Monday, June 23, 2008

Rangiroa to Papeete, Tahiti

Rangiroa, Tuamotu, French Polynesia

June 20, 2008 Friday

The WiFi connection did not work for almost 2 days so Bill used our SSB to send at email to the company main office in Tahiti.  They immediately responded and explained that there had been an electrical problem at the local dive shop in Rangiroa where their server was located and that they needed a cable to connect and reset the modem.  Bill, being the handy guy that he is, loaded up a laptop and various cables and went ashore to fix the problem.  Two hours later everything was working again – plus we received an additional 600 minutes of internet time as a “thank you.”  This is great because we will be in Papeete, Tahiti next week at a marina and will appreciate the internet access.  Good to know that it was not a waste of money buying the 20 hours air time here after all.  We can use it in Tahiti.

Why didn’t someone tell us that Hillary was no longer in the Presidential race?  When we finally accessed the internet this morning we caught up on some of the news that we have missed since last having WiFi aboard back on April 12th.  Looks like we have missed a lot of news in that time period.  Sometimes it is nice to be so oblivious to the things we can do nothing about.

Winds are very light and predicted to remain same for several days.  We have a reservation at a marina in Papeete, Tahiti to arrive on Monday so we can get our genoa repaired and also meet with a Furuno GPS guy.  We also definitely want to participate in the Rendevouz on June 27-28 that is being sponsored by the tourism department for French Polynesia.  More about that later.  Anyway, since the winds are so light we will need to depart Rangiroa late Saturday in order to sail the roughly 200 miles and arrive on Monday morning.  This should be another calm and slow passage.  Regret that we do not have more time to stay in Rangiroa.  We tried to arrange a tour of a pearl farm for tomorrow before we leave, but they are closed on weekends.  This should be the last place we will visit that does black pearl farming so it looks like we have missed the opportunity for a tour.  But we can watch a video about it at the Rendevouz.

June 23, 2008 Monday
Papeete, Tahiti
17.34.746S; 149.37.258W              Distance sailed 206.6 NM

Tides are so important when entering or exiting the passes in French Polynesia.  We departed Rangiroa through the Tiputa Pass around 4:30 p.m. Saturday.  It was supposed to be outgoing tide but there was 2.8 knot head current against us as we negotiated the exit through the pass.  Waters were swirling all around us in the narrow pass but it was uneventful.   The exit was much easier than the entrance because I could follow the track we had saved on the chartplotter from when we entered.  We very much enjoyed Rangiroa and wish we could have stayed here at least a month.

Slack tide for our destination of Papeete would occur at 10:00 to 10:30 on Monday morning.  This meant that we needed to average only 5.5 knots SOG for the passage.  Winds were light for most of the trip so it wasn’t too difficult to go that slow.  When we were about 75 miles from destination the wind changed direction and was directly on our nose.  A cold front was moving up from the south.  You have to remember that we are in the Southern Hemisphere and that it is now the Austral winter.  So we took in all sails and motored the rest of the way. 

Papeete is located on the northwest side of Tahiti.  As we approached the main harbor entrance the wind and sea was totally calm.  We radioed Harbor Control and received permission to enter.  Our route to the marina would be behind the reef.  We turned right and followed the marked channel around past the airport – requesting and receiving permission to pass by each end of the airport runway.  Would not want to cause a plane crash, and lose our boat in the process.  At times it appeared that we were following a channel that would send us directly into the reef; but the channel turned back toward the island each time, just as shown on the charts.  At times the reef was only about 15 feet from the side of our boat.  That is a little too close for comfort for me, especially in high wind.  As we made the final turn past the southwest end of the runway, the wind hit us full force.  It was calm on the NW side of this island, but it was wild as heck on the SW side! 

After passing the airport we radioed the marina and they informed us that it was too windy to attempt to dock right now.  So we found a spot to anchor and will wait until the wind dies before going into the marina.  We wanted to remove our genoa and get it delivered to the sail loft for repair this afternoon; but there is absolutely no way we can remove the sail in 25 knot winds.  There are a LOT of sailboats here and the anchorage is quite crowded.  Our boat actually swings into the channel a little bit but we are staying anchored in this spot until someone tells us to move out of the channel.   Not like there are a lot of options when it is this crowded.  There are some spectacular waves breaking over the reef in this high wind.  We were supposed to bring our paperwork to the agent to clear us into the Society Islands but it is so rough that we are not about to try to lower the dinghy off the mizzen deck and get the outboard lowered down to it.  The water is way too rough for that to be a safe project.  The authorities will just have to wait until the wind dies down.

At least we have WiFi out here in the anchorage so we can be entertained and catch up on news.

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