Wednesday, 6 September 2017

9-2017 Huahine, Wind and Tanda Malaika

Hi from Clare,

As suggested in our last newsletter under ‘So What’s Next’ we came down to Avea Bay on the south end of Huahine. We enjoyed snorkeling, swimming, walks, sundowners with new friends on ‘Whisper’ and generally relishing the relaxed lifestyle that cruising provides.

Clare's favourite fish
Three days later and with some regret we went back to the main township of Fare as Steve on ‘Liward’ was playing with local musicians at the Huahine Yacht Club. We had a very good evening celebrating Steve’s last gig for the season along with the crews on ‘Alcyone’ and ‘Golden Glow’. The music was terrific, the company good, the food great, and the Club was fairly jumping.
Lili with Steve and the band

Cruisers having dinner

Liward’ was heading back to Tahiti and Steve very kindly took the radio that we had on loan from ‘Acapella’ whilst Martin and Ellen were in the Netherlands for a few weeks. It looked like we would be without a ship’s radio for the remainder of the season as our radio has failed and needs repairing when back in Oz. Anyone who knows Andrew and his love for the radio will understand that no radio on board is almost a fate worse than death. Actually it is a wonder we weren’t on the next plane home and heading to Icom:)

Fortunately or maybe unfortunately the following day Mike on ‘Pangea’ lent us his second radio, but it too has a fault. Andrew installed the radio under the navigation deck and has spent many an hour down on his knees trying to fix the problem. The audio is distorted and people sound like Donald Duck. Sometimes the conversation is totally garbled. We cannot transmit and we receive intermittently. So now we either hear the radio net or we don’t.

At the same time as ‘Liward’ left for Tahiti, the other cruisers in Fare were anxious to move on as the forecast was showing more strong wind heading our way. We returned to beautiful Avea Bay and our friends headed off to different islands and one step closer to their final destinations. One thing is for sure, wherever they dashed off to, there is a very good chance that they are still there. The wind has been twenty odd knots with frequent gusts up to 30 knots which push the boat sideways. Things fall over inside the boat and the kitchen drawer flies open if not locked. We’ve had rain squalls every day and the sea outside the reef is 3 metres or more. There was so much water coming over the reef that our peaceful anchorage in Avea Bay was untenable. The ship wreck on the reef,(that we spoke of in our last newsletter) moved 0.7 kilometres onto shallow ground within the anchorage. The salvage people came and put an anchor on her.

Shelter in Haapu Bay
With no respite from the wind in sight, we moved to Haapu Bay which is known as a hurricane hole, the sea floor is sticky mud and so we were anchored securely. So there we stayed with the wind howling through the rigging, vicious gusts every few minutes, grey skies and persistent rain. We managed a few walks ashore with our wet weather coats on. I commented to Andrew on day eight that this was the longest windy period we had encountered in our twelve years of cruising. But he reminded me of the nine days we spent sheltering behind one of the Greek Isles. In that particular blow, because the island was so bare, the boat was completely caked in dust. At least here we have had plenty of rain, the boat is squeaky clean and water the tank is full. That’s the silver lining on this big bad cloud.

Tanda Malaika where she lay in the shallows

Yesterday we returned to Avea Bay. The sea has abated and the water is quite calm here. It is still windy and raining but it should start settling. In a few days there is a calm patch showing. How lovely it will be to see some sunshine and have the hatches open.

Tanda Malaika under tow
Andrew on the right trying to keep away

Well, he failed to keep away - they needed help

Today is nice and sunny and the wind is dropping. The salvage crew returned this morning to tow the wreck of ‘Tanda Malaika’ back to land. We took the dinghy out and watched the proceedings. Towing it to shore was easy but getting it out of the water was made difficult by weight of the additional water captured within the hulls. At the moment it is half way up the beach. There is some talk that the hull will be transformed into a house. A good project for the Tiny Homes program we have watched on Austar. There is a hull of a catamaran on the other side of the island that is now a home. I have seen a photo of it, and it looks pretty good.

Inching up the beach
Well we stay in Avea Bay for a long as we can. This will be determined by our diminishing fresh food provisions. At this point we are prepared to go without just to enjoy this our favourite anchorage.

Love Candy xx

Sunday, 20 August 2017

8-2017 Moorea and Huahine

Hi from Clare,                                           Wednesday 16th August 2017

It is two weeks today since we left Tahiti and sailed to the Island of Moorea. We anchored near the Soffitel Hotel on the eastern side of the island where the water is calm and the snorkeling good. We enjoyed peace and quiet, sunny days and welcomed shade late afternoon thanks to the nearby mountains. A lovely location with the added benefits of Internet access via the Soffitel and a short dinghy ride into the nearby village for provisions. We busied ourselves and spent a few hours each day polishing the deck. A very rewarding job and quite enjoyable when not under time pressure.

Eventually strong S/E wind forced us to leave our serenity and sail to the north side of the island to Cooks and Opunohu Bays for protection. We were greeted by our American friends Tom and Sylvia on “Cinnabar”, Kenny, Betsy and family on “Alcyone” and new friends Rob and Nancy on “Shindig”. Over the next few days we enjoyed drinks on Alcyone, group walks to the prawn farm and the fresh fruit stall, a gathering in the nearby park and many chats on all the boats. We also enjoyed the presence of three whales in the anchorage. Two adults and a calf just lazing about having a rest for a few days. They were not the slightest bit perturbed by the number of people in dinghies and motor boats coming out for a close up view.
Oponohu Bay anchorage

The cruise ship Paul Gauguin shared our anchorage and lit up the sky with an unexpected and quite lengthy fireworks display. It must have been some special occasion for them but we were the happy recipients, the anchorage erupted with horn blowing, whistles, cheers and clapping; it seems fireworks never lose their magic. We hope the whales enjoyed the show, they were certainly right underneath it.

On Sunday afternoon we left the island of Moorea and sailed 85 miles to the island of Huahine. The trip was terrific, very gentle with lovely sunny weather and plenty of moonlight at night. We were a little sorry when we arrived as we were enjoying ourselves so much, we could have just kept sailing.

Anchorage at Fare, Huahine

We met up with American friends Steve and Lili on “Liward” who we haven’t seen since September last year. So after a quick snooze in the afternoon to catch up on lost sleep, we had drinks on their boat that night. Very lively company and we had a most enjoyable evening.

A nearby resort in Fare, Huahine

Last night we met again to celebrated Andrew’s birthday with dinner at the Huahine Yacht Club. We commenced with Happy Hour cocktails and met a number of Steve’s friends including a tourist from New Zealand also celebrating his birthday. Being a bit younger than Andrew this chap started celebrating his birthday the day before,15th down under and then came up for another dose yesterday 15th in French Polynesia. Only the young would be so brave, he was a little worse for wear by the time we met him, but happy.

Steve, Lili, Andrew and Clare at the Yacht Club

Recently one of the Cruising yachts ran aground on the reef at the southern end of this island. The catamaran is a write-off as it has a big hole punched in the bottom and sea water is right through the boat. Thankfully the crew was air lifted to safety but have since returned with a number of volunteers and stripped the boat bare in the hope of selling the equipment to pay for the final removal of the hull.

Yesterday a few of us went over and had a look at all the gear, what a depressing sight. It is all dumped in an outdoor shed with no walls and on a dirt floor. It is pouring rain now and half the stuff is wet. Because of the salt water through the boat most things are starting to rust. Andrew bought some engine parts that are new and unused.

Andrew in amongst the salvaged items

High winds have been forecast for the next few days. So far we have experienced gusts up to 34.8 knots. It is chilly also, we even had to put a blanket on our bed; totally unheard of! When the wind drops, we will go down to Avea Bay at the end of the island. This is one of our favourite spots and so we are looking forward to improved weather and some snorkelling.

Love Candy xx