Wednesday, 2 August 2017

7-2017 The Final Night of Heiva

Hi from Clare,           7-2017 The Final Night of Heiva                 Monday 31st July 2017

As mentioned in our last Blog, we had tickets for Saturday night, the last dance concert of the Heiva Festival 2017. We saw four dance performances, that is the second and third place winners in two different categories. Each performance lasted one hour and all four were excellent. I managed to sneak a few photos for you but it was difficult to photograph the moving dancers without blurring.

The Friday evening concert showcased the first place dance winners and the first place singing winners in both categories. As luck would have it we saw the winning dance troupe competing on the first night we attended a concert. We came away that night thinking surely they would win. We had no way of knowing the standard, all we were acknowledging was their excellence.

We didn’t attend the Sports Day but some of our friends said the javelin throwing was terrific. The target was a coconut some distance away up on a pole and the coconut was banded like a dart board. The bulls eye was the top of the coconut. They also had a stone lifting competition and the winner lifted 160 kilos. My friend said he lifted it up onto his shoulders without problems. She also commented that his muscley body was a very nice bit of Eye Candy.

So the Heiva Festival has been a wonderful experience for us. We are grateful to have had the opportunity to see the Polynesian people celebrating their Maohi culture. They are gifted with a wonderful sense of rhythm and theatre. Much to our disappointment the nightly drumming practice in the anchorage has stopped, all is quiet. Elvis has left the building, so to speak. However early next year they will start practising again to achieve excellence for the 136th Heiva Festival in July.

So hopefully today is Andrew’s last dental appointment to have his crown fitted to a back tooth on his right lower jaw. Last week after the temporary was fitted Andrew was experiencing pain on the left side of his face. He emailed the dentist who saw him that day during her lunch hour. She x Rayed the left side of his face, determined that there was nothing wrong with his teeth and said he most probably had an infection in his sinus. She then gave Andrew a script for an antibiotic which has fixed the problem. This emergency consultation including the x Ray cost $50; pretty impressive.

The dentist is situated in the city of Papeete and we are anchored some five miles away at the Tahiti Yacht Club. We can go to the city by dinghy if the water is not too rough. A few weeks ago I was wearing a pedometer on one such trip. The dinghy was bouncing up and down and by the end of the trip according to my pedometer I had walked eight thousand steps. However today, because the water is rough, Andrew has borrowed a bicycle from our Aussie mate Roger on Ednbal. He did the same last week and said he only got yelled at once by another cyclist sharing the same footpath. The roadway is far too hectic, they don’t have many traffic lights but plenty of pedestrian crossings. The motorists are very good and put their hazard lights on to acknowledge that you are entering the crossing and that they will stop. In the beginning for us it was a leap of faith but it works well and with must less interruption to the traffic flow. The public bus is another story, it has no timetable. It arrives when it arrives and leaves the terminus when it is full. You may wait five minutes but you may wait half an hour. There are no buses Saturday afternoon, Sunday or any day after dark. This sounds like a very laid back Polynesian approach to me:).

We have a pot luck dinner ashore tonight with the other boats in the anchorage. It has been quite windy for the past two days and so most of us have stayed on our boats. It will be nice to go ashore and have a bit of a break.

As soon as the winds drops we will set off to Moorea and explore the eastern end of the island. We are looking forward to getting away from the city and finding a peaceful bay. We are all primed and ready to polish the boat. All we need is no interruptions.

Love Candy xx


Thursday, 20 July 2017

6-2017 Fun and Games

Hi from Clare,           6-2017 Fun and Games                         Monday 17th July 2017

We had a fun week on the beautiful Island of Moorea meeting many new Cruisers before the eighty odd boats participating in the Pacific Puddle Jump continued on to New Zealand and Australia. Fortunately for us our very good Dutch friends Martin and Ellen are staying in French Polynesia for a while. We are enjoying their company sharing meals, drinks and activities. One of the highlights was going to Stingray City together. There were plenty of sharks, stingrays and people in the water and much thrashing about as the local operator feed the fish. At first it was a bit intimidating slipping into the water with so many sharks swimming close by but we soon came to enjoy this unique and wonderful experience.

Follow the leader

Look out for these!

Fresh prawns from the prawn farm was another highlight. The raw prawns, sweet and juicy, were so fresh that they had absolutely no odour to them even after being boxed in the fridge for a few hours. Ellen and I joined together and cooked two separate dishes and hosted a dinner party fit for Kings, namely our kings Martin and Andrew.

Beautiful Moorea
We sailed back to the Island of Tahiti as our friends needed to fly home to the Netherlands for a few weeks. We also decided to return to the city as our HF Radio broke down after thirteen years of excellent operation. The relays were chattering so badly we couldn’t hear or transmit. For those of you who know Andrew and his love for the radio you will understand that this was a minor disaster. Fortunately we are not planning an ocean crossing this year or the breakdown would be escalated to a ‘major disaster’. When at sea and away from the internet, this is how we get daily weather reports, emails and communicate with the world. Since returning to Tahiti we have researched every avenue for a replacement. We considered having a new radio flown in at great expense and or advertising for a second hand radio from another Cruiser. However Martin came to the rescue and lent us his radio for the period he is away. At present Andrew is happily listening to a Radio Net in the States and we are back on air and in daily contact with our friends on the Polynesian Magellan Net. Today we spoke to an Aussie who has two broken radios on his boat that he keeps for spare parts. Andrew might be able to source some relays from him and repair our radio; this possibility is still developing.

The Papeete City Market

Papeete City Marina
In the month of July Tahiti is celebrating it’s 135th Heiva Festival. Papeete (Tahiti Capital City) is alive with competitions of dancing, drumming, singing, traditional sports and arts and crafts exhibition. We enjoyed watching the Fruit Carriers Race. The competitors from both sexes are barefoot and across their shoulders they carry a pole (log)with fruits tied onto it. The race is 1,705 metres and the weight of fruit varies from 15 kilos for the women to 20, 30 or 50 kilos for the men. As you can see from the photos the men are dressed in only a loin cloth which was a bit interesting:) Other events include Javelin Throwing, Stone-Lifting, Copra Preparation and Canoe Races.
The Men are ready

The fruit is ready

The dancing, drumming and singing competitions are staged over six evenings with a total of 2,260 artists performing to celebrate the Polynesian Culture. Each performance has hundreds of dancers on the floor. The men are fierce and athletic and the woman supple and graceful. The solo performances showcase the best dancers, what a treat.

The musicians are on an elevated stage and drumming with a number of different drums to produce rhythmical and powerful music that penetrated our very core. At one performance apart from the musicians on stage there were about fifty drums around the edge of the dance floor. The hairs on my arms were standing on end.

A sneak photo

We have tickets for Saturday night which is the last night. We will see the 2nd and 3rd place winners. The 1st place winners will be performing the night before but that concert has been sold out for some time. We have already attended two concerts however as it is a competition, photographs are not allowed. I did sneak two shots on our iPhone. One is of the woman who sat in front of me; the biggest woman I have ever seen and with a massive head of hair. Although the seats are tiered, when she sat down it was like a total black out. In addition the seats are allocated and the auditorium was packed, how’s that for bad luck:) Andrew was standing next to her at intermission and said she was about six foot four inches tall. Fortunately for me she changed seats with a friend after intermission.

We have spent a few days in the City Marina at Papeete giving us access to the festivities and the city. It is very convenient and close to a very good fresh food market. The variety of vegetables is limited. I could write a whole paragraph listing the vegetables I haven’t seen since leaving home. The one I miss the most and hardly ever see is Capsicum. We can get peppers but they are far too hot for our taste. Whilst in the city, Andrew has a few dental appointments as he chipped a tooth earlier in the season and is having it crowned. We have both had a clean and check. The dentistry is of a high standard and a bit less expensive than Australia.

I also had a chance to wash all the covers off the settee in the saloon. We dried them on the boat and then spent a morning wrestling with the cushions putting the covers back on.
They came up beautifully and I am very happy.

We are now anchored outside the Tahiti Yacht Club. We know the cruisers on four other boats here, Ednbal, Pitufa, Alcyone and Monkey Fist. Tonight we are having drinks at the bar and a together. Thursday we will travel into the city and visit the dentist and Saturday we will take the boat back into City Marina. From there we will join fellow cruisers from Cinnabar, Pangaea and Shindig for dinner and the Heiva Concert – how exciting.

Love Candy xx

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

5-2017 Business in Tahiti

Hi from Clare,          5-2017 Business in Tahiti                Monday 26th June 2017

We came back to Tahiti mainly to shop for the boat, but at the same time we have enjoyed good company, lovely sunsets, snorkeling on the reef and secluded anchorages. We watched from our boat a thousand Polynesians participate in a canoe race which took a number of hours to complete. A thousand canoeists coming towards us look like ants on the water. But close up we could see the muscles in their arms, shoulders and back working hard; very fit people and lovely to watch.

One of our recent highlights was the arrival of Dutch friends Martin an Ellen on Acapella. We spent six months with them in 2014 cruising the Caribbean and diving in Bonaire. They, like us haven’t aged one bit over the last three years:) We will spend the next few weeks together before they return to the Netherlands. Our Aussie mates Roger and Sasha on Ednbal are here also, it makes all the difference having fun play mates. Also there has been no shortage of drinks and dinners out, giving us the opportunity to met the other cruisers in the anchorage.

Andrew, Ellen and Martin

Clare and the gang

We had a busy time boat shopping in Tahiti but now we have full supplies of cooking gas, diesel and petrol for the dinghy. We had our life raft serviced and bought spare parts for the fridge motor and a length of spectra to make a new backstay. Andrew is currently running a larger wire from the battery bank to the fridge - more grunting:) I have done quite a few loads of washing at the Tahiti Yacht Club as it is the first public washing machine I have found since we came here in May. We also went to the Polynesia Trading Company and stocked up on bulk nuts and breakfast cereal. More trips to the Supermarket carrying heavy loads – my turn to grunt:)

Andrew talking to wires

Yesterday we had a lovely twenty miles sail with a fifteen knot wind behind us, from Tahiti to Cook’s Bay on the island of Moorea. The Pacific Puddle Jump Rendezvous is being held here with some forty boats attending. These are the boats that came from the west coast of the USA and through the Panama Canal earlier this year and have now arrived in Tahiti. This is an annual event but we missed the rendezvous the year we came through as we went home for nine months and left the boat in the Marquesas. Martin and Ellen on Acapella have been having a ball participating in the Rendezvous and yesterday we went into the Bali Hi Resort and joined them for the last of the celebrations. We met a number of people we have spoken to on the Radio Net and so now we have the beginning of new friendships.

Puddle Jump Rendezvous

Cook’s Bay is a lovely calm anchorage and things a fairly quiet here today. I think all the cruisers are recovering from two days of partying. Stephanie, the French lady organising the Puddle Jump Rendezvous, we met in 2000 when we competed in the Tahiti Off-Shore Cup. She hasn’t changed a bit and she immediately mentioned Trevor Joyce the Australian co organizer of the event back then. To our Aussie friends back home Colin and Denise you will be pleased to hear that baguettes and croissants are still being delivered to the boats early each morning. This was one of the highlights of our experience back in 2000 and yesterday Stephanie commented “It works, why change it”. Who can disagree!

Cooks Bay, Moorea

We will stay here in Moorea for a few days enjoying all that this wonderful island has to offer. Stingray City, Belvedere Look Out, the Agricultural College with its home-made ice cream, the Tropical Garden, ancient Mares, fresh prawns from the prawn farm on Wednesday morning and just gorgeous sunshine and sparkling water.

Love Candy xx

Friday, 16 June 2017

4-2017 East Side of Huahine

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

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)

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


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

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
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.

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.


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 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.


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!“



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