Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Route to Ra'iatea

This French Polynesian Society Island is said to be the most steeped in mystery and spiritualism. We are now anchored inside the reef on the windward side of this steep island, just across from the ancient seat of Polynesian religion, Taputapuatea. This is considered by most to be the most important of all "marae" - with many legends attached to its beginnings. Stones from this particular temple are often used as a sacred stone to start marae on other islands and prove allegiance to the gods.

Ra'iatea also boasts the islands only navigable river and its signature flower, tiare apetahi can only be grown on the island's 800 meter high Temehani Plateau.

We left Huahine early this morning (Tuesday) to sail across to Ra'iatea after being "stuck" due to weather in the fare anchorage. We had a bit of excitement in the anchorage with lots of boats coming and going in the squally weather (sometimes not as intended), a few rescues and the "bad ferry." This is the ferry that would come in way too close to the anchored yachts and also push an incredible wake. You'd think he didn't like sailboats! Bob on "Charisma" nicknamed it the "Bad Ferry."

We celebrated the day after Bastille Day with a "Let them eat cake" party aboard Astarte with friends from Buena Vista, Ladybug, and Charisma. We then went in for a happy, fun-filled "happy hour" on shore and enjoyed meeting some new boats.

Now we are on a new island and have this anchorage to ourselves. We've dropped the hook in about 20 feet of water with a sandy bottom but are sitting over a ledge so we are in about 40 feet of water. We did put out a lot of chain so we should be fine. This is not the ideal anchoring conditions – but the good news is the wind is blowing us away from the reef. If we drag, we have quite a long way to go before getting to the other side of the inside channel. The reef keeps the roll and waves down – but there is nothing to block the wind should it pipe up. Its been blowing around 15 knots all morning for our sail and continues to stay around that speed. It is pretty here though. The clear, aquamarine water on the reef side and the island with several hills and Mt. Toomaru(1017 meters) behind us. There are lots of shadows created by the hills on the plateau and valleys so it is quite dramatic.

We'll be here to explore Taputaputea tomorrow morning and then perhaps head to the next island, Taha'a.

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