Vairao anchorage – February 2018
So today I decided to be at the helm while pulling up anchor (which did prove difficult to raise, but the windlass worked) and the whole way whilst we motored to our next anchor spot (Vairao, by Passe Tapuaeraha). The kids didn’t end up doing school and trashed the boat, but hey! We looked for a nice anchor spot as we are overdue for swimming tropical paradise under Neverland, but all spots had a steep drop off and too close to bombies, so off to the deep water anchorage by the mini village where SV Naoma and a few other boats are. I was at the helm and just as I was gingerly steering trying to find a spot away from the other boats and not too deep, we inched closer and closer to the shore and this other cat, with the owner gesturing us to move away from him (not that we were close at all), a rain squall hit. We got drenched but had our jackets on, and the wind picked up, the nose blew off the wind so I righted her and lost confidence so handed the helm over to Stu while I manually let the anchor chain go (used the down button on the windlass control and stopped the chain from falling at full pelt with the brake wheel). Well I will try again with the helming whilst anchoring next time, it’s fun in a stressful kind of way.
We were here for about a week, school in the mornings or hitting the water. The first few days we were so happy to have clear water nearby with surf. We took the kids to some reef breaks, they all caught a wave on the boogie boards and had fun, though Alex got dumped by one and was a little shook up. The next day was bigger and Sienna and I got dumped by a fairly big wave (would have looked huge to her though), and I ditched the board and held her while Stu pushed Alex to the side where it wasn’t breaking, unfortunately they were all super scared after that and no one wants to surf now – DOH!
We went for a walk to a Marae, which is an ancient ritual site where the spiritual leaders would pray and perform rituals. Sometimes human sacrifice was performed! This was their main belief system prior to missionaries arriving, now there are many churches around the islands. Nicole lead the way, then two local boys showed us the way as they asked if they could join us, though none of us could understand each other, Nicole translated as she is pretty good at French-Tahitian. We visited the Marae and walked a little further where we met a lady who escorted us to a fence past her big barking scary looking dogs. She took time out to show us and explain to us (well to Nicole who tried her best to translate in the mixed Tahitain/French/local dialect tongue). She showed us where the volcano centre was and the side of it that blew out when it erupted. As we arrived at a gate, she explained the locals hunt for pig and cow beyond the gate so not to go any further. The pigs they catch, feed them for a month. We were all interested to watch her two extra large pigs lazing in the mud.
On another day we got the kids to find a fish whilst snorkelling and take a picture of it, Jake actually found two nudibranchs, I was so stoked! We confirmed that they were actually nudibranchs that night in the reef life books we recently received. The next day the kids did a project on their fish for school with Stu, while I went with Nicole food shopping.
Nicole’s friend who is a local, kindly offered to take us to Carrefour shopping centre, on the way we dropped off at her dad’s house. He gave both of us a massive bunch of bananas, when I say bunch I mean around 50! More like a tree branch of bananas! So now that they are all ripening (all at once), we have a banana fest! Banana on breakfast cereal, banana smoothies, banana split, banana icy poles etc. Her dad also gave us a tonne of lychees! Stu sat for an hour peeling them and didn’t get though hardly any! Bev I know you love lychees, come visit!!
Nicole’s friend walked us through her dad’s house to his art room where his carvings were on display, his carvings were on wood, stone, bone and coconuts – very talented. It seems the whole family must own this piece of land and all live in small houses next to each other, with a big wire fence around the large property. There were 4 dogs all on leashes, all who were so excited to receive a pat, Nicole and I looked at each other feeling sorry for one dog in particular who was obviously starved of attention. A litter of kittens and paired up hens and roosters in small wire cages, took our attention also. I offered to pay for the massive bunch of bananas and lychees but they wouldn’t take any money, just as Nicole had said. Then off to the supermarket then road side fruit and vege stalls on the way home. It was a great experience to see a Tahitian home and experience their hospitality.
Thank you for reading friends and family, from S/V Neverland 🙂