1st June 2016
Raya appears to have shrunk, we are on the outer wall of Taina Marina, Tahiti and are sandwiched between two superyachts. Both 130ft long, with 180ft masts they dwarf us and with two crews constantly cleaning we feel obliged to keep everything onboard shipshape. Needless to say I think the chances of Rick letting me hang the laundry out are zero. Further along the dock things get even bigger with the three masted, 180ft classic schooner, Atlantic, stealing the show.
In contrast, on the inner pontoons it is hard to find a boat over 45ft. We have noticed, beside the collection of Superyachts here, that most of the boats crossing the Pacific are really quite small, we normally feel huge. In fact some boats are really small, generally skippered by lone Frenchmen, they have little in the way of electronic navigation, no autopilot, no refrigeration, no watermaker, I can’t imagine how different thier experience is to ours.
We were pleased to find the guys from Toothless waiting to catch our lines as we pulled in to the dock and then to discover half a dozen boats we know tied up in the Marina, including two boats from the ARC that we hadn’t seen since we left St Lucia in December. Even more bizarrely the crew on one of these boats, Nina, turned out to be from Sissinghurst, had, a few years after we had moved, lived a couple of hundred yards from Ceylon House and whose children had both gone to Cranbrook, their youngest in Matts year. Certainly made plenty to chat about over a happy hour beer.
Although sitting in the Marina is not so lovely as anchoring in a beautiful bay we are enjoying a brief return to civilisation. Much to everyone’s excitement there is a large Carrefour supermarket a mere 200m away. Kids in a sweet shop comes to mind, as cruisers peruse a full fruit and veg counter for the first time in four months. The Internet is mostly good and there are a couple of decent restaurants onsite. Being on the lea of the island we are a bit short of a cooling breeze but the Superyachts protect us from the swell from passing craft and there is very little in the way of tide to worry about. Tahiti sits on an Amphidronic point, a point in the ocean where the tides are small, the tidal range increases as you move outward from these nodes. It is caused by the the rotation of the earth and in turn the Corolius effect and local land masses, too technical for this blog, so for more information see – https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amphidromic_point
Papeete, the capital of Tahiti, was in contrast to the Marina area a bit of a disappointment. Busy, noisy, full of traffic with very few decent shops. There was a pretty little church – the cathedral, a large traditional market and a long boat filled waterfront but the long awaited chandlery was under stocked and tired and the black pearl shops, I’d been looking forward to, were expensive and commercialised. In fact we are finding Tahiti generally underwhelming . Yesterday we hired a car and drove around the island. It struck us as one long string of surburbia, small towns stretching the whole way along the road that circles the island. Of course, had we not just come from the Marquesas and Tuamotu, the high wooded mountains that form the interior of the island would have awed us, the lush colourful gardens of the houses would have enchanted us and the coastline of turquoise sea would have dazzled us – we have been spoilt.
Tomorrow a rigger is coming to help with the inmast furling system and to have a look at the vang which appears to have seized. We need a few more trips to the supermarket to restock and a couple of maintainance jobs are still outstanding. Then we will be off. The island of Moorea, the next stop on our visit to this final part of French Polynesia, The Society Islands, stands tantalisingly just a sort distance away.