Thursday, 21 August 2014

A Sort of SAR at Bora Bora

A few days ago our morning coffee was disrupted by a call on the VHF radio "This is yacht whatever, we are stuck on the south reef and need help urgently".  Oh.  The call was very clear so sounded very close.  We waited a few moments to see if MRCC Papeete (Rescue Coord for this part of the world and who have a repeater on Bora Bora) would reply.  They did not hear the transmission so a neigbouring French boat call MRCC to reply.  We tried to hail yacht whatever but they did not reply.  So ... it was either really serious and they couldn't manage another more detailed transmission, it was a spoof, or something else ...  The kids and I loaded up some supplies and launched the RHIB to see if we find the boat.  Liz coordinated with MRCC (en francais bien sur) as there was no some confusion with some of the unrelated hailing on Ch16.

Rescue Kids

Of course, there is no "South Reef" and while Bora Bora is not very big we had to guess where he might have meant.  After about an hour driving at a pretty good speed at potential "south reefs" the yacht in question responded to a call from MRCC to say that they were off the reef and okay.   Liz relayed the coordinates to me and, as we were close, we continued on to see if we could lend a hand even if was not an emergency.  

It turned out they had hit some coral on one of the very tight passes within the lagoon but were not ever in any immediate danger.  A local fisherman had helped guide them to safe water and they suffered only minor damage - nice the have a metal boat !

Not bad scenery though.
We showed up and helped scout out an exit back into the lagoon and to pickup the fisherman again to guide them out.  It was pretty anticlimactic, which is exactly the way you hope these things end.  It was a good experience for the kids though, and an excuse to discuss how important it is to help others in our community and also what we would pack in the RHIB if we needed to do something like this again. 
A tough boat - only a few scratches
After three hours we were home on Fluenta again - a lot quicker than the Flying Dragon excitement of the previous year in Mexico.

The local fisherman who got them off the reef swimming home after we dropped him off,

The local fisherman with his bottle of whiskey from the yacht.  A nice sentiment, but it was not really the most appropriate gift in Polynesia.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

More Moorea Photos - Belevdere Hike, A Wedding, and Infiltration of the Tourist Facility

Cook's Bay from the Belvedere

Cook's Bay from the Belvedere

Hiking back from the Belvedere.

Bamboo Forest

View from the Anchorage

The Europeans like to anchor close ...

And yet more sharks

and more sharks ...

Qi's Wedding on the beach

The cake Victoria made for the wedding.

Hard day ...

The commute

Hotel in the distance
Not in the Tuamotus anymore... A few tourists ...

The beach at the Intercontinental

Benjamin dining at the Intercontinental

Not our usual fare - dining at the Intercontinental

Hanging Out at the Pool

Johnathan securing the dingy painter

Benjamin helping with projects

Some bigger sailboats around: this one is 440' long ...

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Sting Rays and Kids (and more Sharks)

A photos from snorkelling in Moorea

Watchfull eyes ...

Slow speed fly by ...

A shark running away from Victoria. 

Sting rays running away from Johnathan 

What do you mean there is something behind me ...

Benjamin not so sure about swimming with the sting rays and sharks.  

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Tahiti, Moorea and now with intentions of going to Bora Bora


What a glorious full moon tonight! We are on passage from Mo'orea to Bora-Bora, a distance of about 140 nm, so we are grateful for the extra light. We have had some minor cloud cover, but most of the night (thus far) has been in light winds. When we have a trip like this to do, we generally leave in the morning to give us the most daylight for our arrival the following day, and this is what we did leaving Mo'orea this morning (we weighed anchor at 0800 under a clear blue sky). [We worried the winds would be too light as the gribs and the French Polynesia reports did not agree. For most of the passage we have been doing a nice easy 6.5 to 7.2 kts along the rhumb line. Only at some time past midnight did the winds ease and veer so make our progress a bit slower and rollier]

I hope you have been enjoying all the photos Max has posted this week :) If a picture is worth 1000 words, he has provided a book! The hardest part was choosing amongst the 1000s of photos we have taken. As for me, it is nice to be back at the keyboard, offering you my 1000 words!

Papeete was a busy time/place. Even though we were across the dock from our Belgian friends (Nautilusatsea), we hardly saw them. In fact, part way through the week, we agreed that we wouldn't even try to see each other in the marina, and we would reconnect in Mo'orea!

With the Carrefour close by, we did our 3-4 month provisioning the night before we left. After Victoria and I got back from town (where we bought Benjamin's snazzy new booster seat) we headed to the Carrefour. About 3/4 of the way through my list, we found out that the store was closing in 20 min (it might look like a big Loblaws, but it doesn't keep the same hours!). We also found out that the cooler section is closed 15 min ahead of the rest of the store. Yikes! We ended up with lots of cans and dry goods (30x500g boxes of oats, 30x1kg bags of flour, dozens of bags of rice & pasta, etc), but little fridge or freezer stuff -- we will try for this in Bora Bora.

Our guide book points out that the sea between Tahiti and Mo'orea can be "confused" and confused it was! This was the longest 2-hour passage we have done. The groceries were safe (stored in duffels so we could stow them in slow time upon arrival), but everything else we owned was part of a chorus of clanging and banging as the boat rolled back and forth 15 deg in either direction [and occasionally more as both toerails were dipped in the water at various points]. Were we ever glad to arrive!

There are several anchorages in Mo'orea; the one we chose (Opunohu) was the site of the filming of the "Mutiny of the Bounty" with Mel Gibson. Spectacular hardly does the scenery justice. We had hotels on either side of us, but unlike Mexico, where the beach would have been lined with highrises, these resorts consisted of low buildings and little huts on the water: they were really nice and blended in beautifully. Unfortunately with resorts come jet skis; these were not so nice, and did not blend in so beautifully! Oh well, the folks who were driving us crazy are probably already back at work!

We had a bit of a reunion when we arrived: Briso was already there and Nautilus arrived the next day (while we were celebrating the marriage of friends from "Qi" (chee) on the beach). Although it was a bit more crowded than some of the beaches/anchorages we have enjoyed (I counted 20 other boats when we left this morning [which is why we like to anchor in the deep away from the majority of the boats]), it was a lovely place for a holiday ("the ultimate" in honeymoon destinations, to quote the girl I met while swimming with stingrays & sharks yesterday). As for us, we visited with friends on the beach, hiked to the Belvedere (view point from which we could see both Opunou and Cooks Bay ... up by road, back by slippery forest trail ... about 6 hrs hiking), swam (twice) with stingrays, and enjoyed the beautiful view. [I also had a chance to do a sports dive with Hans where I got to play with the turtle that you see pictures of in one of the previous blog posts.] We even spent a day at one of the hotels, eating lunch and swimming in their pool. Lovely. [All of these excursions required the use of our RHIB which has been very reliable since its "problems" in San Diego. However, part the way on the windy trip to the sting rays it kept sputtering and dieing. Not ideal with the reefs on both sides. I managed to keep it running by squeezing the fuel priming bulb so we returned to Fluenta safely. After taking care of the usual culprits with small gas engine - spark plugs and a carburetor cleaning - I noticed that the fuel filter housing was leaking. An easy fix for once and the engine most probably appreciated the new spark plugs and a cleaner carburetor. Johnathan and I also took the time to do another hull cleaning in anticiptation of this passage. Max].

That pretty much catches us up. My watch is over, and the morning (pass entrance & navigating) will come all too soon.
Love to all,
At 2014/08/12 2:49 AM (utc) Fluenta's position was 16°54.80'S 150°35.81'W

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Sunday, 10 August 2014

Moorea Photos

Some photos so far from Mo'orea:

Somebody is following you Hans.

Turtle at around 15'm

Hans petting the turtle.

This little 200' landing craft politely early one morning asked if we could up anchor so he could depart.

"I want to go over there"

"Check out my new chair !"

Opunohu Bay

The cake Victoria made for our friend's wedding a few days ago.

Liz's view when she finished yoga tonight.

Monday, 4 August 2014

More Sharks, Beaches, Trickle and More - Yet even more photos from the Tuomotus ...

Approach to the "Dangerous Archipelago"

Canada Day

The Fleet

Net Gain

"Shark Baiting"

Sunset Sail and Recovery

Johnathan busy processing coconuts

Liz surveying the gap in the reef.

Sunset on the beach

Beach time with friends

Calm for a bit

"Our Private Beach"

Sand is tasty

Campfire on the beach

Clear water - the picture is taken from the deck of Fluenta


Shark Viewing Station

Shark Viewing Stations ...

Sashimi for Lunch

Captain Awesome


Nice to be able to check the anchor set simply.

Victoria preparing for Canada Day.

Trickle dressed up for Canada Day

The shelter Johnathan slept in with the rats.

Pretty fancy beach camping

Roast Goat

Boat Kids

Safety Boat Operator

Trumpet Fish

Parrot Fish

Again, not always pacific in the Pacific

Watching for reefs

Rush Hour in Fakarava

Victoria drilling a pearl

Pearl Farm

Pearl Farm

Pearl Farm

Sting Ray

Lunch out in Fakarava !

Fakarava South Pass

Benjamin not quite grasping the concept of snorkeling yet.

Fakarava South Pass

Never too young to learn how to drive

On Passage

SUV - Snorkeling Utility Vehicle

Our chain grabber for the snubber

Anchor chain buoy

Wet weather kayak trip

Kids in Fakarava North Pass

The end.