The Society Islands

Ran behind in writing stories for the past weeks, so a quick catch up here, before I move on.

For the past 10 days I have sailed together with Peter and Fiona from Sayonara. Which was great fun. They left Wednesday to go back to Raiateia, while I stayed on Bora Bora.

Taina (Tahiti) to Fare (Huahine) was an overnight sail with many different faces. Going through the pass at Taina was adventurous with a lot of current, that seemed to change direction a few times. The wind had been blowing strong from the north east for the past two days, so I was counting on more of that. The weather decided otherwise, the wind kept turning to the west and than completely died. We had to motor in a big swell. About 20 miles from Fare suddenly the wind, that matched the huge swell, arrived. And we had an exciting few hours of sailing (reached 8.9 knots coming down a wave). We got in safely in Fare, which turned out to be a nice anchorage near a quiet little town.

Bastille Day celebrations were minimal, for the rest it was just another Sunday for the locals. We enjoyed a few good days in Fare, and I borrowed Peter’s top climber (gear which allows you to climb up the mast along a halyard all by yourself) and installed an additional radar reflector (I had been told that I did not make a clear radar target a couple of weeks back) and ran a repaired spinaker halyard up the mast. Worked well, definitely added a top climber to the wish list.

Sailed from Fare to Uturoa (Raiateia) was surprisingly nice. Forecast was for light winds and rain, instead there were fairly good winds (about 15 knots) and it was dry. I found a spot at the city dock, after circling around to find a decent anchorage location without any luck. It took a hard 180 degree turn to make it into the spot, but with help from the people on the dock, it all worked out. Sayonara went on to the Carenage, where they wanted to see about arranging a haul out a few weeks later. Took advantage of the alongside docking by getting my bike form the forepeak, had not used it since Curacao, hard to believe. Gave it a good cleaning and went for a little ride. When I got back to the boat around lunch time the wind had increased and was pushing Morning Light hard against the dock. Not a good situation, time to leave. Got the lines sorted and engine started and waited for a little lull, which somewhat worked, was able to get away from the dock without any damage. The fuel dock was only 100 meters away, in a calmer spot (protected from the wind by a big cruise ship). Came alongside on the second attempt, and was able to take in some tax free diesel. Still not very cheap, about 1 Euro a liter.

The intended anchorage at Tahaa did not work out, it was too deep and too windy. So we had to improvise and find another anchorage. Which we ended up finding in the bay of Hurepiti, all the way in the back. When we arrived it was very calm there, but as the wind was shifting to the east we started to get lots of gusts and swirling winds, but at least the anchor held (in almost 20 meters of water). We stayed there for two nights, since the Saturday was one soggy experience. It rained almost the whole time.

Sunday morning it was still wet, but there were maybe some signs of clearing up, and at 11 o’clock we decided to go for it. It was a rough ride through the reef pass, into a big swell. Eventually the wind picked up, and between some motorsailing we even managed to turn the engine off for a few hours. We arrived around 4 o’clock in Bora Bora, which has the most beautiful sight of all the Society Islands. Anchoring there turned out to be tough, first it was hard to find a good spot, then the anchor chain did not want to come out. Turned out that the whole mount of 50 meters of chain had tumbled over in the anchor locker (most likely when running into the big swell coming through the reef) and it took a lot of effort to get that all sorted out (access to the anchor locker is through a little 20x30cm cut-out a the front of the forepeak). Well, that was enough work for my 40th birthday, and we had a great meal on Sayonara to celebrate.

Bora Bora is a beautiful place, stunning view of the peak, that seems to change every time you look at it. Went north around the island (inside the lagoon), which is a tricky channel with not much depth to spare, but it brings you on the east side of the lagoon, which has the best teints of blue water so far. Took the dinghy for a search for rays, which are supposed to be pleniful there, but had little luck. Saw a few smaller ones, but not from very close. Today (Friday) I am going to take the dinghy into town, do some last shopping, get online and use up my last internet minutes in the post office. If the forecast is good, I should be leaving for the Cook Islands tomorrow, arriving there somewhere by the end of next week.

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