Sailing the Societies

Last week we cycled across Tahiti so this week we sailed round the island to get a better look at the “lonely bits”.

The first day we had little wind and what there was was against us. We drifted and tacked but after seven hours finally had to use the motor. We planned on anchoring just behind the reef which meant entering through the pass at Maraa. As we approached all we could see were huge waves and no sign of an opening. We were both relieved when a local fishing boat appeared and passed easily between the waves showing us the way in. That night we anchored off the village.

The second day there was more than enough wind but in exactly the wrong direction. Another day of tacking. One tack was a little earlier than planned when a huge whale appeared broaching right in front of us. More amazing views of jungle coated mountains and another pass to enter in the evening. This time there were even surfers running the waves left and right of us. We anchored in the protected anchorage of Port Phaeton.

Day three was going to be cycling but the rain proved that we are good at “situative” and instead we walked across the isthmus so that we could add “walked across Tahiti” to “cycled across” and “sailed round”. The rainy afternoon was a great excuse to laze around.

From Port Phaeton we stayed inside the reef for a few miles before sailing back out to sea and continuing upwind. We left the inhabited part of the island behind us and enjoyed spectacular views up deep green valleys towards the high mountains. We are now experts at tacking upwind but, even with our experience, we arrived at the next pass just before dark and decided it was too dangerous. Instead we rounded the head of the island and enjoyed a night sail back to Point Venus where, at one thirty, we dropped anchor.

Three days upwind and seven hours back! You know why sailors prefer a following wind.

Back in Papeete we anchored next to our friends on the catamaran Sybo and the following morning sailed to Moorea having swapped crews. Bo joined Neill on Artemis while Heidi moved to the all girls team with Sybille on Sybo. Bo enjoyed happy memories of monohulls while Heidi had her first taste of catamaran sailing. We had winds of over twenty knots from behind and flew the twenty miles to Moorea where we anchored just inside the reef.

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