Friday, June 15, 2012

Astarte is in Papeete, Tahiti

After a good two day/two night sail, we arrived to an incredible sight – Tahiti rising out of the sea lit by the rising sun. The island is quite large with hills and peaks surrounded by the sea and a coral reef. The sail here was good, mostly a downwind sail with the head sail (with or without the pole depending on how hard the wind was blowing.) If the wind is strong enough we don't require the whisker pole to keep the sail full. We had really good wind on the last night of passage – a few squalls, a bit of rain -but nothing too dramatic. We made great time and only used the engine to get into and out of the passes and anchorages. Michael picked a good weather window for us to make the transit. And we're here in time to get the boat all tidy, plus, get some local info on taxis, buses, propane, money etc., before Richard arrives on Wednesday. But, that should be easy with so many boats we know already here.

We cleared into the Port of Papeete which was another pass to negotiate. But this is a big port so it is all well marked with channel markers as well as range markers and the tides and current aren't as big an issue. After clearing in with the port authorities, we had to also get clearance to pass the airport runway which runs right next to the channel. Guess the masts could interfere with a low landing! You get permission on both ends of the runway. Once cleared through the airport, we made our way through many boats anchored, moored and at the docks of Marina Taina. We grabbed a mooring ball (actually two different ones – we changed our mind) and Barbara got them on the first grab both times. We normally prefer our own anchor to mooring balls – mostly to save those cruising dollars. Here, the anchorage was very, very crowded and very deep (55 feet of water). So we opted to splurge for the convenience of Richard's visit. That's if we don't get thrown off this particular mooring. They said they were filled on moorings 1-20 which are the short term stays. But we grabbed #23 as it was empty (the guide books suggest doing that). We figured it's harder to throw you off once hooked on then to ask in advance! So we may or may not be here for awhile – but hopefully it will work out.

At daybreak, there was another boat nearby also underway. We found out after sunup, that it was our friends on Namani. So we hope to connect with them later today. We did already see several people we know. This seems to be the place to be with the upcoming regatta. The next few days will be lots of information gathering and errands – propane refills, Polynesian money refills, fresh fruit and vegetable shopping and lots of organizing and cleaning the boat for our guest.

But today, we get the lay of the land (water) and see a few friends and relax after a successful passage. We made it to Tahiti!

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