Friday, June 17, 2011

Tahiti - at last!

Of course, we had to make it a little more challenging than necessary, but we are now safely anchored in Papeete, Tahiti!

The passage was fine, we had to dodge some squalls but we are getting used to that. There was no wind, so we had to motor most of the way. Doug had 3 fishing lines in the water, but only caught a big bonita (yuck) and lost several lures. We were really hoping for fresh fish - oh well!

Approaching the island, now that's where we had some issues. Tahiti is surrounded by a coral barrier reef that you have to pass through to get to the anchorages.

Challenge #1 - We chose the wrong passage through the reef the first time (whoops) and ended in a very industrial area of Papeete. Missing channel markers, no anchorages, and a bridge blocking our route - not the right passage for sure. We did a Crazy Ivan and got out of there.

Challenge #2 - The channel into Papeete is very long and curvy and crosses both ends of the airport runway. Before you cross the runaway, you have to call Port Control to get clearance so that the planes don't hit you - that would be bad thing. We were just approaching the last part of the runway, when our engine died and wouldn't start again! Doug should have been a Boy Scout - he was prepared and jumped into action while I was preparing to panic. Doug had all ready prepped the anchor so he quickly dropped it (in 75 feet of water) to hold us in place while he worked on the engine. He changed the fuel filter thinking it was clogged - the engine still didn't start. More troubleshooting and discovered that our new fuel tank had issues - it was empty. Lots of details here, but the short version is that it hadn't been properly field tested (lesson learned here). We quickly grabbed the jerry jug and added fuel to the main tank, bled the lines, and the engine started - finally!

Challenge #3 - Finding a spot to anchor. There are lots of boats here and it took us some time to find a spot to squeeze into. Besides all of the Puddle Jumpers, there are lots of local boats and some HUGE mega yachts. Can't even imagine being on a boat that big, plus having a crew (in matching outfits). Hah!

But we made it and are very happy to be in Papeete. We have a wonderful view of Tahiti behind us, Moorea across the channel, and big waves crashing into the reef around us. Looks like a postcard picture for sure. These volcanic islands are amazing - lush and green with huge peaks. The tallest mountain in Tahiti is 7321 feet. Quite a site - especially after being in the coral islands of the Tuamotus.

We spent the today exploring - checking out the downtown, getting the hang of the buses, and some provisioning. Tomorrow, off to the Saturday market (Marche) downtown. I think we are going to like it here!

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Crit said...

Yikes!! That sounds a bit scary!! New places are always dicy at best but they mustbe doubly so in that area due to reefs and such. How is the french coming? Glad you made it and when is that meeting with the higher powers? Miss you guys.

Anonymous said...

Can hardly wait to see pictures we probably won`t know you two foreigners being french speaking and all! just remember us ole country bumkins still love you Mom

Ana said...

parle vous francais yet? Glad you made it safe. Enjoy! Have some poisson cru for me.

Jim and Heather on Meerkat said...

What, you two aren't wearing matching outfits?