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After an overnight trip from Rangiroa, we approached Tahiti on the Southern most tip. As the sun rose we could make out the outline of the high mountains and valleys, with a cloud of mist from the sea rising 100 foot into the air. The swells were very long, and after building up across the pacific ocean, they broke onto the rim of reef along the coast. Passing the world famous surf spot of Teahupoo, we saw several surfers getting thrown into the air as the giant wave sucked up everything before it. The idea of having to enter one of the narrow passes through this mass of waves frightened us, but we had to trust the charts and it was all about getting your bearings right and just going for it. We entered the reef at Vairao, and had surfers catching waves right next to our starboard side. It was the most exhilarating entrance to any place I have ever experienced. Once in the calm of the inner reef we were surrounded by trees and thick vegetation that was a mixture between rain forest and tropical coastline. We anchored in the bay of Port Phaeton which was flat calm and a pleasant change from the rolly anchorages we had experienced all the way since leaving Panama.

                  

The first family we met were a South African family on the catamaran "Prrrfection". They were of great help and were very knowledgable about the area. They had been here for two years and their girls went to the local school. They had two daughters, Marisca aged 11 and  Rochelle,14. Camilla was able to join Marisca one day at the local school and she enjoyed it very much. The school had 2000 pupils so it was somewhat larger than she was used to. The subjects they covered were French, English, Tahitian, drama , geography and maths. Our friends on " Pina Colada" also turned up and it had been a year since we last saw them. They spent time with the kids and Paddy did some arts and crafts on the beach while Nick kite-surfed.

     

After a week in Port Phaeton we headed up to the capital, Papeete, where we stayed at the Taina Marina which was a real treat. We had not been in a marina for four months and we washed everything we could since we suddenly had unlimited amounts of water. Papeete has a fantastic indoor market that sells fruit, vegetables and handcrafts. We were also able to get some of the pearls we were given, set in pendants and they are now the best souvenirs we have. Trond went to the chandlery and stocked up on parts and other necessary items as it will be awhile before we have access to goods.

                                          

After Tahiti we had a lovely sail to the island of Moorea. On approaching Oponohue Bay, we had the mountains in the background and the reef before us. It was a spectacular sight and perhaps the most beautiful anchorage ever. The Oponohue Valley is very lush and the Agricultural College is situated here. They produce their own fruit juices and jams an it is possible to stroll around the grounds and try the fruits. Not far from here is the Ranch, or riding stables. Camilla went riding one afternoon with Tom and they met George the owner, who took them hiking the next day. He pointed out all the fruits and explained how they could be used for medicinal purposes. Of course they came back to the boat laden with bananas, papapya, lemons, grapefuit and passionfruit

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Trond, Tom , Mark and the guys off "Moonraker" went hiking the one morning and left very early. They were supposed to go over the ridge but got lost and ended up doing a rather big detour in the valley. Anyway, they came back six hours later and all had a great time. Two dogs followed them the entire way and we had to phone the owners eventually, as the dogs kept swimming out to the boats. The one dog killed a chicken on the way and Tom plucked it and ate it for dinner! We all had a great game of rugby on the beach that evening and ended off an exhausting day.            

One of the highlights was also swimming with the stingrays and sharks out on the reef. The stingrays are very tame and will happily take food out of your hand. They wrap their bodies around your arms and legs and even try to get up the sides of the dinghy. We enjoyed swimming with them so much we went back several times. 

Once again we were off to another island, this time Raiatea and Tahaa. They are two islands, but are enclosed by the same reef. The Moorings charter boat base is here, so we were able to be in the marina while we repaired our anchor winch and once again cleaned up and did chores. It rained nearly the entire week so it was probably just as well we were there. The children had a good time here as there were some other boat kids and they could run around the dock together. We stocked up on food in Uturoa, the main town, and collected our "bond" from the customs. We had a very nice overnight stop in Tahaa, and noticed that it was very unspoilt  compared to many of the other islands. There were hardly any cars and houses, and I imagine thats how this area was many years ago. Our final stop was Bora Bora, and we anchored in the bay, along with a few other yachts waiting to head west. It was very windy while we were there, but our anchor held well in the deep water and we were able to go ashore and watch the July celebrations. Nearly every night in the town centre there was dancing, singing and music competitions. The most spectacular show being the one with 72 dancers dressed in grass skirts and coconut tops. The music was fantastic and they danced non-stop for an hour. We were able to take photos of them afterwards and admired their costumes. Now it is time to head West towards Tonga and we will take many wonderful memories of French Polynesia with us, not forgetting the colorful people , beautiful scenery and crystal,clear waters.

 

 

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This site was last updated 12-07-2007 09:35:20