Our exhillerating sail back from Tuamotu Islands was super fast. I was sad to say good bye to Fakarava but we needed to get back to Moorea to meet my brother Charlie and his lovely family who are coming in a few days. We are all very excited to be spending a few weeks together in such a wonderfull place, he has two younger boys, Harry and Freddy, Oli and Liz cannot wait to hang out with their little cousins. Mum and Dad’s peace and quiet will be truely ruined by all their Grandchildren in one place – something they are very happy about I suspect.
On the way back we didnt really use the engine as the wind was so perfect. We averaged 5 or 6 knots with the breeze blowing 15 from behind. As we approached Tahiti on the third day it became apparent that we would not make our final destination on the West Coast so we decided to pull into Matavia Bay in the North. This rather famous spot is where Captian Cook first pulled up and built his observitory for the alignment of Venus many years ago. This was supposed to be an opportunity to take some important measurements that would aid navigation greatly, however it didnt work with their inacurate instruments although in theory it would have if they had the right kit from more modern times. The spit of land that surrounds Matavia Bay is now known as Venus Point and has a lighthouse marking Tahiti’s most Northerly headland. The sand on the Northern side is black unlike the white coral sands on the rest of the Island. I could visualise what it must have been like all that time ago for Cook and his men, arriving at this foreign land with the shores lined with exotic Tahitians waiting to welcome the sailors to their island. How unbeleivably different it must of been to anything they could have imagined during their months at sea.
As we entered the pass to get into the protected lagoon in the bay our engine wouldn’t work. Dad attempted a few tricks but nothing would put it into gear. We very quickly decided to keep the sails up and brave the pass with no engine – well if Cook could do it then surely we could?? The wind had dropped considerably and was now on the nose so we had to sail into the wind again. The water was flat which helped Oli on the deck looking out for shallow spots. I trimmed the sails and Dad skillfully sailed us safely in past the shallow coral reef. We quickly found a spot to anchor and dropped the sails.
It was sad because as we came in there were lots if spinner dolphins playing, if our engine had worked I am sure we could have enjoyed watching them more. Instead we had to really concentrate on the job at hand. They are incredible animals and often hang around on the entrances to the lagoons where fish are plenty.
After a good night’s sleep we got up early to get on our way. After a quick check of the engine ( incase it had magically fixed itself during the night) we hoisted the sails, then the anchor and sailed back out of the pass to finish the last 20 miles of the trip where Mum and Liz awaited our arrival. For most of it the wind was blowing us right where we wanted to go but the last mile or so before the next pass into the lagoon at Taina it dropped. With no engine we hooked the dinghy up alongside and started up the outboard. We lashed the tiller into the middle and turned it to half power. This was just enough to push Larka at about 2/3 knots and as long as there was no current in the pass we would be fine getting in. We were in luck – no current! However there were more spinner dolphins waiting to tease us as we couldn’t stop to watch and enjoy them yet again. This time they were surfing and swimming with some lucky snorkellers and surfers who happened to be in the right place at the right time. We sadly passed them by as our trusty dinghy with its little engine pushed our rediculously heavy yacht into the pass, up the channel and on to the anchorage…. good little boat!
It wasn’t until today that Adrian, the engineer told us we need a new gear box! So we are here for a few days I reckon.
Last time we visited these rather unique and enchanting islands I regretted not spending more time on Tahiti itself. We sailed to Moorea, Huaine, Ta’aa, Raitea and the famous Bora Bora exploring both above and below the surface of their pristine turquoise seas. On the islands themselves we ventured into most of the main villages and harbours, occasionally hiking in the lush green mountains. By the time it was time to go home we saved little time to explore Tahiti itself. We did however get the chance to hang out in the main town Papeete before our flight. I remember mostly from this the vibrant indoor market which sells everything you could imagine but mostly fruit, veg and the famous Tahitian Pearls.
Hopefully we will be able to spend the next few days exploring this Island more, while we wait for a new/fix the gear box. Today the plan is to do some bus hopping yippee!!
I have also booked a dive tomorrow with a local company to a place called White Valley, this is the spot where I am most likely to see Tiger Sharks without the aid of chumming and feeding (other firms do this). I am keeping my fingers and toes crossed for a sighting although I am a little nervous as they can grow pretty big compared to your average reef shark which I have so far encountered. Apparently they are also quite interactive with divers??? It is a slightly deeper dive so Oli is not joining me on this one. Once we get to Moorea I will introduce him to the Lemon Sharks over there, they are also pretty impressive animals but smaller.
It is great to see Lizzy again after a few days apart. I always miss her so very much. It seems as if life was tough with Nanny at the backpackers on a beach in a tropical paradise for a few days, hmmm…….
Dad has spent the past two days hanging out with the engine and trying to be patient with it. I wish I could help more but quite simply do not have a clue. I am pretty sure it is now just a waiting game for a gear box, once we find one, and fitting it should be straight forward. I really do hope so.
I can’t WAIT to see the Aussie crew now….. Nanny agrees!