09 - Pacific Crossing
In the past week we were able to see two parts of the annual Heiva festival here on Tahiti. It started as a revival and showcase of traditional Polynesian arts more than a hundred years ago and seems to be going strong, with major performances and big prizes for the taking. One thing we really liked about it is the audiences are mostly local people rather than tourists. Not T-shirts on sale, no hawkers, just a lot of color, culture, and fun.
We arrived in Tahiti yesterday morning (Friday, 15JUN) and are now berthed at Marina Taina, just SW of Papeete. On the way in we realized that we had been sailing next to Astarté the night before, at a 3-4nm distance. LOTS of boats around, very busy, a funny contrast to the last 6 month. Made a short excursion to the famous (among cruisers) Carrefour here... very nice, but also made us realize that we didn't really miss anything much during the past months.
Tahiti came in sight at dawn this morning. Now (0630) local timethe rising sun starts to paints the mountain peaks (max = 2200m) in a beautiful orange-pink. We hope to pass Point Venus (where Captain Cook observed the Transit of Venus in 1769) between 0900 and 1000 and then reach the harbour by mid-day. All is well aboard, stay tuned...
We had five wonderful days in Anse Amyot on Toau, enjoying the hospitality of Valentine and Gaston, the company of the other boats in the anchorage and the shear beauty of the location - plus a dinner for the 60 people on the Crusing World Adventure Charter fleet who visited one night (something for another post...). We slipped our mooring there at 1230h local time yesterday (13JUN) and are now about half-way to Tahiti, where we hope to arrive around mid-day tomorrow.
Had a very nice two days at anchor about halfway down the length of Fakarava. The wind has turned southerly yesterday, a direction from which the "inside" of Fakarava offers little protection where we were (a bit choppy but not too uncomfortable). So we noved to the northern end, just off Rotoava (the main little town on the island), in order to catch the outgoing tide through the pass at 0630 tomorrow morning and move on to Toau, the next atoll to the north. We've heard that Toau has great snorkeling and diving (and better protection form the south).
Made landfall at 0815 local time (utc - 10) this morning and are now anchored in Fakarava. No roll in this anchorage for a chenge and we have it all to ourselves. All is well aboard, more after a good night of (hopefully) uninterrupted sleep - stay tuned...
After yesterday's dismal fishing performance (see previous post, "Fish: 3 - Namani: 0) we were back in the game today and had our "Big Fish Day" in two respects:
Earlier this afternoon we saw three female Orca whales repeatedly surfacing about a boat length behind Namani. Luckily they weren't interested in us but some other feeding frenzy that was happening a bit further off our starboard quarter (lots of birds circling, fish jumping).