More crew wanted for Tropicbird as she cruises the South Pacific. We have already arrived from the Galapagos to the Marquesas via the Tuamotu islands to Tahiti and the Society islands.
The Tuamotu islands are between the Marquesas and Tahiti and worthy of much exploration given enough time, unfortunately my timetable would not accommodate this. However I decided that I had best see at least one Tuamotu island so I entered the lagoon of Rangiroa which was somewhat challenging. There is a break in the reef with little room for mistakes whilst negotiating the entrance exit channel. However all the nerves soon settled down once inside the huge lagoon. A tropical paradise.
Anchored for a whole day gave the opportunity to rest from the previous passage and do some snorkeling. It was like swimming in an aquarium. Various coral fish including huge Angel fish and lots of brilliant color. I also hitchhiked to the nearest village and bought provisions. It was great to be walking through the village seeing all the everyday activities of the populace.
Onward to Tahiti where I entered the main harbor, only to find no place to anchor so around I turned. The chart showed a passage to Tahiti yacht club. Here was another challenge, first to enter a break in the reef using red and white leading markers and then decipher the handing of the red and green buoys. Being French the buoys are not necessarily ‘red right returning’ in the American fashion. In fact they change during passages and one must keep a good eye on cardinal markers expressing the change of polarity.
Once lined up with the transit markers there is a hard turn to port and the first red and green buoys appear. Between these my echo sounder reduced to nine feet of water depth and activated the alarm, happening at the same time as the passage reduced to just twenty feet each side of my boat. Once through this opening the path I zigzagged around an inner coral patch which one must motor around before getting to the yacht club. Fascinating in its own way with two ‘hand’ changes along the way.
Exiting was easy enough, I had tracked my arrival so there were some clues to a safe path. From here we sailed to Huahine which proved to be a delightful island. There was a fruit and vegetable market on the waterfront and lots of people around and few ‘cruisers’. Certainly we experienced the full flavor of island life.
The day consisted of relaxation and more snorkeling for lobster which resulted in no lobster but the sighting of a white tip shark and lots of colorful fish. The evening followed an established pattern of cooking dinner (usually with a pressure cooker) and eating dinner whilst watching a movie. Sometimes we would opt for sleeping on deck or in hammocks under the stars. Sleep is deep and restful, in fact so good that most crew rise with the sun.
Early morning we up anchored and with very little swell and a nice breeze leisurely sailed downwind to Riatera. Again entering the channel using transit markers and red and green bouys. There are two islands which one can sail between all within a parameter reef. As we looked for a place to anchor we found depths no less than sixty feet unlit we noticed a catamaran anchor outside a yacht club. This was the only place with a reasonable depth of about thirty feet so I anchored next door. This position proved just big enough for two anchored vessels since all around the thirty foot patch the depth was eighty feet plus. One of my crew dived on the anchor to be sure it was secure and had to tip it into a secure position.
More to follow……………………
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