Tahiti sounds nice
19th November 2018
Here we are in Tahiti, yipeeeeeee. It’s great to have that passage over and done with. I definitely didn’t want to leave the Tuamotos, we could have explored way more atolls but it is cyclone season (though cyclones are rare in this part of the world, and more rare this year as thankfully it’s an ENSO neutral year not an El Nino which is when the chances of cyclones in French Polynesia are increased). So we had to leave the isolated tropical paradise of the Tuamotos.
The passage was all day and overnight arriving around lunch the following day. Poor Mum, was sea sick, vomited once and felt awful for most of it. It didn’t help having a swell from two different directions as we left the island chain. I was sick once, but I’m more used to it than mum who was pretty out of it and reluctant to go down in the hull to sleep, which is understandable. It was with a sigh of relief that we laid anchor down, we all were very happy to arrive. It definitely knocked mum around, but she is a tough mumma and was up and at em the following day.
So we have awoken to nice calm glassy seas, dark horizons full of rain, tall mountain peaks, black sand and a man swimming around our boat from another nearby boat for exercise. It definitely feels like the big smoke even though where we are is scenic (we are anchored off Point Venus, where Captain Cook set up an observation to watch the planet Venus). We heard an ambulance last night, we have not heard that sound for a long time. We are anchored a long long dinghy ride away from the centre of Papeete, we will have to move closer but we think anchoring will be challenging, we may have to go to the Marina or the dock. We will have to lock up the boat when we leave which we haven’t done for ages, due to possible theft, yep we’re in the big Polynesian smoke.
Today we decided to dinghy into the town centre which was 10 nm, that’s a long dinghy ride. We sussed out the possible anchoring/mooring/marina spots to move Neverland to. We spent a long time in a chandlery, starving hungry we found a café and had a yummy lunch and much needed toilet stops. Then off to find the Captainerie to check in and customs to suss out our long stay visa, no luck with the long stay visa yet. Then off to refill the gas, which was a wild goose chase, until we were steered along the right path where we also filled our jerry can. Meanwhile I sussed out the Marina prices. It was a big day and we were all very happy to be back safely on Neverland after a very long, bumpy, not too wet but a bit and uncomfortable 25 minute ride home into a head wind. Mum did really well, hanging on for dear life over the chop and swells, not bad for a Nanny! It’s Nannys birthday tomorrow, Alex has been counting down the days and he and Sienna have made a whole heap of pictures and presents for her of which I have been informed to place on the table for Nannies viewing pleasure in the morning. We all enjoyed the perks of civilization today.
So we have loads to do whilst here. A few days before our passage from the Tuaomotos, I came back from shore to find Stu in a bit of a flap and saturated in water. He didn’t want to alarm the others so didn’t tell them the whole story, he was flushing out the holding tank by holding a salt water hose into the poo tank then opening it to flush it out, unfortunately when he turned the lever to open the through hull, it broke off and water came gushing through the hull out at him like a thick hose!!! NOT GOOD. Luckily Alex stayed back on the boat as Stu was stuck plugging the gushing water up with his hand, whilst issuing instructions to Alex to go and get the though hull plugs, hammer etc. This was and is a stress for Stu and I. The bilge pump has to be turned off temporarily in our hull (same as the plugged up through hull) as it needs a new float switch as it just runs continually, we have not been able to get one as yet. So we had to sail with a wooden plug hammered onto the hole the whole way from Tuamotos to Tahiti, we had no other choice! Though I am happy to report it hadn’t moved an inch. I can tell you Stu and I were checking the plug regularly, with a spare close by on hand. Even if the bilge pump was working on automatic mode it would not be quick enough to pump out that amount of water pouring in, but it would have acted like an alarm as its really loud and we would have heard it. So we now need to source a new through hull lever and empty a full holding tank of poo and wee (it may have to be done via buckets – yuck)! No luck in today’s chandlery in sourcing these urgent parts. We haven’t told mum or Jake the full extent of the through hull problem as it will only freak them out, it is a bit freaky seeing a wood plug jammed into a boats hull to stop it from sinking! So shhhhhhh…… its just our little secret J
Stu has a massive long list of things to do, as well as hauling the boat to do sail drive work, cone clutch and hull anti fowl repaint. There are 2 boat yards here in Tahiti, one has quoted an extortionist price of $3900 USD to just haul the boat one way! So Stu is going to see the boss and try on a little smoozying and working his magic to try and reduce the price, as it is 5 times the normal price. The other boat yard has not replied to his emails and also only has a trailer to haul her out of the water, so we’re not sure how it will all pan out yet. We were very happy to realize the fish in the Tuamotos were eating the weed off the bottom of the boat!!!!
After that long bouncy dinghy ride back to the boat from town, we decided we needed to be closer. So on Nanny Bennett’s birthday we upped anchor and motored to the marina, we had sussed it out the day prior and luckily the largest docking spot was still available. We were very happy about this especially when we had trouble with the cross wind of around 15 knots catching the hulls and spinning Neverland toward the docked boat downwind of us. I struggled with locking the spring line off due to the rope angle and cleat size, but managed and also appreciated Jeromes help a few boats up from us. Jake was a super star running around with the spare fender as we had to get very close to the pontoon to spring off the line. Stu and I were very very relieved afterwards and happy it all went well, and learnt more about docking. Mum was there with a nice freezing cold drink of water, what a woman!
So unfortunately mums birthday was pretty uneventful, but the kids were super excited to give Nanny her birthday cards and presents. We had pancakes and waffles for breakfast, enjoyed by all.
We have been here at the Papeete Marina for almost 2 weeks now, it certainly was great to be near the shops and get food again! We are all ready to move onto the pristine clear waters of Moorea which is a nearby island. Unfortunately we are stuck here until the engine parts arrive and are installed, so let’s hope they do arrive tomorrow or shortly afterwards. Our routine is to do school in the morning then get out to the shops or park in the pm. Problem is its really super duper hot and we all struggle with it, poor mum is especially struggling some days. So we have started doing some school as soon as possible in the am and the rest in the wifi room which is AIRCONDITIONED!!!! Woooo hooooo.
We have hired a car for three days. I was driver as it’s on the wrong side of the road and I seem to be the driver for these places. It was quite stressful the first day. It’s a manual and I stalled it whilst doing a U turn with a truck right up behind me and a long line of cars, then I stalled it while passing an intersection where police were attending to an accident, then I got aggressive with my gear movements as I kept on putting it into 3rd gear. I don’t treat the car nicely now and I haven’t stalled since!
Firstly we visited the boat yard in Port Phenton hoping they could haul us even for a day, to do just the through hull – we measured up Neverland that night and realized they can’t. Maybe they can half haul us as they have a trailer. So I guess we have to haul in Raitea in April.
While exploring the east coast we saw the grottos – caves hidden in a tropical paradise, large leafed foliage with cool waters and partly covered in lily pads. We also saw an amazing botanical garden, with the hugest flowers and just stunning plants everywhere. Visited a Marea, with tikis and the black stones of the ceremonial area. Stu sacrificed his youngest child to the surf gods for good surf! He he Alex learned that the Mareas were built in the 10th, 14th and 18th centuries and human sacrifices were made. We also learned whilst visiting Venus point that poor Captain Cook was eaten for his mana (aura) in Hawaii!!!
We explored the west coast the following day which is the surf battered side of the island, black sand and wild coast. Waterfalls were stunning, we were all upset seeing this doggy family with mum, dad and three pups covered in mange, starving with bloated bellies, scratching and sores. The pups were suckling with obviously no milk to be had as the mother dog was starving also. We voted and it was unanimous to share our lunch with them, they scored a tin of tuna which they demolished. It was upsetting to see one of the pups was obviously top pup, biting the other pups not allowing them to eat (even the parents) until Stu took charge and did his dog growl at top pup and gently pushed him off the tin with yelps, to let the others finish the tuna. Sienna was happier after that.
Saw a very cool moto (coral barrier reef island) with 2 trees on it!!! Saw stunning black sand beaches with waves crashing this is so different to the other side of the island, many a surfer to be seen also. We all had fun at a blow hole.
Thanks for reading
S/V Neverland 🙂