Monday, June 25, 2012

Not Racing to Moorea

Saturday was the big Rendezvous from Papeete to Moorea. Thirty boats participated in the event over the 20 nautical miles and although it was continually stressed that this was not a race, times were kept and posted at the end. Astarte finished a respectable 20th (and if Michael and Barbara had a more competent crew (me) they would have moved up a couple of spots). It was a great sail in 15 to 20 knot winds and 6 to 10 foot seas. We managed to average 6 knots boat speed for the trip.

This event started on Friday with a cocktail party; blessing of the fleet by the local holy man and dancing (the local variety of hula - Grass skirts and coconuts, male Polynesian - young men in skirts- and fire dancing) accompanied by a great local ukelele and drum band. They were good! The troupe got all the boat captains out to dance as they were taught (unsuccessfully) how to do the local Polynesian dance.

After the event we walked a few 100 feet (50 m) to a plaza with dozens of food trucks serving a wide variety of fare. This gathering occurs every night in the plaza and is THE happening spot in Papeete. Every truck serves steak frittes (fries) and dozens of other entrees. I had ½ duck perfectly cooked with rice and a Coke for $15.00 (cheap eats in Tahiti).

Saturday was rendezvous day and started by leaving the marina at 08:00. getting permission from the Port Authority to transit past the end of the airport runway, and meeting the rest of the fleet just outside the harbor entrance. We had a good start and were in the top 10 to leave the start line. As noted the "house" finished 20th. Moorea is a 50 island with a population of 14,000. It is what one would expect Hawaii and Tahiti to look like in the 1800's. It has a rim road and the mountains are very steep, green with vegetation and beautiful.

Finding anchorage in this tiny harbor of Opuunohu was a challenge but Barbara and Michael are good at it and gave us a good set on the first try. Good thing they did because the wind gusted to 30 knots overnight and little sleep was had. In the morning the winds subsided and the sky cleared. We were greeted at 7:00 am by a boat delivering two fresh baguettes to each boat participating.

Today it's onshore with a Tahitian barbeque and war canoe races. Michael and I are on the Mild Strokes team and Barbara is on a womens' team. More on this event tomorrow.

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