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