Saturday, July 17, 2010

Opunohu Bay - Moorea

Moorea, Society Archipelago, French Polynesia

Moorea is another beautiful island in the Windward Group of Islands. We arrived to the tall spires of a series of bold mountain tops, and two bays that push deep inland. We anchored in Opunohu Bay, reputed to be the more beautiful of the two, although somewhat more remote. We're on the outside edge of the bay, protected from the swell by the coral lagoon, but within reach of the winds that are howling by. Comfortingly, our anchor is set better than ever, dug deeply into the sand, and completely invisible!

There are about 8 other boats here, some that we've seen continually throughout our journey, and others that are new to us. Last night we enjoyed happy hour on the beach with a few other boats, and tonight we've organized a beach bbq. Luckily, SV Dignity offered to pick up some more beer for us at their last anchorage! We're down to our last few cans.

Yesterday, we hiked to a few archaeological ruins, and then to a stunning viewpoint. Although the marae were quite ancient and interesting, they were not as impressive as the ruins in the Marquesas. But...there were interpretive signs, in French, Tahitian, and English, so at least we were able to learn something of the activities that happened here. We also made our way to a more touristy area of the island, and poked through some of the shops. Although it was only 4:30 when we wanted to return, all the buses had stopped for the day, and it took forever to get a ride back to the bay where our dinghy was! We think that hitchhiking must be illegal here, as it is much more difficult to catch a ride with the locals.

Our Position: 17°29.35'S and 149°51.05'W

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Point Venus - Tahiti

Point Venus, Tahiti, Society Archipelago, French Polynesia

After fixing our bilge pumps, we said goodbye to our friends here, left the bustling metropolis of Papeete, and headed to Point Venus. Our friend Chris on Namaste had told us this was a great windsurf spot, and we were keen to check it out. There was a raging wind on the way up there, and once we set the hook, we still felt obliged for one of us to stay on the boat, to make sure we didn't find ourselves half way across the lagoon!

The boys checked out the black sand beach, went in search of the windsurfing spot, and chatted with a few of the competitors who are here for an world outrigger race.

FINALLY. I paddled a va'a!! For the last two months, since the Marquesas, we see outrigger canoes everywhere. There is one in every yard, every beach has several, and they are always being paddled through the anchorages. Their elegant lines as they glide through the water make me drool (to say nothing of the mostly fine looking Polynesian men at the helm)!! I've been dying to paddle in one. This morning, I had my chance. A New Zealand girl stopped by the boat to chat, and when she came aboard for a tour, she let me take out her canoe for a spin! It was awesome...not nearly as tippy as I had expected, but very fast. I'll need to practice to get my changes up to speed, but I can't wait to bring one of these home next year :O) Hmmm...logistics.

We discovered the windsurfing spot on the far side of the point, but with the wind raging, the swell was enormous. It would be impossible to get there by dinghy, and very uncomfortable with the big boat. Since there are other windsurf spots ahead of us and now that we'll be home in a few weeks, the intense desire to set up the gear has settled and we decided to save ourselves the bash, and head to Moorea.

Our Position: 17°29.89'S and 149°29.71'W

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sand Bar Sunday

So...picture this...

Crystal blue, warm water.
Standing up to your waist.
Tying the dinghy to the volleyball net.
One-handed volleyball (beer in the other hand).
Numerous floating tiki bars.
People EVERYWHERE on floaty toys.
Music radiating.

This is Sunday at the sand bar. Crazy. But true.

Alex and Kate picked us up, and we spent the afternoon lounging on the sand bar. It was a fabulous way to meet more cruisers and cool off. We had planned to leave that morning, but decided to spend one more night, as the bilge pump was giving us problems. Good decision!! Unfortunately, one night turned into two, as we needed to spend the next day in recovery mode. Sheesh.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Dancing and Eclipse!

Tahiti, French Polynesia

Throughout the month of July is a large festival in Tahiti called Heiva. There are dancing and singing competitions, as well as sporting events. Some of the sporting events include outrigger canoe races, coconut husking, rock lifting, javelin, etc. We haven't seen any of the sport competitions, but we did get to take in one of the evenings of dance competitions. What an experience!!

There were about a hundred dancers on the stage performing routines involving a lot of hip-wiggling (women) and foot stamping (men). It was phenomenal. Unfortunately, taking photos of the performance was prohibited. So sad. The costumes were fabulous - lots of grass skirts, bikini tops and ornate headwear. Mike and John were continuously hoping for a wardrobe malfunction, and got lucky on a couple of occasions!

There are many people here in Tahiti who have come especially for the eclipse. From here, the sun is over 99% concealed by the moon. For an hour this morning, we enjoyed our morning tea and coffee in the cockpit with our fancy eclipse glasses, and watched as the moon covered all but the smallest sliver of the sun. Very cool.