Monday, June 25, 2012

Puddle Jump Rendezvous

The Pacific Puddle Jump fleet met up this year (as it has for the past seven years) at Papeete. On Friday June 22 we headed downtown with Karen from 'Chapter Two'. Mike stayed on the boat as he was tired out from a day of trying without success to locate a fuel line fitting for their diesel. The old fitting broke the day before, so they will not be able to take part in the sail tomorrow to Moorea.

The Friday event consisted of a welcome party hosted by the tourism folks and Latitude 38 - a sailing magazine out of San Francisco that is the driving force behind the event. There were traditional dances and the cruisers were 'taught' to do some of these, with mixed and, at times, embarrassing results. There was a blessing of the skippers that required us to shout in Tahitian and jump around as a group in a graceless imitation of our Polynesian teachers. This was followed by a tasting of wines made from grapes grown on the atoll of Rangiroa. A tropical atoll is a very unlikely place for a vineyard winery. The wines - whites and one rose were quite acidic - even the 'late harvest'. With coral soil, no true period of dormancy for the vines (no winter), and with two harvests a year, this is not a traditional region for growing white wines! However, good wines come out of unlikely places, so perhaps there is a future for Rangiroan wines.

On Saturday we sailed with the fleet of about 30 boats to Moorea. The wind was 15 to 20 knots mostly from behind, so we sailed under jib alone, finishing near the back of the pack. Honours went to the big boats and multihulls, with a 50 foot+ catamaran finishing almost an hour before us over the 18 mile course! We motored through the now very crowded anchorage (picture 60 boats in an area about two football fields long) and anchored near the far end in shallow waters. Next was cocktails on the beach made from local fruit juices and rum and signing up for the canoe races that were to take place on Sunday.

Yesterday (Sunday) was the most fun day, with races and craft demos. Rani and I wove coconut palm baskets and we both took part in banana carrying relay races, a tug of war, and 6 person outrigger canoe races. My team won the banana carrying race (my parents will be proud) and the New Zealand canoe team, which recruited me when a team member failed to show, also won one of their heats and made it to the semi finals.

The only dampener on the event was a 40+ knot squall that swept through the anchorage at 10 pm causing boats to drag and collide with each other and ending the Pacific Puddle Jump with a 'Puddle Bump'. No doubt the details will appear in 'Latitude 38', but it seems that about half a dozen boats broke free and there were a few collisions. People from several boats that had not dragged headed out in their dinghies in the driving rain to help disentangle boats and get them re-anchored. Hopefully no-one was injured and the damage limited to a few scrapes.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Point Venus Canoe Racing

We were one of the marks for a canoe race the day after we arrived in Tahiti. The sailing boat that is shown was taking out friends and family of the canoeists.

6 person canoe passes our friends on 'Xe' - a French yacht that left Mexico with us.

The larger canoes raced 25 kms!

This shot was from a salon portlight

Support boat

The leader of one heat laughs - probably because Rani had cheered him on with a  shout of "Champion!"

Thursday, June 21, 2012

North Fakarava and Rotoava village photos

The text that describes these photos can be found earlier in this blog. 

Aranui 3 cruise and cargo ship arriving at Rotoava

Banana quarters at start of drying process

Drying banana quarters

Pearl oyster floats found on the beaches - we used these to buoy our chain to avoid coral wraps

At the entrance of the catholic church

Interior of catholic church

Alter for religious procession

Alter for religious procession

Priests and lay preachers at procession

Villagers in the procession - note drums and guitars

At the Dream Pearls farm - preparing 3 year old oysters to be seeded

Opening an oyster to insert the seed.

A pearl oyster shell.

Hirifa photos

The text that describes these photos can be found earlier in this blog. Hirifa is a little settlement on the south east side of Fakarava in the Tuamotus.

Maheata with a coconut palm leaf basket she wove.

Solar panels power each of the homes in Hirifa. The batteries are stored in the plastic boxes below.

The reef on the outside of Hirifa was full of live corals.

Corals on the outside reef

Pencil urchin

Sea snails - they are abundant on the reef

Preparing the snails for lunch. Add enough garlic and butter and they are quite good, if a bit chewy.

Conning for coral - we really need ratlines on both sides because on starboard tack the sail blocks the view.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Fakarava south photos

The text that describes these photos can be found earlier in this blog.

Climbing a small coconut palm. Even this little tree was difficult enough to climb!

Sea urchin found on a reef

Crossing a small pass between motus - shoes are necessary due to very rough corals.

These fish would come immediately if we threw any vegetable or fruit scraps overboard.

Walkway between motus. A small resort with thatched cottages is on the far motu.

Coral church at South Fakarava

Chandelier made of shells

Interior of shell church

This pig was attempting to open a coconut

Boat house and wharf - note the spoked wheels that are used to raise the boat. They probably do this because of the  high currents in the pass and the very shallow water.

Wharf at pass

Coral off wharf in pass. The water was incredibly clear and the photo does not do justice to the colours.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Papeete update

Ladybug is tied to a mooring ball at the Papeete Yacht Club. This is the first time since we have owned her that she has been on a mooring! The yacht club has a few moorings that are sometimes available, if a member is away sailing, for a nominal price. The staff here are friendly and the club has an active children's sailing program and Sunday races just like back in Victoria. We are a little outside town, but the anchorage is quiet and it costs only $1 to take the bus in to Papeete.

On our first day here we walked back toward Point Venus and visited the royal graveyard (the earlier kings get only a small uninscribed rock and a raked patch of gravel to mark their final resting place). Further along we heard someone playing ukulele in a park and stopped to listen. A group of Tahtians - an extended family it turned out - invited us over and handed us a big bottle of Hinano. We chatted with them in French and learned that they come to the park on the weekends or when they are not working and sing and drink and hang out. Everyone was very friendly - and just a bit inebriated. Some were smoking Tahitian tobacco - I think this was marijuana - and they offered us some too.

They told us that we tourists see this island differently and think everything is good, but they feel that things have been getting progressively worse, economically and because of losing their traditional ways (for example obesity in children due to a diet high in processed foods). It would be interesting to get to know these people better, so when we heard that one family was planning to go to Moorea on the weekend, we suggested they come with us. We will be sailing there as part of the Tahiti Moorea Rally on Saturday.

The next day, we were like kids in a candy store during our first visit to a large Carrefour grocery shop. It has been more than 3 months since we have had access to such variety and we found ourselves just standing and staring at shelf upon shelf of chocolates and rows of different juice cartons. The prices here are nowhere near those in the more easterly islands and we stocked up on fresh veggies and fruit, including apples from New Zealand and sweet crunchy local cucumbers. Cheese was especially good value at about $2.50 for a delicious ripe Camenbert.

I have begun work on the roller furler having found replacement bearings at a store in Papeete, which sells only bearings (can you believe that?!) Not only did I find the right bearings, but it turns out that Marc, a live-aboard member of the yacht club, worked in France for Profurl (the maker of our furler) for more than 10 years. He was in charge of testing all the materials and construction of th furlers. Marc has agreed to help me fix the problem. He started by telling me I need to buy replacement rubber seals as the ones I have cannot be re-used. The next step will be to try to remove the old bearing race pieces, which are pressed in place and held with large, hard to reach cir-clips. Marc has also written about how to modify the furler drum to include grease nipples, so that it can be kept filled with grease. This should help prevent the destruction of the bearings that happened to us en route to Fatu Hiva.

We will be in Papeete area until Saturday when we 'race' to Moorea. We plan to return here in a week or two for the Dance festival.

Pictures from Hakaui and Hakatea - Daniels Bay

Some pictures to accompany an earlier post on our visit to Daniel's Bay.

Crossing the stream on the way to Vaipo falls (near Hakaui).

Rani tries her hand at being a fearsome Marquesan with Marquesans, Kua, Teiki, and Teiki whom we met on the road to the Vaipo falls. They were selling fruit and vegetables to cruisers.

Teiki  showing us how his ancestors would prepare for a boar hunt - note the tusks. 

A Marquesan larakeet in a papaya tree. These birds are very hard to see in the woods because their colour perfectly matches the background.

Vaipo Falls - a 900+ foot cascade. 
Crossing the stream - note the hard hat - necessary due to rock falls.

Teiki asked us for a picture and, having no printer, Rani drew this sketch from  the above photo.

We met a carver named Augustin who had practiced his art on the dining room table (part of the table top).

Preparing breadfruit to make `breadfruit chips`

Inside of breadfruit