July 8, 2008 Tuesday
Minutes after I updated the previous log entry to this website Bill got “herd mentality” and we followed all the other boats into Cook’s Bay. Probably a good thing that we did move because our anchor popped right up with no resistance whatsoever because the bottom sand is so silty and soft out near the reef. Bottom inside the bay is sticky mud and really grabs an anchor. The holding is so good in here that we will have difficulty raising anchor when it is time to move on. Good thing that we have a heavy-flow anchor/chain wash-down on the bow. Wouldn’t want that icky stinky mud down inside the anchor chain locker.
Cook’s Bay is breathtakingly beautiful. Bora Bora has a reputation as
Polynesia’s most beautiful
island, but Moorea seems worthy of this distinction from what we have
seen. The only negative aspect about
Cook’s Bay is that there is no internet service in here. Moorea is a heart-shaped 125-square-kilometer
island with 2 large bays on the northern side;
to the west and Cook’s Bay to the east.
Captain Cook visited Opunuhu Bay but never visited the
bay named in his honor. The Opunuhu
Bay is the surviving southern rim of
a shield volcano once 3,000 meters high.
Moorea is twice as old as her sister island of island of Moorea Tahiti
and weathering is noticeably advanced.
There are several mountains on the island and the jagged peaks facing
the 2 northern bays form superb scenes.
Polynesian chiefs were once buried in caves along the cliffs of . The top edges of Mt. Tohivea
are shark-tooth-shaped. The high peaks
of the island protect the north and northwest coasts from the rain-bearing
southeast trade winds. This drier
climate and the sheer beauty explain the profusion of hotels along the northern
side of the island. The interior valley
slopes of Moorea are filled with large fruit and vegetable plantations and
human habitation. Mt. Mouaroa
Moorea was called Aimeho at the time of Capt. Cook’s visit. Legend claimed that the island was formed from the second dorsal fin of the fish that became the
. The present name of Moorea means “yellow”
(rea) “lizard” (moo). This name derived
from a yellow lizard that appeared to a high priest in a dream. The island has also been called Fe’e or
“octopus” for the eight ridges that divide the island into eight segments. A very small hole through the top of island of Tahiti Mt. Mouaputa
is said to have been made by the spear of the demigod Pai when he tossed the
spear across from Tahiti to prevent Mt.
Rotui from being carried off to the by Hiro, the god of thieves. Gotta love some of these legends. We can see 2 small holes in 2 separate
mountain peaks from where we are anchored and cannot tell which one is island of Raiatea
and have no idea if there is also a legend for the unidentified hole. Mt. Mouaputa
Capt. Samuel Wallis was the European “discoverer” of the
Islands in 1767. Capt.
Wallis stopped in Tahiti but sailed past the northern coast of Moorea, which he
named the Duke of York’s Island. The first European visitor was botanist
Joseph Banks, along with 3 other crew from his ship. Capt. Cook anchored in
for one week in 1777. His visit was
brutal; he smashed the islanders’ canoes and burned their homes when they
refused to return a stolen goat. If you
have read any books about Capt. Cook, you soon see a pattern to his behavior
regarding what he looked upon as thievery.
He never understood the Polynesian concept of communal ownership of
certain things, like food available for the taking as needed or desired. Opunohu Bay
In 1792 King Pomare I conquered Moorea using arms obtained from the BOUNTY mutineers. Moorea had long been a traditional place of refuge for defeated Tahitian warriors. In 1808 King Pomare II fled into exile on Moorea after his failed attempt to bring all
Tahiti under his
control. A party of English missionaries
established themselves at the , Moorea, in
1811; and Moorea soon earned a special place in the history of Christianity. In 1812 the missionaries finally managed to
convert King Pomare II after 15 years of trying. This led to other conversions until finally
on February 14, 1815, Patii (the high priest of Oro) publicly accepted
Christianity and burned the old heathen idols at Papetoai. Today there is an octagonal-shaped church built
at the place where the idols were burned.
Shortly afterward the entire population followed Patii’s example. The marae of Moorea were abandoned and the village
of Papetoai depopulated. The first Tahitian translation of part of the
Bible was printed on Moorea in 1817.
From Moorea, Christianity spread throughout the South Pacific. Opunohu Valley
After King Pomare II finally managed to reconquer
in 1815 (with missionary help – the main reason for his “conversion”), Moorea
again became a backwater place. American
novelist Herman Melville visited Moorea in 1842 and worked on a sweet-potato
farm. His book “Omoo” beautifully describes
Today Moorea is booming with tourism. There are many hotel resorts but most have the thatched roof type construction and blend well with the topography. The islanders continue to fight against golf courses and the chrome and glass type large hotel construction. One hotel in
does a daily feeding of rays and you
can walk and snorkel among the feeding rays.
Don’t think we will do that activity because of my bronchial infection. Opunohu Bay
We had planned to leave today for 90-mile passage to the
but it is raining and the wind predictions for the foreseeable future are not
favorable for sailing. We really don’t
want to have to motor for 24 hours. I am
still sick with upper-respiratory crud and don’t want to smell diesel fumes for
the entire passage to either Huahine or island of Huahine Raiatea. So we are staying put for a few days.
Something that I keep forgetting to mention are the native outrigger canoes that we have seen at every island since arriving in the Marquesas. These things are amazingly fast! The outrigger canoes range in size and capacity. Even a single-seater outrigger is pretty long, around 15-feet long. A 5-person outrigger can easily be 35-feet long. The canoes are very, very narrow. A female American friend had the opportunity of paddling one of the single-seater outrigger canoes recently. She wears tiny size 2 shorts and her hips were too wide to fit down into the seat! Which makes me think that each canoe is made to individual measurements because some of these native women are pretty large. When we were in the marina near
the locals were
practicing every afternoon for their annual outrigger races and we saw several
racing crews that were all female, although by far most of the outriggers are
paddled by men. Anyway, the women were
far from a size 2 yet they correctly down inside those canoes so that leads us
to assume that the canoes are built to individual measurements. Some of these things look really slick. When they paddle they use their entire
bodies, not just their shoulders and arms.
Looks like great exercise. Papeete
Most of us are beginning to make plans for
even though there is another 3,000
miles and 5 months before we will reach there.
More than 600 cruising boats annually arrive in New
during November to very early December and stay there until late April or early
May of the following year. Every boat
will need to be hauled out for a bottom job and many of us will fly home for a
month or more. People are usually tired
of sailing by the time they reach New Zealand . Certainly Bill and I are really looking
forward to that 6-month break. Like many
other cruisers we hope to buy a used car and possibly tour inland in NZ for a
couple of months, depending on cost, of course.
We have already purchased our airline tickets from New Zealand Auckland
to Los Angeles and hope to be able to use air
miles for the LA to
part of our trip. We are now looking at
marinas and boatyards but have not yet made any reservations. Houston allows US visitors to
stay for 3 months without a visa. Since
we will be staying longer, we will need to obtain 6-month visas at the NZ
embassy either in Niue or in New Zealand . Seems like we are planning and reserving
things early but better to be prepared than to arrive and have no place to
leave the boat while we fly home. We fly
back to the Tonga
on December 10 and will return to NZ on January 9. Looking forward to seeing everyone during the
BTW, I have decided that I prefer making one 1,000-mile passage instead of making five 200-mile passages. It is tiring to make the short passages. It takes several days to get into the rhythm of watch schedule and it is just easier on the longer passages.
Another thing that I keep forgetting to mention is the McDonald’s in
There is McDonald’s in downtown Papeete
and another location out next to Marina Tahina where we were docked. We visited the location by the marina several
times. We weren’t after the burgers but
I wanted a chocolate milkshake and Bill wanted French fries. Neither of us is a McDonald’s fan and I am
not familiar with their menu, but I was surprised at what we found. They had 3 Happy Meal combos for the
kids. The most popular one appeared to
be a salad, small French fries and orange juice. Another one was the Croque McDo, which was a
ham and cheese sandwich that was heated on a grill but no butter or oil added
so it was lower fat than normal fast food.
Another surprise was the Royal Burgers – bet they don’t sell Royal
Burgers at any McDonald’s in the states.
Another unusual item was the pannini sandwich. A Happy Meal cost $9.20 USD. A Boss Burger with no fries or drink was also
$9.20. My medium-sized chocolate shake
was $3.60. The place was filled with
locals, not tourists; so you can tell that they must make decent wages in Papeete Tahiti to afford those prices. BTW, the McDonald’s next to the marina had its
own private beach and a playground that looked like a park. Wonder if any other McDonald’s has its own