Tahiti ! – 2016…..

Dear Friends and Family, (Posted August 27th, 2016)

These photos were from our experiences in Tahiti (besides the boat projects!). We’ll be off for Moorea and the Leeward Islands of the Societies tomorrow. After Moorea, we’ll do a long day sail to Huahine, then Raiatea, Tahaa and finally Bora Bora before heading off to the very remote Suwarrow Atoll in the Northern Cook Islands.


Shark’s Tooth peak – Cooks Bay, Moorea. This is one of the most notable geographic features of the island where Captain Cook stopped in the calm anchorage which takes his name.

Soon after our arrival in Tahiti, the annual Pacific Puddle Jump Party was going to start the last weekend of June. This event is held annually for all the participants who sailed from the West Coast of the America’s. As we did this year, many via the Panama Canal with lots of boats from the US East Coast and Europe as well. As “Beach House” was suffering from engine malaise, we went over to Moorea (only a 10 mile trip) on s/v “Enchanter” with Lisa and Rijnhard Keet out of Australia. We roughed it in the Club Bali Hai hotel!

This is the view from The Club Bali Hai. There were expected to be up to 70 boats, but the final count was around 40. Still, an impressive turnout. This bay is parallel to Oponohu Bay and is large enough to hold any size Cruise Ship. They come here frequently. Oponohu Bay is reputed to be the bay that Jimmy Buffet wrote his song, “One Particular Harbor” about.

Cooks Bay, Moorea. The fleet arrives!  “Shark’s Tooth” peak is in the far left background, shrouded in the clouds.

These two bays are typically very calm and despite their depth, very good anchorages.

The main activity for the cruisers would be the 6 person canoe races. There were at least 8 heats to get into two semi finals and then the finals.  Kyle Bengar of s/v “Blowin’ Bubbles” was our Master of Ceremonies. Here we see the local talent teaching the “gringos” how to paddle a canoe!

All together now!

Here’s the start of one of the heats featuring the winner – Team ENCHANTER –  SWIFTSURE with Rijnhard, Lisa, Lanny and Ginger.

Here comes Team Enchantrer-Swiftsure with a handy lead in the first heat!

Here’s the TEAM after their first heat victory preparing for the next heat. They made the finals, but there were “ringers” about who stole their victory!!!!

Latitude 38 Magazine is the co-sponsor of the event and here is Major Domo Andy Turpin with the crew from s/v “Starry Horizons”, David and Amy out of Texas.  They transited the Panama Canal about 2 weeks ahead of us.

This was the “kids race”. You wanna talk close! Look at this photo finish.  Actually, Team “Kandu” was winning easy but the pro paddlers slacked off to make it close. Almost cost em’ too!

Back in Marina du Papeete, Nikki uses her “Whole Foods” (don’t we miss that out here!) cart to walk to “Champion” Supermarche. She is THE most fantastic chef. I won’t even say cook!  At first we were docked right off the highway behind her in this photo, but the dirt and noise from the traffic got to be too much so we moved to the outer dock which is MUCH nicer.

The “Heiva” is the annual “Fete” or festival. It’s about a month long and coincides with Bastille Day.  There are canoe racing competitions, dancing, fire walking and literally several thousand participants.

The opening parade of the “Fete” for the “Heiva”

This is the locals Market. Nikki really enjoyed this place and sometimes would come over at 5 a.m. when they opened to get special goodies.

This is the main Catholic Church in Papeete and we got to hear Leslie from s/v “Kandu” sing with the choir. She even had several solo’s.


And just when I was starting to get into really good shape with my weight routine…………(see next photo)…..

Some people say drinking is dangerous. You never knew how dangerous until you open a bottle of wine with a wine key and it breaks in your hand. This “V” shape fracture became a very efficient knife and cut the tendon completely through on my left index finger. I guess it was ironic as we would have to wait so long for repairs that I had more time to heal.

In some ways, I was very fortunate. The local Clinic Cardella was still open at 4:45 p.m on this Friday night and when I arrived an orthopedic surgeon was on duty. The next day, I had a general anesthetic and the tendon was re-attached.  The big damage was at the middle knuckle and I had to wear this splint for the better part of a month.

I’d like to tell you it looks worse than it is. Unfortunately, now, 6 weeks after the injury I still only have about 1/2 function in the main knuckle and virtually no use (I can’t bend) the distal (end) knuckle. It does however LOOK much better and the scar was minimized by my daughter Skye’s suggestion to use Vitamin E oil topically. I keloid badly and it really smoothed out the skin. I expect it to take the better part of a year to get most of the function back. It may never fully recover but the good news is – I’m right handed!  Needless to say, I’m very careful about opening wine bottles these days. The funny colors are from the betadine antiseptic that I washed it daily with.

Rijnhard and Lisa of s/v “Enchanter” – dinghy-ed in from Marina Taina, almost 5 mile away. Lisa had a little dermatological spot removed so we could commiserate together.

Nikki loves the local colorful clothes and outfits. The hats for her are just wonderful. So very 1950’s. She is a “1950’s” kinda gal.

This is the office of the “Haut Commisere” (The High Commissioner). Nikki and I had to get a 6 week visa extension due to waiting for our new engines to arrive from Australia. They were very helpful.

Nikki couldn’t resist these floral arrangements and several appeared weekly aboard “Beach House”.

This IS the national sport of French Polynesia. There are racks and racks of these canoes in every size and variety. This group is right next to us at the Marina. Everyday we see crews out practicing in the harbor.

I’d spent over a YEAR of my life on this island (Yes it’s true – 17 months actually) and I’d never been “up mountain”.  Nikki and I did a very long arduous off road vehicle tour to see the interior. Tahiti is shaped very much like Maui in Hawaii and similar to Catalina Island in California – however much higher – up to 8000 feet.

Ther are hundreds of these waterfalls all over Tahiti. This one is associated with a hydro electric plant which supplies a significant portion of the islands power.  The rest is diesel generation.

The tallest peaks of the caldera are just under 3000 meters (8000 feet or so). The valley is very rugged and has stunning views.

This is view down the valley where the now extinct volcano crater is. There is an “Eco Tourist’ lodge here. Lots of hikes, etc. It’s “Eco” because it doesn’t have much in the way of facilities, but it’s very pricey.

“Hole in the Wall”. There are no natural cuts through the center of the island and this tunnel is about 100 meters (yards) long.

Here we are looking west after exiting the “Hole in the Wall”.  These very scary cliff side roads are passable, but haven’t been used past here in 10 years. Why? Because one of the villages wanted more money for the tourist vehicles to use it. Note the natural reservoir here at about 5000 feet.

Tahiti is quite a mix. Sometimes we forget it’s a busy commercial harbor. When we take the boat for fuel to the other Marina, we have to ask the Port Control permission to pass the airport both ways due to the height of our mast!  It was a ship just like this that brought us our new engines from Sydney, Australia after they were trucked there from Melbourne, Australia.

It would become a daily affair for us to wave goodbye to new friends. Everyone else was heading west as to not have to rush across the Pacific for cyclone season which starts in November. Here, Johnnie and Debs of s/v “Laros”  are headed west. We hope to catch up with them by Oz.

You can see the huge cargo ship on the back left and the weekly Cruise Ship on the right.  Several of these vessels were on “round the world cruises” starting out of Sydney.

Nikki loved watching the floral arrangements being made.

We often had these lovely arrangements, worn like a crown adorn our interior. Just smell the Frangipani – imagine it!

No trip to Tahiti would be complete without a visit to James Norman Hall’s home. James Norman Hall wrote in collaboration with Charles Nordhoff, “Mutiny on the Bounty”. The original film starred Marlon Brando and took quite a lot of historic license (as did Hall) with the facts of the story. Fletcher Christian wasn’t the so much the protector of the oppressed sailor as the film would suggest and Bly wasn’t the beast he was played out to be. As usual, the truth lies somewhere in between. James Norman Hall’s son was a three time Oscar winning cinematographer and married briefly to Kathrine Ross who starred in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”.


Original Film poster of Marlon Brando in “Mutiny on the Bounty” at the James Norman Hall residence.

This is Matai Bay where both the “Bounty” and James Cooks, “Endeavour” were anchored.  We are standing at “One Tree Point” which Cook described in his log book. Point Venus is just to your right. Papeete is in the background with it’s classic barrier reef. The island of Moorea is under the clouds in the distance.

Nikki at the obelisk denoting Captain James Cook’s sighting the transit of Venus in 1769.

As we had the car this day, we invited friends Pete and Sue Wolcott to join us for a very special dinner at “Le Belvedere”.  This restaurant is up a 4 mile long, one lane road very high up above Papeete. Built in the 1960’s, it has recently changed hands and has had a major renovation. It is a spectacular spot, an amazing drive and a wonderful meal.  Papeete Harbor in the back ground. Get there for drinks at sunset!

260 foot Super Yacht “Dragonfly” – rumored to be owned by one of the founders of Google.  She charters for more per week than most people make in a year.

Party Boat Local Style. These are floating bar and swim hangouts. Some of them stay out for weeks and the guests are brought out in small boats. Note the reef behind the boat and the ocean outside is a bit bumpy.

Nikki and I took French Lessons since we were here long enough. This is Odile who was one of our teachers. She went for a boat ride with us to Marina Taina to fuel up.

It’s a small world after all!  The last time I saw this boat was right here at this very fuel dock. It has been to NZ, Europe and back with new owners and I’ve been around the world.  If Claire and Jason are out there, here is their former ride which used to be s/v “Elvis the Gecko”!

It’s a long story – just ask if you really want to know. The current owners of this Oyster 62 are from Ireland.

Nikki has her Mum’s journal from when she and her Step Dad did a world cruise back in the 1980’s. This is “Sea Princess” which is the name sake of the vessel that Iris and Steve went round the world on.

I include this shot of the Marina which shows the 260 foot ‘Dragonfly” with  s/v “Vertigo” at 240 feet right behind her. It’s rumored to be owned by Rupert Murdoch. These boats are enormous – until you look at them next to “Sea Princess”.

Local Artists: Nikki found some of these exquisite paintings and tapestries. Price – Very! Stunning nonetheless.

This painting looks like a tapestry, many of which are done on coconut fiber cloth and the traditional tree barks.

Yet another Goodbye! This time it’s s/v “Tactical Direction” with Tony and Justin aboard. They too were headed for Oz.

We won’t be the last lonely eagles. s/v “Bantu” in the middle and s/v “Ocean Star” in the foreground are still both waiting for final repairs on their transmissions.  We hope to see them all downwind from here.

Our last goodbye! (We hope). Here has been our home for the last 10 weeks at Marina du Papeete. We thank Manager Ken and Matai for their hospitality and assistance.

We’ll be off in the morning for Moorea and our next reports will be “Ship’s Mini Blogs and Position Reports” as we head to the “Isles sous les vents” (The Islands under the wind).

KIT (keep in touch!),
Scott and Nikki