Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Raiatea 080311

Wednesday 08032011

Last Wednesday was a pretty mellow day, sort of. We all ended up cleaning the waterline on the hull during the afternoon Josh did the majority of it from the dinghy (was preferable to homework), and Dennis and I did touch ups from the water. Not exactly as mellow as I had anticipated, but the waterline looks great and it was nice to be in the water.

We left at 5pm for Huahine. We motored for the first few hours, then the wind came up enough to sail. There were at least 6 boats headed for Huahine that night, so the radar screen was pretty busy. I came on watch about 1230 am. We were making about 3 kts. I could see the navigation lights of the other boats all around us, but nothing within 2 miles. Around 0130 I saw a target on the radar about 6 miles out that appeared to be heading in my direction, so I turned the target tracking on, and sure enough on a direct course towards us at about 15kts. For you non sailors out there, the rules of the road out here give boats under sail the right of way and all boats are to avoid collisions, no matter who has the right of way. Well this boat never altered course! I ended up having to head off course by 30 degrees and at 3 kts we don't move very fast. To add insult to injury the boat spotlighted me on its way by. I had tried to hail them on the radio earlier, but no answer. After they passed and I readjusted my course I made a general call on channel 16 to the boats behind me to be aware that this vessel under power was not giving way. Moondance who were on the same course as us about 3 miles behind also had to alter course. That was a real first for me I have had large cargo ships make major course changes in order to get out of the way. Thankfully the rest of the night was less eventful.

Dennis came on at 0630 with Huahine in sight. Shortly thereafter it began to rain. The wind and swell had been increasing since about 400am and by 0700 it was rocking and rolling! At 0900 we jibed around to line up with the pass. Raining hard by now and seas pretty big. Just as I was preparing to call Josh to close a port I can't reach we took a wave - right into that hatch. I bet the look on my face was priceless. No real harm done, but to see a wall of water come in the port, drench me and things across the cabin from me, swirl around on the floor and head into the bilge. Just not any every day occurrence (thank you very much). Given the state of the seas, I basically threw all the wet clothes in the sink in our head and the rug out on the deck to get rained on all to be dealt with after we anchored. Our destination on Huahine was Fare (far-ay) on the Northwest side of Huahine. The pass in was a piece of cake, but anchoring in 20+ kts of wind and current is never much fun. We finally stuck on our 4th try. By then we were all cold and wet - definitely ready for coffee and a big breakfast, okay it was more like lunch by then but it felt like breakfast time.

I cleaned the seawater mess - washed floors and hung the salty clothes out in the rain, made breakfast and had a nap. The wind stayed strong all through the day Thursday and Friday with gusts in the high 20s. We did a lot of heeling in the boat as the current was so strong we never came around into the wind.

Friday we did some exploring in Fare. They have an awesome grocery store. Josh made the comment that we seem to spend a lot of time looking in grocery stores these days. Yeah, the highlight of my day - finding something we haven't had access to. This store has lots of stuff, but funnily enough no loaf bread, only baguettes. Cooked fresh at least twice a day. Fare is not very big, so exploring didn't take too long. We came back that evening for happy hour and dinner at the roulettes.

Saturday we took a pretty long walk - tried to hitchike, but no luck. We were hoping to get to the marae which is an old Polynesisn village/religious place - or in Dennis' words - an old pile of rocks. We were picked up by a "truck" which is a flatbed with a cabin with seats, or in english a bus. No charge for a ride all the way back to Fare. Do they have a regular schedule? No. Once back in town, we saw that the only bike rental shop was actually open, so we made reservations to rent bikes the next day. Then went for a picnic on the beach. Meanwhile, Josh had met the kid on Phoenix (Jayce) and spent the day with him. They had skurfed for awhile in the morning, then hung out in the boat the rest of the day.

Sunday dawned overcast but less windy. Josh was too tired to go bike riding, so we went in without him. By the time we got to the dock it was raining, and noone was at the bike shop. We waited for 35 minutes, and then decided it was just not going to happen. We ended up taking a long walk in the other direction and having Josh pick us up in the dinghy. When we got back to the boat, we decided that we needed to move to a better anchor spot. Which we did. We didn't move far, just enough to be back over shallower water and out of the channel. We sent Josh out swimming with the hand held depthsounder to see how far away the 10 foot depth was. Remember the current? Well, he got a pretty good workout. He never did get to 10 feet, but 15 was pretty far away, so we felt comfortable with our anchor spot. Late Sunday afternoon we met with Moondance to see how they felt about heading to Raiatea Monday instead of going to the southern anchorage on Huahine. We were hoping to catch up with Loose Pointer or Don Quixote (kid boats). They agreed, so we made plans for an early provision run and then crossing to Raiatea. We would try to leave by 1000am for the 20 mile crossing.

Monday. We made our 1000 departure time. Provisioning went well and quickly. I even scored some MahiMahi from a local fisherman - fresh that morning. The crossing went well, about an hour out we put up the spinnaker and had a nice couple of hours flying it. Is so weird to think that we go faster under sail than we do with the motor...... Is quieter too. We had our fishing lines in the water, thinking that okay, the spinnaker is up and we just bought fish so we are primed to actually catch one of our own. Sadly, no luck. We brought the spinnaker down about 6 miles out of Raiatea and finished with the jib. As we approached we were hailed by Adam on Loose Pointer. Yeah! They were still anchored In the lagoon at Raiatea. The pass into the lagoon was pretty straightforward and we found Loose Pointer easily. Anchoring ended up to be a challenge, but we finally set the hook to our satisfaction and settled in. It seems that the lagoon around Raiatea is deep and falls off the reef steeply - not much sand to anchor in. So our anchor is in 30 feet and our stern is over 90 feet. Dan and Katherine invited us for drinks that evening and we had a nice visit with them and Doug and Carla - catching up. While we have been having generator problems, their windlass (pulls up the anchor) just died a sudden death. A new one isn't in their future until American Samoa. Those guys are going to be totally buff by then pulling up the anchor with a chain rode is hard work.

Tuesday. Josh got a good deal of homework done in the morning and the rest of his day was spent with Adam hanging out and doing whatever they do when the hang out and have their laptops with them. Dennis and I went into town (Uturoa) around 2pm. Didn't do too much - checked out the grocery store, had a beer with Doug and Carla, walked to the marina to check it out and came back to the boat. We are anchored quite a way from shore and this is the windward side of the island, so the dinghy rides can be pretty wet. By general consensus all three boats decided that we had enough of this anchorage and would like to go someplace new on Wednesday.

Tahaa is the next little island to the north and does not require leaving the lagoon to get there. So we agreed to head to TuaTua on the west side. Hopefully it will be more protected and have better anchoring conditions. I will let you know. Loose Pointer has already upped their anchor this morning and is at the fuel dock as we speak..... I guess I better finish my coffee and bring this to a close.....

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