Friday, 16 June 2017

4-2017 East Side of Huahine

Hi from Clare,                 4-2017 East Side of Huahine            Monday 12th June 2017

PARADISE
Since our last newsletter we have spent a wonderful week on the east side of Huahine French Polynesia, one of our favourite islands in the Society Group. The scenery is lush and mountainous, the bays are large and secluded, the water is flat calm and vivid blue. The night breeze is pleasantly warm, the stars are dazzling and we are under the Southern Cross; what more could we ask for?


Behind the Motu on the east side of Huahine

New friends Steve and Rose (Emerald Seas)

TRAPS
We met a new couple Steve and Rose on Emerald Sea and together we took our dinghies up the shallow river to see the old fish traps. This is a traditional fishing method still used today by the villagers. Many traps have been built along the river by mounding rocks up to form a funnel shape with a pond at the neck. Each pond has a small shed where the fisherman waits. The current sweeps the fish along the funnel to the pond and bingo, the fisherman strikes. The villagers live right on the river face and happily wave and give directions so you don’t run aground. We spent some time at the museum in the small village of Maeva. The museum is situated in a traditional Polynesian Meeting House, built from palm leaves and native timber. All the beams are lashed together by palm fibre and the floor and roof are woven from palm leaves. It is truly a work of art, beautiful to see and a hundred percent water proof, which is really saying something as the rain can be torrential.



The ancient fish traps

Museum

DID YOU GET THAT?
Emerald Sea left for Bora Bora so our playmates were replaced by long term friends David and Kim on Maluhia and Chuck and Linda on Jacaranda. We spent quite a few months with these two boats in the Tuamotus last year and since then spoken regularly on our Radio Net, so it was good to catch up. We had sun downers together and a lovely dinner hosted by Chuck and Linda. Together we took our dinghies and visited all the snorkelling spots. The many varieties of fish were fascinating to watch but I was struggling to photograph them as the current was strong. I took what I thought to be some exciting photos floating past schools of fish, only to end up with photos of the sea floor. When I did find a piece of coral big enough to protect me from the current, the fish all took off and left me with camera in hand but nothing to photograph; better luck next time:)


Chuck, Clare, Linda, Kim and David

Clams on the seafloor

PEACE
There were also some good afternoon walks along the road shaded by the hillside. It is a good way to see how the locals live. Their houses are modest but they have waterfront property which we would pay a fortune for at home. I wonder if they realize how fortunate they are. The community is close knit and any function brings the entire township out. On one of our walks we think we witnessed a funeral. It was a sombre affair at one of the homes. Everyone was dressed in their best. Various people acknowledged us as we walked by but they did not speak. In French Polynesia it is not unusual to see a family cemetery in the front garden of the home. Housed under a structure like a carport, each grave is lovingly cared for with flowers and photos. Although this is not usual in our society, it strikes me as being very accepting of death and somewhat comforting for the family.


Our shaded walk


Nearby resort
BEAUTY
So we planned our next adventure to be Tahiti. Huahine to Tahiti can be an unpleasant trip as it is generally against the wind. However our luck was in, a better weather pattern presented itself and on Saturday night we had a comfortable sail to Tahiti on a beam reach averaging 6 knots. An added bonus was a full moon providing plenty of light and a picturesque moon beam stretched out across the water.

We are now tucked up behind the reef outside the Tahiti Yacht Club. We came here to catch up with long term friends Roger and Sasha on Ednbal and Geoff and Katie on Mezzaluna before they head west to Australia and New Zealand. Since arriving we have also met Larry and Sue on Serengeti with whom we have spoken on the HF radio during our time in the USA and Steve and Alice on Ocean Star, new acquaintances. These are people we have been speaking to on our Polynesian Magellan Radio Net and so it is now good to put faces to names. It’s funny how some people look exactly as you imagined and yet others look nothing like you imagined. Tonight we plan to have drinks on shore together. On Thursday our good friends Martin and Ellen on Acapella are arriving. We haven’t seen them since 2014 in Bonaire. We are so looking forward to their arrival, they are great company.

SO WHAT’S NEXT
I think we have a very social time ahead. Certainly a change from secluded bays in peaceful locations. We both have some boat shopping which is best done here in the city. I learnt today that the nearby reef offers some good snorkelling with no current, so I will be off with the camera.

So until next time stay safe and have fun.

Love Candy xx

Thursday, 1 June 2017

3-2017 The Island of Huahine

Hi from Clare,        3-2017   The Island of Huahine             Wednesday 31st May 2017

GOODBYE RAIATEA
So when I last wrote we were peacefully anchored behind a small island on the east side of Raiatea. The water there is flat calm providing a wonderful opportunity for the locals to enjoy daily fishing trips or having family picnics on one of the many small island. Rowing an outrigger canoe is also very popular with both sexes and terrific exercise. The guy in the photo below decided to catch our wake and sit directly behind Eye Candy as we were motoring. I took this photo sitting on the back step. I could have touched his canoe. A good idea but cheating I think :).
 We are the pace car

Avea Bay, Huahine

HELLO HUAHINE
We left Raiatea last Tuesday accompanied by a pod of dolphins who altered course to play in our bow wave. A very welcomed sight which always brings a smile to our faces. We sailed twenty miles in light conditions and sparkling blue seas to the island of Huahine. We knew that there were strong winds coming so we headed to the south east corner of the island and anchored in Avea Bay, a large bay with a good sandy bottom. Our anchor is totally buried which is a good thing as we have had gusts up to thirty knots all week. Fortunately the conditions have not effected us and we have had many lovely walks. We take advantage of the early morning shade and walk for miles along the road. We have also found a great snorkeling spot with many varieties of tropical fish and a couple of resident eagle rays. We have visited this a few times as the water is lovely and warm at 28 degrees; just perfect. There is a resort nearby where we have had evening drinks and watched the sun go down. A lovely way to end a perfect day in very peaceful surroundings.

Our walking track

Found Nemo!

So as you can probably guess, it will be hard to leave. Especially when the added advantage is free Wifi from the nearby resort. We can connect from the boat and so we have had a great time catching up with family and friends. Not such a great time reading all the world news, I thought we had escaped all this craziness!

Sundowners with a view


BACK TO EARTH
Andrew has been busy varnishing the bathroom doors. He has been on a roll, but fortunately he has just about run out of varnish. I appreciate these jobs being done but I am glad to have the dining table back. It is times like this when the boat is in a state of upheaval, that living on boat is like living in the back shed. A back shed with sails, can you imagine it?

The dunny door

UPDATE FROM OUR LAST BLOG
Our friends caught out at sea in storm conditions all survived. Plastic Plankton arrived at Tonga before the storm hit. Flying Cloud travelling to Tonga and Tactical Direction heading for Fiji both got a pasting experiencing at least four days of up to 40 knots and 4-5 metre waves. Both boats suffered damage and crews were shaken. Thankfully they are all well.

The problem we experienced with double payments via Master Card has been resolved. A very worrying and frustrating time for us, but all is well.

SO WHAT’S NEXT
This afternoon we will go to the Island’s main town of Fare for some provisioning. We will stay the night and have dinner out at the Yacht Club. From memory the food is good and Happy Hour is very happy. Tomorrow we will sail around to the east side of the island where there are many terrific bays and much to see.


Love Candy xx

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

2-2017 Settling in

Hi from Clare,                   2-2017 Settling In                                      Sunday 21st May 2017

We are enjoying a gorgeous day at anchor behind a small island on the east side of Raiatea. A little piece of paradise in flat calm water with beautiful views of the mountains and the surrounding reef. Both water and air temperature at 28 degrees makes life very pleasant.

HAPPY TO BE AT ANCHOR
We have friends on ‘’Plastic Plankton’’ and ‘’Flying Cloud’’ transiting from French Polynesia to Tonga expecting up to 40 knots, four metre waves and torrential rain. Also ‘’Tactical Directions’’ transiting from New Zealand to Fiji is slowing down to avoid the same Low Pressure System which is passing through Fiji to Tonga. It doesn’t sound much fun and the weather map looks quite scary, we are very happy to be here safe and sound.

SOME PROBLEMS
Our only aggravation is that Andrew’s Master Card is declining payments but in fact the payments are going through. When Andrew paid the boatyard for six months storage the MC declined the payment so Andrew paid by Visa. However on our bank statement both payments are showing. So as you can imagine we have spent quite an amount of time trying to rectify the problem. Numerous phones calls to MC find us dealing with electronic prompts or being placed in a queue. Not at all satisfactory when calling from overseas. It is not over yet but we are hoping it will resolve itself this week. The MC declined a second time for a smaller amount (but the payment went through) so it seems that Andrew’s MC will be unusable for the rest of the season, which is a bit of a blow.

FUN WITH FRIENDS
We were scheduled to have a pot luck dinner with twenty cruising friends last Sunday, but it was postponed due to rain. So we invited Mark and Cheryl on French Curve to have pot luck on Eye Candy. It was a good night as we haven’t seen Mark and Cheryl since last season. They are now on the hard preparing their boat to go west across the Pacific. The following night with improved weather the pot luck dinner went ahead at Apooiti Marina. Another good night, we meet some lovely people, all enjoying life to the full.

HARD YAKKA
We have now been around to the main town of Uturoa and provisioned the boat. Many walking trips later visiting every supermarket both in and out of town, we now have the basics. We discovered weevils in the rice, pasta and flour products, so these we either did not buy, threw out or manually sifted the product and killed the little devils. After that we got rid of all cardboard and vacuum packed just about everything that didn’t come in a tin. We have learnt that vacuum packing is the only way to stay on top of the problem. So just remember when you drive to your local supermarket and pick up good quality food in one visit; you live in a great country, so enjoy.
Uturoa township from the dock

SO WHAT’S NEXT
This morning I am washing the bed linen and baking bread, hopefully without weevils. Andrew is varnishing parts of the navigation table. Twice now he has touched the freshly painted area by accident, cursed and then laughed. I think we need a big WET PAINT sign. We haven’t made any definite plans yet for the season. We will wait for the sea to settle down before we venture outside our lovely lagoon.
Better than local bread

Varnishing the nav table

Love Candy xx 

Thursday, 11 May 2017

1-2017 Back in the Water

Hi from Clare,                     1-2017 Back in the Water                       10th May 2017

Greetings to our friends and relatives. We are excited about another year of cruising and very happy to relaunch yesterday after ten very hot and humid days on the hard. Any excess weight we put on whilst at home feasting like kings has now been sweated off.

THE WORK

As this is our thirteenth year on the boat we needed to change the rigging and replace some sea cocks. Andrew ordered the rigging before we came home last year so we could get straight into it. Fortunately we had some help from our friend Rob on “Athanor“. Usually I hoist Andrew up the mast by using the electric anchor winch but as we needed all the spare halyards to secure the mast, Rob and I had the job of manually hoisting Andrew up and down the mast far too many times for my liking :) Andrew also had a physically hard job wrestling with the wires, but an even harder job wrestling with his mind knowing he was a long way from the ground supported only by halyards instead of the usual rigging wires. It took three days to replace all the standard rigging, including the fore-stay and back-stay. We drank litres of cold water each day and dripped perspiration non stop. A cold beer at dusk was the most welcomed drink on earth. A few dinners out with yard friends Sylvia and Tom on “Cinnabar“ Linda and Chuck on “Jacaranda““ and Rob on “Athanor“ has also been a welcomed break and morale booster.
Attaching the D2


Refitting the fore-stay
Andrew also changed the sea cocks for the galley and bathroom sinks and together we completed all the usual annual jobs which need to be done. Eye Candy was in good condition when we returned helped greatly by having a dehumidifier installed and employing the services of a boat manager to check and air the boat regularly. One boat near us on the hard didn‘t do this and came back to endless mold. The poor woman needed to wash everything. Pretty hard considering there are no washing machines at the boat yard.

Scrubbing the deck

Out with fellow cruisers

THE THIEF

The only surprise we had was a break in. The boat yard apparently tried to contact us in March but misspelled our email address. The intruder kicked in the door of the companion way, but the boat manager thought nothing had been taken. The yard repaired and replaced the door before we returned. This was not the boat yard‘s first break in and the thief targeted mainly alcohol. We lost our end-of-year supplies which consisted of nine bottles of spirits, three red wine and one beer. We consider ourselves lucky as nothing else was disturbed. Rob on Athanor lost all his alcohol also, his supplies very much more substantial than ours.

TO CATCH A THIEF

One night Andrew got up at 3am and could hear the floor boards squeaking in the neighboring boat. The boat was vacant and due to launch in a few days. Andrew could see a torch light inside the boat and so he called me. We turned our cockpit light on and took a flash photo of the boat. The torch light went out and there was no movement in the boat. We went down our ladder and found that the thief and hosted a ladder up against the side of the neighboring boat, his thongs were at the bottom of the ladder. We took a photo of his thongs and then removed the ladder from the side of the boat. We spent the next two hours watching from the shadow of our cockpit and wondering what was the best thing to do. We did not have the phone number of the local police. The thief was actively searching through the boat. We could see him using a headlamp, a small red light and the larger torch. He was being very careful, if he bumped anything or made a noise, he would go quiet for about twenty minutes. Eventually when the street lights went out around 5 am the thief emerged from the forward hatch. We called out to him and he scurried off down the side of the boat to where the ladder had been. Meanwhile Andrew went down our ladder and continued taking photos. Andrew figured the thief would jump off the transom at the back and so was waiting for him there. He took this wonderful photo. The thief said in English, “No photos “Andrew said “Why not?“ the thief said “I will shoot you“ Andrew said “ F... off!“

Gotcha!


SO WHAT NOW

We are having a quiet day catching up with emails and paperwork. We haven‘t made a plan for the season yet but we will stay in French Polynesia.




love Candy xx