Tuesday, 17 October 2017

11-2017 Bora Bora to Raiatea

Hi from Clare,            11-2017 Bora Bora to Raiatea          Monday 16th October 2017

We spent two weeks on the SE corner of Bora Bora in the company of good friends Martin and Ellen on Acapella. We had a fun time snorkelling, walking the beach, sharing Happy Hour, meals and many laughs. The weather was warm and sunny but very windy. Perfect conditions for our friends on Pangea and Shindig who are keen Kite Boarders. As the days went by, the strong wind made the drift snorkel on the corner of the island even more adventurous. We, along with Martin and Ellen would walk along the inner reef for a hundred metres then drift all the way back to the corner. Great fun as we felt like we were flying. This anchorage is just a perfect spot, with a very pretty mountain, sandy beaches, lovely shallow warm sparkling water and good holding. We put out two anchors to stop Eye Candy from sailing around in the wind. It made all the difference and we sat still for days. Twice we left and motored a few miles around to the north east side of the island to get some Wifi. It was much more windy there which made us appreciate how well protected we were on the S/E corner.





More Snorkelling

More walking

Sundowners on Eye Candy with Mile, Clare, Andrew, Katie and Martin

Raising the second anchor

While we waited for a weather window to sail back to Raiatea we watched with sympathy the charter yachts come and go. The usual charter period is for one week and for most people it would be part of their annual holiday. The charter skippers have a schedule to follow and the boats return to base on Friday regardless of the weather. We would see them leave the calm waters of the Bora Bora pass into a three metre swell and a 20-25 knot wind on the nose for their 5-6 hour trip back to Raiatea. Certainly not much fun and a situation we hoped to avoid.

We ended up with a nine hour weather window on 8th October when the wind changed from SE to ENE as a convergent zone passed over. Both Acapella and Eye Candy sailed back to Raiatea comfortably, although experiencing rain and headed for the Motu of Tipaemau on the east side of Raiatea. We anchored and then backed up and tied to a coconut tree before the wind went back to the SE and gathered strength for the next few days. We however sat in flat calm water. Andrew and I took the opportunity to host the mainsail to dry and then pack away for the season. It rained a lot but between showers we also dried the jib and packed that away. The lousy weather conditions were made a lot cheerier by having Martin and Ellen’s company for drinks, coffee breaks and many chats.

Acapella and Eye Candy In the calm Med moored behind Motu Tipaemau

We parted company two days ago and headed ten miles down to The Carenage where we will haul out on Thursday. We are suffering separation anxiety but we can look forward to seeing Martin and Ellen next season. Since arriving here it has rained every day and night, just what one needs when trying to pack the boat up. The forecast is for heavy rain for the next two days. At this stage it looks to be fine on Thursday for haul out. Yesterday, during a dry patch, we took the borrowed ship’s radio back to Olivier and Vivian on Mary Anne. So no more Magellan Net and no more Net Controller responsibilities for Andrew. It seems very strange not to have the various nets running. I think Andrew is suffering withdrawals. We still have the local VHF chattering away for company, even if it is in French. Andrew listens and tells me that there is a missing kite surfer or boat in trouble – his understanding of French has improved out of site:)

Tied to the old ferry for shelter

The bleak anchorage nearby


According to the forecast, wind, rain, rain, rain, wind, rain and more. We have tied up to this old Ferry which permanently sits just off the travel lift at the Carenage. It is quite secure here and much calmer than bouncing around on a mooring ball in the nearby anchorage. Last night it was very windy and one of the unoccupied boats broke free from its mooring and drifted half a mile before running aground on the sand bank.
We fly out of Raiatea on Sunday and arrive back in Australia on Tuesday afternoon. We will return to French Polynesia late March 2018 and travel west to Fiji. But for now we are looking forward to coming home to see family and friends and hug our wonderful little Grandchildren.

Love Candy xxx
P.S, Last year when we hauled out here our boat was broken into and our alcohol stolen.

We have solved that problem, that won't happen this year – hic!

Saturday, 30 September 2017

10-2017 Beautiful Bora Bora

Hi from Clare,      10-2017 Beautiful Bora Bora                         Sunday 24th September 2017

Since our last newsletter we have sailed from Huahine to Raiatea and then on to Bora Bora.
We are anchored in the S/E corner of Bora Bora where there is no Internet. My apologies for this newsletter being a bit late.

We always enjoy Huahine as it has much to offer with peaceful anchorages, clear water, good snorkelling, nice restaurants and in the main town of Fare, a comprehensive Supermarket supported by a daily street market selling local fruits, vegetables and fresh sea food. The Huahine people are very welcoming, helpful and proud of their island. Everywhere we have been on the island the gardens and roadsides are trimmed and manicured. The locals are out raking up leaves and picking up any litter. It is not unusual to be asked by a resident if we like their island. Well who wouldn’t?
This could well be our last visit to Huahine but if so we take with us many happy memories.

Anchored in Avea Bay, Huahine

We sailed to Raiatea some twenty miles away and checked with the boatyard that everything is in order for hauling out on 19th October. Thankfully there were no surprises and so we can now relax and enjoy our few remaining weeks. We anchored behind the small and deserted Motu of Tipaemau. It is just a little moon shaped spit covered by coconut trees, great protection from the prevailing S/E wind and totally peaceful in flat calm and glassy water. We spent a few days soaking up the sun, swimming in warm water and enjoying the solitude. Andrew completed his project of covering the dinghy with sticky back sun cloth. A very tricky job as one mistake and the material will stick to itself. Definitely a job for Andrew, he is the only one on Eye Candy with sufficient patience:).

Calm behind the palm trees in Motu Tapaemau
The dinghy cover completed

Whilst in Raiatea we caught up with Olivier and Vivian on Maryanne. They have been doing major projects and living on their yacht in Apooiti Marina for nearly twelve months. Olivier offered Andrew the use of his radio for the remainder of the season. At first we thought we wouldn’t bother, don’t ask me why we thought that, twenty four hours later Olivier’s radio was installed on Eye Candy. Once again Andrew has spent time on his knees under the nav station fiddling with the radio to improve performance. It is working well now and Andrew has re-established himself as a Net Controller on his much loved Polynesian Magellan Net. So with an HF Radio we once again have daily weather forecasts and contact with our friends which provides a great deal of pleasure and enhances the cruising experience.

On Sunday 17th and with no wind, we motored the thirty miles from Raiatea to Bora Bora to meet up with our good friends Martin and Ellen on Acapella. As we spent time in Bora Bora last season, the loose plan is that we travel together and guide Acapella through the shallow waters of the island. We firstly went to Bloody Mary’s as this is a very well known restaurant frequented by many celebrities since it’s establishment in 1989. There are honour boards outside the restaurant listing the celebrities names. Quite a novel idea and interesting reading. We participated in Happy Hour twice but didn’t stay for a meal. On both nights there were large parties from the Resorts and the place was packed.

Ellen, Martin and Andrew waiting for Happy Hour

Other celebrities who have visited Bloody Mary's

We climbed the hillside behind Bloody Mary’s and enjoyed the view of the bay and surrounding waterway. We then walked along the waterfront to Matira Point arriving back at the boat some three hours later. The following day we motored inside the lagoon in shallow water half way down the east side of the island. This is where the various Resorts have built hundreds of bungalows out over the water. The water is vivid aqua and the sea floor thick sand. We saw 2.9 metres which is quite shallow enough as we draw 2.1 metres. We anchored near the St Regis Resort and did some snorkelling before continuing on to the south east corner of Bora Bora. This is a very beautiful area with a stunning view of the mountain, surrounded by aqua water and sandy beaches. There is very little motor boat traffic which helps greatly to the tranquillity of the anchorage.

Andrew, Ellen, Clare and Martin at the lookout

View from Bloody Marys lookout
Along the walk to Pt Matira

Yesterday morning we all went snorkelling to a favourite spot where the day boats come our from the Resorts. The coral is good and the fish prolific as they are hand fed. It would be nice if we could time it right to avoid the Resort boats and have the area to ourselves, but not much chance. However it is still fantastic and the visibility is very good. In the afternoon Andrew and I went to the very corner of the motu and did a drift snorkel. The weather looked a little inclement when we left Eye Candy and not long into the snorkel it poured rain. At first I couldn’t work out what the noise was but soon realised it was the rain pelting on my wet suit. It reminded me of my childhood when swimming in the rain was considered heaps of fun.

Clare amongst the fish

We have also enjoyed walks on the beach and morning coffee or Sundowners with our friends Martin and Ellen. Rob on “Shindig” and Mike and Katie on “Pangea” have arrived in the bay and so the seven of us are having Sundowners on Shindig this afternoon. We are looking forward to catching up with everyone, it will be fun.

This afternoon we will try for another snorkel. The weather is very changeable but at present it is sunny and calm. We best get out and make the most of it.

Love Candy xx

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

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