Moved to Ilot Tautau on the west side of Tahaa this morning. In a light WNW wind we were even able to sail up to the anchorage inside the lagoon. We found Topaze and Sambe already at anchor here, and E Capoe arrived an hour later, making the kids' complement complete again. All of us went for a little snorkel "expedition" in the "Coral Gardens", located in a shallow pass between two motus. A wonderful maze in the coral with quite a few fish made for a fun afternoon.
A busy day - by local standards... weighed anchor in Huahine at 0800 local time this morning, after returning Merilelu's water juggs (they had kindly offered to use 60l of their supply to top off ours since they needed to do a bigger refill anyway). Motored north inside the lagoon and dropped anchor again off Fare, at the NW end of Huahine at 1000h. Spend 2 hours and about USD 500 to reprovision at the supermarket there and stock up for the next 6 weeks (until Tonga that is). Weighed anchor again and sailed 20 nm west to Tahaa, the island just north of Raiatea.
Had three very nice and relaxed days here on the SW corner of Huahine, with Helena and Kari from Merilelu and Ingrid and Gerd from Lazy Lady. Got a quite a few smaller boat projects knocked off the list, so it wasn't all idle time. Snorkeling is nice but not great around here (we're probably spoiled by now). We did however see our first few Clown Fishes (remember "Finding Nemo"?). They're said to be more typical for the western Pacific, so the ones we saw must be the "guys on the frontier".
Left Chantier Naval yesterday (Wednesday) and anchored on the east side on Raiatea, off Ile Tipaemau, just north of Passe Iriru. At 22m a new depth record for Namani at anchor, a taste of things to come ;-)
A total of five boats here with 8 kids among them made for a fun afternoon in the water and a nice fire on the beach in the evening. Spoke with Corinna on Moin and Helena on Merilelu on 8137 kHz this morning. Planning to join the latter on the SW corner of Huahine (next island, about 20nm to the east) this afternoon. Stay tuned...
Namani is (almost) ready to be relaunched this morning, just a few touches of antifouling left to apply. To celebrate the end of "hard time" we had a dinner out yesterday with four other families at the "Snack Mimosa" just outside the boat yard. When showing up with 10 adults and 8 kids we first found the restaurant closed. But then Mimosa, the woman owner, kindly agreed to open for us and we had a wonderful meal with what she had left in the kitchen.
On a separate note: we put together a little video from Nicky's first scuba dive on Moorea. Enjoy!
Almost exactly one year ago we posted a blog entry with a very similar picture - that time still at Yankee Marina in Yarmouth, Maine. About 12 months and 10,000 nm later it was time for renewing Namani's anti-fouling bottom paint, give its top sides some care and repair some keel damage we had suffered when running aground in Yarmouth' Royal River, right after launching Namani.
We're just approaching Raiatea, our next stop in the Society Islands in French Polynesia, sailing nicely on a beam reach about 5nm from the island's SW corner (11:30 local time / 21:30 utc). We have a haul-out booked here over the weekend to re-paint Namani's bottom and take care of a small repair at the bottom of the keel (damage that resulted from scraping Maine's rocky bottom all the way back in August of 2011).
After returning from yet another trip back to Germany Thursday night (something for another post), we finally slipped our lines today (Saturday) and left Marina Tahina on Tahiti at 11:30h this morning. It was just a short hop over to Moorea (mostly on a nice beam reach) and we dropped the hook here before 17:00h. Sailors and ships rot in harbor they say, and after six weeks at the dock (four of which we spent travelling back and forth to the fatherland) it was a nice way to ease back into cruising and slowly regain our sea legs.
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.