Moorea sounds nicer than Tahiti
10th December –
We are all totally ready to leave the hot Marina of Papette in Tahiti, we can’t swim in this place, the water is too dirty, though for a marina surprisingly clear at times. Mum and I went to Carrefour which is a large supermarket via a free shuttle and forgot the eggs. So we left early the next day to the local supermarket for more forgotten food. We helped our new friends to birth in their dock, then we were off.
Stu and I had our plan to cast off, he had tested both engines and all good to go.I was on the dock and when I had let go of the 2 dock lines with one mid ship line to go and with some line already out, the starboard engine died!!!! Stu yelled to tie up and don’t let it go! NOT GOOD, the wind was pushing Neverland onto the boat downwind of us, I was holding the third line. Neverland got very very close to the neighbouring boat, about 1 metre. We would have rounded up swinging on the spring line and hit the boat, but Stu reversed on the outside one working engine then forward so we swung on the mid ship line, Stu had no steering with only the one engine and I was on the dock. The boat was just about hitting the dock with me trying to get on and push the boat off at the same time, the neighbours came and helped push us off as I scrambled on, with the 3rd line off. Neverland did hit the plastic floating dock, we couldn’t push her off, after a little scrape we were safely out.
So what now with only one engine and no chance of going back in the slip and we can’t go to Moorea like this. Luckily there was one spot available to tie up parallel to the dock, so another kind soul helped us tie up and we were safe again. Stu checked the engine and had it running again in no time, an air lock in the fuel line, pity it had to cut out half way out of a slip with a strong cross breeze!!!
We were off, very happy to leave. As mum said “I was happy to arrive in Tahiti and very happy to leave”. We caught a large Wahoo, around 4 foot. We are still eating it 4 nights later with the other half in the freezer. We arrived in beautiful Moorea a few hours later, I felt a bit yuck and passed out like I usually do, the movement of the boat sends me to sleep and I wake up feeling a bit better. Mum was good this trip. We arrived to tall pointy peaks, turquoise sparking clear waters, palm tree lined white sand beaches, surf on the outer reef to Stu’s delight and we anchored in 2m of crystal clear sandy sea bed water – Yehaaaaaa.
Danger Dad (Stu’s new nic name after getting ciguatera and cutting his finger to the bone opening a coconut, amongst many other injuries suffered (by us all) in the past, he he), did a backflip off the front. We were all super stoked with this place and first priority was to swim, we have been sweltering in the boat without being able to swim in Tahiti so we are loving this spot. I checked the anchor, all good and no bombies to swing onto. Made water again (we had been lugging buckets of water from the dock to use, which after a while in the heat gets quite tedious, especially to flush toilets), so nice to have running water again. The tranquillity was ruined when we discovered that the tool shed (a toilet we don’t use and all of Stu’s tool are in it) was 5 inches under water. The sink tap had accidentally been left on and while we made water it just poured straight out, all over the floor and Stu’s tools. Oh man ……..there’s a day cleaning and oiling every tool.
The next day we decided we could only do the massive tool job on shore, before all the tools turned to rust. We ended up on the beach, with the kids playing in the water and Stu and I drying, cleaning and oiling every single tool, including his washers, nuts, bolts etc, all his spares for repairs. Jake and I SUPed over while mum stayed on the boat. Stu was in a great mood when I got there, tools spread out over 2 picnic tables in the shade. He met the king of Moorea, so he was told and I later met him briefly and I am dubious as to his claims of king! Though it could be possible, he was quite the character.
Every person who passed us said hello. We met our neighbouring boat and a man named Semain, who is learning English and came to chat with us for a long time. He introduced me to an amazing Chinese singer Dimach, gave me goose bumps listening to him!
We ventured to suss out the bays we were anchored near. On the point are those over water bungalows that you see on picture perfect advertisements of Polynesia. We dinghied close by the bungalows and the water was stunningly clear with bright blue-purple corals. A hot and long dinghy ride later we were all ready to go home for a drink and swim.
The following day we took Nanny to the same spot for a snorkel as it looked shallow and she was keen to go. We had a nice snorkel (with Jake back at Neverland finishing his school work which was his own decision, not such a great school day for him but it ended well). Stu swam up to me and suggested in lowered tones (so as not to alarm the others, i.e. Mum) that we snorkel up current due to a 2m rather fat reef shark he just saw! I never saw it and we were in super shallow water we could stand in – shhhhhhh don’t tell mum!!!
Stu came back three times during one surf session, he broke his fin, he broke his leg rope and the force of the wave ripped his long armed wetsuit top off! He came back with only half an arm, wet suit arm that is! Danger Dad strikes again!
We found out that our dear Old Gran (yes we call her Old Gran!), has passed. We are so sad we are not at home to help and support Bev, Roy and Old Pop – we so feel for them. I can’t imagine how Old Pop is feeling, over 70 years of marriage! She has left the legacy of numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren. Stu was a mixture of emotions when he found out she had a few days left at 97 years of age! What an achievement and the most amazing cute couple you could meet. Stu was really feeling like jumping on a plane back home, but too costly and I am not confident enough to captain Neverland on my own if I needed to while Stu was gone. We have been fortunate to have had such a lovely thoughtful lady in our lives.
During this time it rained and rained for days – quite apt. We had battled another school morning and needed to get off the boat, so off to find the Tropical Garden up the hill. We followed the small path road up the mountainside, while it rained and rained. The path got steeper and steeper, mum was doing well and just resting when she needed. We all wore our crocs and rain jackets as we knew we would be soaked though. It was actually quite pleasant in the pouring tropical rain, it would have been superhot otherwise. The kids were playing float the flowers down the torrent on the road side drain, which was good as the slope was quite steep. I have no pics as the rain was nonstop. The tropical flowers were stunning, mangoes dripping off the trees on the roadside (but belonging to property owners – doh), we have finally seen pineapples and how they grow (we have been wondering how they grow) and we saw giant vanilla beans. It was good to walk and get some exercise.
When we returned home we had a heap of wet clothes plus the other clothes and towels from the day prior to try and dry. Not easy with this rain and humidity. I also rediscovered the leak onto my bed, doh. Luckily the next am was dry with a little wind.
Stu has been in heaven with the surf here. He went for his SECOND SURF of the trip when we arrived. Needless to say he goes most days now. We all dropped him off in the dingy at the surf break out at the fringing reef by the passage. I was given instructions where the reef was so as to avoid it on the way back, turn before the red marker. It was really overcast and the water murky due to all the rain washing water down the mountain sides so I couldn’t see the reef. Anyway I was driving very slowly, when we hit reef with the motor which jumped up a little. Looking over the side we were in shallow water with Jake and Mum helping by directing me where to go. I decided to go to deeper water in reverse so I could see the reef. Later we realized we thought the first red marker was the second red marker! OOOoooops, we realized we went over a tonne of shallow reef, oh well (thankfully dinghy and motor intact), we didn’t make the same mistake on the way to get Stu.
We ventured ashore, this time successfully avoiding reef (and I was listening to Jake a little more too!). Dropped off the garbage and went for a wet walk and discovered a nearby small Magazine (grocery shop) with baguettes and eggs – yay. I was keeping a close eye on the time as I didn’t want even less light to spot reef, as we still had to pick up Stu. Stu was surfing and feeling a little unnerved (though it didn’t stop him) as the water was murky brown and it was late in the day all by himself on the outer reef surf break. Don’t worry Bev and Roy, there are normally others surfing this spot.
We had heard and read about the sting ray feeding area on Moorea. Off we dinghied, snorkles and tin tuna in hand. We arrived to find shallow (could stand) aquamarine coloured water and a few other people. It was not long and we had around 6 stingrays and many more black tip reef sharks on the fringes around us. Mum was keeping an eye on the sharks and in she got, I was swimming towards the sharks to ward them away from mum. They were very placid and small (3-5 foot) though when the hotel boat came they were swimming through the people and it was a little bit chaotic, I noticed a couple standing back a little obviously getting used to the stingrays when a shark swam past and to my astonishment she patted its head! It was not impressed and did a violent 180 degree turn and swam off in a panic. I was very glad it didn’t bite her.
The sting rays were super super amazing, we rode them, we hang on to the front part and kicked to help it along, and they don’t seem to mind! If you stand still, sometimes they swim up your leg and flap in front of you. I figured out the people who had sting rays surrounding them had a piece of fish in their hand. A lady on a cruise ship boat picked up a large shell, the tour guide said no you can’t take it as it has a live animal in it and don’t put you hand inside as it is poisonous – hmmmmmm good to know.
We loved this place so much we have been 3 times! Twice with mum, she is getting very brave swimming with the sharks. We fed them tuna and it’s so cool, they come right up to you and flap on your chest. Stu and Alex got a ‘bite’, we were very proud of Alex as he gave it a go at feeding them. They don’t have teeth more of a cartilage rubbery squash of the fingers if they get you, Alex got a fright then took a little while to get over it after a “bite”, then went back to touching the rays. By the end of it Jake had ridden numerous rays, and drawn smiley faces on the sand covering their skin on a few. Sienna touched them too.
Christmas was fun and relaxing, very wet and raining for most of the day but it cooled the place down which we were all enjoying especially mum, though it cleared in the pm for a while. We Skyped Stu’s parents Christmas Eve as it was their Christmas day and it was great to see them and Old Pop in his new home. It was a rainy morning so perfect for opening presents and having a long breakfast. Santa Mum did arrive and bring some presents, and mum brought some from Uncle Dave and Carlz and Nanny and Poppy Colam as well. Needless to say they were spoilt. We also had a real Christmas tree this year, given to us by another cruiser who had been given two! The rain cleared for a while and we hit the water, the new water guns were a hit and the battle was raging. Then off for a scurf, the kids tried Stu’s surfboard for the first time and they all stood up! After Stu had towed around 5 kids (2 from our neighbouring boat) he got a go then I had a turn, very happy I could still stand up.