Always a bit anxious the night before heading to a new place, I woke up more
than an hour before my 5:15 a.m. alarm. At 5:30 a.m. it was raining and
still too dark to see due to cloud cover, so we lingered in a bed a bit
longer. We cast off the morning with just a drizzle & enough daylight to see
by 6:15 a.m. I had taken a Bonine early and strapped on the trusty A.W.Z.
(Annoying Wrist Zapper). Good thing because outside the reef of Bora Bora
the swell was abeam (hitting the boat sideways), 4-6 feet high. The wind was
from the south, NOT what was predicted & NOT the recommended direction for
going into the pass at Maupiti. But it is only a 28 mile trip and we decided
to just go and see how the entry looked. Willing to turn around and head
back to Bora Bora if we were closed out.
Since the ride was not that comfy, I took a 2nd bonine at 8 am which helped..
If I did any close focus activities like frying eggs or washing the dishes I
felt marginal. But as long as stayed outside and looked out toward the
island I was ok. The clouds & rain were intermittent. We had good
information on how to approach the pass and what to look for. The buoys and
navigation markers were accurate and really helped. My surfer dude husband
waited until after a set and then full throttle on in. No problem! It was
not as narrow as some passes we’ve entered and no breaking surf in the
opening, so it was A-Ok. Once we were through the “crux” we could relax and
enjoy the ride.
Maupiti is like a mini Bora Bora. A high island, surrounded by motus (small
outlying islands) and fringing reef. As we were motoring in the well marked
channel to the anchoring area, the owner of Maupiti Dive Center, Ronald who
we\’d talked to by phone & email came zooming up. He had one client , a guy
from Arizona of all places, and was heading out for a dive. We told him we
wanted to dive the next day. He agreed to pick us up at 8:30 a.m.
We anchored in the sandy lagoon between town & a motu. We get some
protection from the prevailing wind & sea anchored behind the motu. We can
see one pension there has two very tall wind generators to provide some
After lunch and a nap, we woke up to see 4 more catamarans and 1 monohull
anchored near us!
Jerome & Natalie (s/v Na Maka) with their 3 boys arrived later and anchored
by the motu just left of the pass entry.
The group of 4 charter boats are on vacation from Germany. We stopped in our
dinghy to say hello. The group organizer has been here before and gave us a
tip of where to land the dinghy.
A water taxi boat for the airport, which is on a motu, was docked. We asked
the Maupiti man if we could tie our dinghy under his line, which is standard
procedure. He said no and directed us to paddle over to a very shallow area
(had to raise the engine to not drag bottom) and tie to the balcony railing
of a small building. We didn’t argue and did as instructed. Later when we
returned, we got a good laugh that the cleat left with the water taxi! It
was not screwed permanently into the dock for everyone’s use. It was his
portable cleat which he took with him when he left.
We got to the post office after closing time, but the very nice just French
post mistress (Dominique) stayed to sell us WiFi access cards. So we still
have connectivity! Scott had tried Winlink which wasn\’t very good, so if the
WiFi works we will get faster connections. He got out on Sailmail ok. The
postal worker explained to us that Monday is a holiday, so we were lucky to
catch her for the WiFi card today, otherwise not possible to purchase until
Tuesday. She also kindly gave us a ride to Ronald’s house. He is in the
process of selling the dive center to another French couple who are already
there staying with them at their rental house. We all chatted, had a cup of
coffee. We asked about the sites. They are proud that they do not do
zoo-type shark feeding. All encounters are natural. The owners to be, Lionel
(Lee-o-nel) and Crystal (Crees-tal), are very nice and their English is good
enough. It is just a coincidence of timing that we will have the opportunity
to dive with both of these dive guides in the transition of the sale of the
It was a pretty long walk back from their house to town. Lots of kids on
bicycles and adults on mopeds. There were a more spontaneous friendly
greetings than we\’ve experienced on other French Polynesian islands. There
are about 6 pensions (bed & breakfast), no resorts or tourist development.
I think the local people are very proud of Maupiti and happy to have
visitors. The four other German boats had their dinghies tied up by ours
when we got back. We all walked to the market. Just a scouting visit, I
don\’t really need anything yet. Scott bought some postcards. Some of his ham
radio buddies have requested a postcard from where he is. It\’s called a QSL
card, proof that someone spoke to you on the radio from your stated
Can’t wait to get in the water tomorrow!
Cindy & Scott