After spending ten weeks wandering between the anchorages of Huahine and Raiatea, we decided it was time to “do some serious sailing” so we set our sights on the Gambier archipeligo. This is the last archipeligo in French Polynesia that we have not visited and reports from other sailors describe it as being beautiful. It is “only” a thousand miles (1850 km) away and all of that upwind against the prevailing wind. Sounds like an adventure!
We left Huahine with the aim of reaching the raised coral atoll of Makeatea, 170 miles away. The weather forecast suggested it was going to be hard on the wind all the way but should be possible before the wind died three days later. The forecast was of course lies (as always) and we actually began by tacking the wrong way for thirty miles to get around Huahine. By day two it was obvious that we were not going to reach Makeatea so we decided to head for the east end of Tahiti and wait a night there.
We arrived in Mouillage de Cook (Cook’s anchorage) with the last breath of wind and anchored off the sandy beach just behind the coral reef. That was a week ago and since then we have had no wind or too much wind to continue our journey. The anchorage is idyllic and we are totally alone in the middle of the bay. Our only visitors are the outrigger canoeists, who pass in the evening and exchange a friendly “Ia Orana” (yo-rah-nah), and a school of dolphins who were in the bay yesterday. When the sun shines, there are tourists over on the beach who all take a photograph of Artemis with the backdrop of the reef and Tahiti. It is a shame we can not charge per photo.
Each night we saw two white lights above each other in the hills and wondered what they were. Today the weather was less rainy than the last few days so we rowed across to the river mouth and then walked up the neighboring hill in search of the lights. We found a cross with ten solar powered lights on it that would shine across the bay at night but, this being Tahiti, only those at the top and bottom work and none on the crosspiece. The mystery was solved and the view was stunning.
And the “new” plan is to head north for the coral atoll of Tikehau tomorrow. But we will see what really happens.
The track of our walk is at allTrails.