely lad he was.

At some stage the next day we opened up our emails, while underway and found one from Tracey about Toby. The previous Sunday she told us that he was having tests for an enlarged prostate and spleen so we had been awaiting a progress report. It was Thursday the 18th. Toby suddenly lost the use of his back legs and as the vet felt there was nothing more they could do for him, as he had some problem in the mid back region, he put Toby to sleep. He was 11 years 3 months old.

We felt for Tracey and Darren as only a few weeks before they had had to put another of their dogs, Missee, to sleep as she was fitting.

On arrival at Raiatea we entered the lagoon through the Teavapiti Passe with the intention of anchoring or picking up a buoy off the main town of Ururoa but as the anchorage was around 30 metres deep and the only buoys we found belonged to charter companies, we motored on toward Tahaa, the island to the north.

There was a marina on Raiatea but we hadn’t prepared ourselves and it looked very full anyway. Haamene Bay seemed a good prospect and we went right in to the far end and anchored on mud once more. The Hibiscus Hotel was to our right with colourful write-ups of accommodation, good food, trip arrangements and free buoys off etc but as we went past there was not a sign of life.

This cleft in the volcano is one of the favoured hurricane holes in the area and is geographically practically mid island. I could imagine it will become crowded soon, as the season approaches, November to April, when we will be in New Zealand.

But as it was for us a very peaceful spot, we sat in the cockpit, looking at photos of dear Toby on Rob’s phone as the sun went down on his last day.

Next morning we motored around the island, inside the lagoon noting the different shades of blue of the water not just for beauty but because the darker blue was the deeper water. Keeping eyes open for the red and green posts and the IALA posts with their top marks showing from which side of the danger they were positioned. At Pai Pai Passe we hung a left and headed for the open sea. Bora Bora was visible 20 or so miles away and for the first time in ages we put the main out and sailed in a brisk wind with both white sails pulling nicely.

We are using lovely blue, grey and white charts for this area and although they are up to date or at least recent, some were first prepared back in the nineteenth century, with palm trees drawn on the islands. You know, the sort you sometimes see framed on pub walls or a tabletop decorations under protective glass. Rob says “These you won’t be selling on Ebay my love!”

On approach our course was well out from the island as the lagoon is vast and the reef wide, with its own islands. Past the Pointe de Turi Roa Pillar, 43 feet high, white with a black top and we were in line for the entrance. With a cat infront of us that handily confirmed the entrance through Passe Te Ava Nui we finally picked up a buoy off the Bora Bora Yacht Club.

It is not really a yacht club instead a restaurant and bar with half a dozen thatched huts on site, very pretty grounds rather like Puerto Amistad and a safe enclosed tiny pool area like a play area for children with benches and tables for adults all rooted in the water!

We had a welcome Ambre beer and returned at five for a meal. “Most people eat at around five so they can watch the sunset between Motu (Coral mount) Ahuna and Teveiroa.” The waiter said, so that’s what we did.