Sunday, July 20, 2008


2008-7-16 to 20  Wednesday to Saturday

Title: Huahine

Latitude 16.48.626S
Longitude 150.59.62W

The 93 mile overnight passage was easy.  Seemed like most of the boats anchored at Opunohu Bay decided to leave at the same time we did.  Eleven boats departed at about the same time, just before sunset Tuesday.  Two boats set course for either Raiatea or Bora Bora and the other nine headed for Huahine, so we had a little flotilla.  This was the first time we have made a passage accompanied by so many boats and I have to say that I did not really like it.  Some of the boats passed us much too closely during the night for my comfort level.  The winds slacked off during the night and we ended up motoring 49% of the passage, including the motoring a long way inside the lagoon to where we are now anchored.  We went over the north side of Huahine and entered at Avamoa Pass near the NW tip of the island and then followed the lagoon all the way to the very SW tip of the island and anchored in Avea Bay.  This was a bit different for us because our charts ended a mile or so before this anchorage.  The electronic charts and the sailing guide books all indicate that it is not possible to navigate to this area; they show it as all coral reef.  But I had saved The Moorings charts and guide that they give to their charter customers for the Tahitian islands and we followed those.  This is a great little anchorage behind a very wide reef.  Long very white sand beaches all along the bay at the base of the mountain make a beautiful setting.   

Must say that French Polynesia has done a marvelous job of placing navigation markers in the past couple of years.  If you pay attention it is very easy to follow the navigation markers and buoys.   Their system is the ILA-A which is opposite of the US system.  Upon entering a pass from the sea you have green markers to starboard and red to port.  No more “red-right-returning” as used in the US and Caribbean.  Once you enter a pass the lagoon is marked with red to land side and green to reef side.  This is consistent throughout French Polynesia.  So if you are following a lagoon to the right  (counter-clockwise) after entering a pass then the green markers remain on your right.  But if you turn left after entering a pass then the red markers will be on starboard and the green on port.  This did take a bit of getting used to, but now we are old hands at it.  This is a buoyage system unique to French Polynesia, and we think they have done a very good job at placing these navigational aids.

The island of Huahine is approximately 9 miles from north to south and 6 miles from east to west.  Like Tahiti, it is actually comprised of 2 islands.  Huahine Nui is the northernmost and larger of the 2 islands; and Huahine Iti is to the south.  The 2 islands are separated by a shallow narrow channel and are joined by a bridge.  It is possible to navigate this channel by dinghy if done slowly and carefully to avoid the numerous coral heads.  On the western side of Huahine Nui at the location of the beginning of this channel is very deep Port Bourayne.  The large Port Bourayne with high mountains surrounding 90% of it looks very much like a Scottish loch. 

Captain Cook was the first European to visit the island of Huahine.  He made several visits between 1769 and 1773.  In 1777 he stayed here 7 weeks.  An island native stole his sextant during his last visit here.  The guide books do not say what Capt. Cook did in retaliation for this theft but I imagine it was not too pleasant.  Cook had a real hatred of theft and usually was quite violent in his retaliations.  Missionaries from the London Missionary Society arrived on Huahine in 1808 and converted the inhabitants to Protestantism.  (Bill says they ruined everything.)  Huahine was the last of the Leeward Islands to become attached to France in 1888, forty years after Tahiti.  Huahine presented strong resistance to French control and there are monuments to the dead located at various points on the island.  Huahine was the religious center and cultural center of all French Polynesia prior to the arrival of  the Europeans and they did not forfeit their society and religion easily.  Huahine was annexed into French Polynesia in 1897, but French citizenship was not accorded the inhabitants until 1946.  Sounds to me like France wanted to make certain that all the inhabitants who resisted French control were dead before allowing the remaining inhabitants to have French citizenship.

The guide books recommend renting a car and touring both islands.  Since this was the ancient religious center there are many, many marae and some have been restored.  Supposed to be a couple of small museums which might be interesting.  But Bill is not interested in driving around so I do not think we will be renting a car to see the archeological sites.  Winds picked up to 20+ knots last evening and are predicted to remain high for another few days.  Think we will stay on the boat.  Friends are also anchored here and we will do pot luck dinners and visit and just enjoy the scenery for a few days before moving on to the next island. 

Our tentative plan is to leave French Polynesia from Bora Bora around mid-August, weather permitting, of course.  We already completed the departure clearance paperwork in Papeete, Tahiti.  All we have to do for clearance formalities is mail a signed form to Papeete 10 days before our final departure and then get a stamp in our passports at Bora Bora just before leaving.  Our 90 days in French Polynesia is up on August 26 and we could stay until then, but there is still so far to go to New Zealand that we would prefer to start moving again by mid-August.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comment will be posted after we confirm that you are not a cyber stalker.