Archive for september, 2012

ILES DE LA SOCIETE

fredag, september 21st, 2012

The society islands is the western part of French polynesia and it includes 14 islands. The bigger ones and most known are Tahiti, Moorea, Huahine, Raiatea, Tahaa and Bora bora. The volcanic Islands are scenic and lush and surrounded of coral reefs. Coming to Tahiti straight from Tuamotus quickly reminds you that you are back in civilization. Lots of people, supermarkets, cars, motorcycles and traffic jam. Most people are very friendly and after we heard mostly negative opinions about Tahiti before getting there, I must say it gave us a better than expected inpression.

After Tahiti we visit Moorea, Raiatea, Tahaa and now Bora bora. Ginni paddled between Tahiti and Moorea (17 nm) while I was sailing. It started fairly calm but rapidly changed to more than 20 knots and big seas. Even between Tahaa and Bora bora (25 nm) she paddled but in much calmer conditions. Before this trip, Ginni had to talk me into bring this fullsize unfoldable kayaks onboard, but I have appreciate them more and more. I like our rowing dingy but it’s almost useless if it’s windy and bigger swells. It is also heavy to hoist up and down on deck and often a pain to have tied up beside Misty on anchor. More often we leave the dingy on deck and just use the kayaks to get ashore or go exploring. The only problem is when you need to bring big heavy things to and from the mothership Misty, like diesel jugs for example. Of course it would be possible to tow an inflatable little ”barge” after the kayaks. We also have ideas to make a system to easily mount the kayaks together like a ”catamayak” which even could be sail-able.

Coral reefs can be good or bad. They protect the Islands from big swells which also gives better anchorage. Otherhand ending up on a reef with a boat in breaking waves means disaster and big chance of losing the boat. Fortunately we have not experienced that and hope not to. Just a few days ago we grounded on a coral head (again) inside the lagoon of Bora bora. Here you can not trust the channel markers, nor the GPS so it’s mostly navigating by eye. In this case we were on the way to pass a marker which led into a channel, for a moment the wind and the sun made it impossible to see the bottom clear. We passed just a few meters from the only marker and still it led right up on the coral. This was more a trap than aid to navigation. Luckily a powerboat with a some helpful locals came up a few minutes later and pulled us off. We heard we weren’t the first ones who got stuck here and I’m not suprised.

We seem to always stay longer at any place than we planned to and it starting to get late in the season so it’s high time for us to continue further west. Next stop will probably be Tonga. Our plan is to reach New Zealand before the hurricane season starts in November and it’s still another 2500 nautical miles to sail before we get there.

Before leaving French polynesia and heading back out to the primitive life at sea, we sure enjoy our last baguettes with French wine and cheese.