Friday, October 31, 2014

31 October - Slow Going

0600 position 11-28S 149-52W. 322 miles north of Bora Bora, 1,898 miles
south of Hilo. Day's run 108 miles.

It was very pleasant sailing all day with flat water and just enough wind
to keep us moving along at about four knots. We are not going to set any
course records that way, but given the choice between that and slamming in
heavy winds and seas, I'll take the slow road any day as long as we are
not slatting. We are slowly putting a little easting in the bank as we
work our way north. The easting will help in the expected heavier trades
north of the equator, and besides northeast is the fastest point of sail
in these conditions.

There was lots of me time today. I rebuilt my canvas bucket by hand
stitching it together and got a lot of reading done.

Tony sailed past a manta ray basking on the surface during his morning
watch. That's the only sea life we've seen in the last day.

The good times lasted until 1030PM when a big squall rolled through and
sucked all of the wind out of the atmosphere. We powered for four hours
until the wind started filling in from the southeast, and since then have
been zipping along on a broad reach under full sail at six knots. Perhaps
we've gotten out of the light air zone?

The gribs have really been wrong so far on this passage. This is the
first time that I have seen them so far from reality. They have been
saying that we would have light to moderate but steady easterlies since we
departed Bora, yet we've had to power for twenty six hours. Right now the
gribs say we should have fourteen knot easterlies and we are seeing eight
knots from the southeast…

Thursday, October 30, 2014

30 October - Smooth Sailing

0600 position 13-07S 150-34W. 215 miles north of Bora Bora, 1,990 miles from Hilo. Day's run 124 miles.

The wind finally filled in enough to sail at 830AM and we shut the engine down after powering for twenty three of the previous twenty four hours. Since then we have been close reaching to the north east under full sail. The wind has been slowly increasing, as forecast, and we are seeing speeds over six knots once in a while. The seas are still very flat and there is no water on deck, but a small left over wind chop from the north has given us a little jerkiness to the ride. Moku pe'a is happy to be sailing again. She doesn't like powering any more than I do.

We are madly consuming our fresh vegetables before they start going bad, so it was a salmon salad for dinner. It was too hot to cook anyway.

The sun during the day is brutal. Even under the bimini the heat radiates and the sunlight reflects off of the waves. I'm staying below while I am off watch in the morning and trying to hide from the sun during the afternoon. It will probably get even hotter as we pass under the sun's latitude. The sun is south of the equator and heading south now, so in a couple of days the worst should be over and it should start to cool off a bit. The water temperature is almost bath warm and will likely continue to warm until we approach the equator. At least that makes it easy to dump that first bucket over your head at bath time.

I'm waiting to take my daily bath until after 430PM when the heat isn't so bad and I won't start sweating again. I'm keeping all of the windows in my cabin open to keep the air circulating and keep it as cool as possible, but it is still difficult to sleep in the heat.

There's not much to do. Nothing has broken so there's nothing to fix. I took the opportunity to dry out the forward cabin while we were under power and all the windows and hatches were open. I'm working on an improvement to my homemade canvas bucket and reading a good book.

Tony has slipped right in to the routine effortlessly and is enjoying the ride so far. He is humoring me with my six hour watch system, something he had never tried before. We spend a lot of time talking about boat projects. He is getting his Islander 44 ready for a South Pacific cruise in a couple of years and still has lots to do on his boat. I like talking about it, but I'm glad it's him doing the work and not me.

From Tony - So I arrive in Bora Bora after 21 hours in transit and hop on the ferry to Vaitape. The day is dazzling, with the classic profile of Mount Otemanu watching over the lagoon. As we approach the little ferry harbor, there is the Mighty Moku pe'a anchored all alone and regal at the entrance. Noodle is on the dock waiting for me. It was great to see him after 18 months, or so I thought. We dinghy out to the boat, meet Kendra, and stow my gear.

The day is still sparkling, except for a black squall in the southwest, headed straight towards us and Mt. Otemanu. Noodle and Kendra exchange knowing glances that I later determine meant, "Let's put the newby crewmember through the Initiation Hazing." Noodle suggests a "hike" up to a nearby gun emplacement on one of the arms of Otemanu. We dinghy ashore.

The "hike" ends up being along the "road" through Vaitape. This is the biggest (only) town on Bora Bora. It is glued to the slopes of Otemanu where she meets the lagoon, leaving only a narrow passage for the road through town. It is always full of cars, trucks, busses, taxis, scooters, bicycles, pedestrians, dogs and chickens, all trying to squeeze by one another.

Boy, am I gullible! Remember the black squall? It backed up against Otemanu, its mists swirling around the craggy peaks. It started raining and it was soon dumping at a rate of 16 inches an hour. This turned the dusty road into a mud pit, with deep puddles everywhere. The crowds continued to move through it all, though, with everyone, including chickens, screeching to a halt when oncoming cars stopped each other to exchange pleasantries. It wasn't just the timing of the squall that was the
hazing, though. I was relegated to the back of the line so the mud that was flung off the back of Kendra's and Noodles slippers caught me right in the kisser! Confirming my growing suspision that this was a hazing and that these two know the squall timing intimately, the rain stopped and the sun came out just as we got back to the dinghy dock.

Nah, really, Bora is beautiful and fun. It was so good to see Noodle and Kendra. Mt. Otemanu is truly awe-inspiring, towering over everything, the lagoon colors are amazing, and Noodle's snorkelling spot was just beautiful! There were so many different types of butterfly fish, all paired off for Springtime. Even Vaitape has its charms and the people, dogs, and chickens all seem cheerful.

Now at 06:30 we're making 7 knots in a squall generally on course for our waypoint area at 10N 145E, which gets us through the ITCZ at a good point to pick up the NE trades. Maruru, Bora Bora! And thank you Noodle for showing me around!


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

29 October - Homeward Bound

0600 position 14-58S 151-30W. 93 miles north of Bora Bora, 2,095 miles
from Hilo

Tony arrived at the Vaitape pier on schedule, and after we got him settled
in aboard we tried to go for a short hike up to the WWII gun emplacement
that protects Bora's entrance channel. Both my Uncle Len Leary and James
Michener, who wrote "Tales of the South Pacific" were stationed in Bora
during WWII and had something to do with the construction of the gun
emplacements around the island. I'd been up to the gun before, but we
bushwacked to get there. While on top we saw a road that led down on the
other side of the hill though, and because it had started raining (of
course) we decided to try to find the road up to the gun instead of
bushwacking. We never did find the road, but got a good long hike, and
rinse, instead. "Not one of your best ideas ever, Dad," was how Kendra
summarized our adventure.

I kissed Kendra goodby as she climbed aboard the airport shuttle ferry at
445PM for her trip home to Hawaii. It was a good visit, and six days
aboard Moku pe'a was "the perfect length of time" for Kendra's liking.
We'd had enough of the rocking and rolling off of Vaitape as every cruise
ship shore boat passed by, so we weighed anchor and headed to our favorite
spot behind Toopua Island where we had a calm and pleasant evening.

On Sunday I took Tony on a drift dive off of the north end of Toopua where
the current rips around the end of the island. This spot has the best
diving in Bora's lagoon. All of that current makes for lots of sea life,
but it is difficult to even hold your position in the water, so we dinghy
up current, jump in, drift past all of the scenery, and then dinghy back
to the anchored Moku pe'a. It was such a lovely day that we decided to
sail around the island to Bora's back side after our snorkel adventure.
The winds were only about 4 knots out of the north, so the sail took all
day, but we anchored at the south end of Motu Roa, about as far as one
can sail in the lagoon, just before 3PM.

Monday morning found us with no wind so we powered back to Vaitape, filled
fuel and water, did laundry, shopped, checked out with the Gendarmes, and
finished the day anchored off of Toopua getting the boat ready to depart
for home early the next morning.

We departed Bora Bora at 730AM after Tony's famous apple cinnamon pancakes
for breakfast. Things looked good at first. We had the engine off after
twenty minutes and sailed out Bora's channel with the wind out of the
north. We short tacked up the western reef of the island until 9AM when
the wind died off and we had to turn the engine on.

We've been motor sailing ever since with just a brief hour long stint
under sail during the afternoon watch. There has been just enough wind to
keep the sails full and they are giving us an extra knot of speed. The
water is flat, as flat as I've ever seen the Pacific Ocean. Like Kaneohe
Bay flat. The day was stunningly beautiful. Just a few puffy cumulus
trade wind clouds over the mountain tops and a few scattered around at
sea. The air was so clear we could see the tops of the clouds as they
fell away over the horizon. Tupai was clearly visible to port with
Tahaa, Raiatea, and Huahine to starboard. They all slowly disappeared as
we moseyed (a Rockyism) to the north and by sunset all that was left was
the tip of Bora's peak above the horizon behind us.

We had the fish lines out all day first hoping to pick up an ono as we
short tacked up Bora's barrier reef, and perhaps a mahi later, but no
luck. We did pass a school of tuna feeding on the surface during the
afternoon but surprisingly there were very few birds about at the time.
It's unusual to see a fish feeding frenzy like that without any birds.

The sky has been perfectly clear all night, great for watching shooting
stars. All the hatches and windows are open so it has been cool below.
It is great weather for sleeping, eating, reading and relaxing. What wind
there is has slowly clocked around allowing us to come up to a heading
just east of north, perfect.

According to the gribs we should have had enough wind to sail today, with
more tomorrow. I hope the more part is correct. I don't like powering
this early in the trip, but it sure has been pleasant and an easy
transition into a voyage.

Steady as she goes (a Mattism) on the Mighty Moku pe'a.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

25 October - The Best Day Ever

0600 position 16-32S 151-45W. On a mooring off of Bloody Mary's
Restaurant, Bora Bora Lagoon

"Today is the best day ever!" announced Kendra on Friday morning. "I
pooped AND got an email!"

Travel in general, and ocean sailing in particular, can mess with one's
regularity, and Kendra did not escape. Apparently her system returned to
normal and she was pleased to discover a message from her boy friend after
our daily sat phone email hookup. It's the little things that make life
special on the Mighty Moku pe'a.

The weather has been pretty dismal for most of Kendra's visit with lots of
rain. On Thursday morning it looked like it might be clear though so we
rode our clown bikes the twenty miles around Bora's coast road. Once we
got about five miles into it the heavens opened up and we completed the
ride in the rain, but at least it was warm.

I pulled off a critical victory in yesterday's cribbage game, and the
tally is now 4 - 2 in Kendra's favor. There is still a chance that I'll
get out of this with my dignity intact.

Last night we had an outstanding farewell dinner for Kendra at Bloody
Mary's, and made it back to the boat just before it started pouring. The
bucket that I use to weigh down the dam for my water catchment system has
about six inches more water in it this morning than it did yesterday.
That's lots of rain, and probably a full water tank.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

23 October - Moku pe'a Only Sails Down Wind

0600 position 16-31S 151-46W. At anchor in 20', sand bottom, In the lee
of Toopua Island in the Bora Lagoon

"Hey Kendra! How was your swim?"

"Oh my god! I ran into a ray that scared the crap out of me!"

"Sting rays are harmless. They are not like sharks that might want to eat

"Tell that to Steve Irwin, Dad."

"Steve Irwin was messing with the ray. They are harmless if you leave
them alone."

"It was still terrifying. It made me swim faster. Don't make fun!"

And so it goes on the Mighty Moku pe'a.

We motor sailed the rest of the way around Raiatea ending up in Haamene
Bay on Tahaa where we spent two nights. We arrived early enough in the
afternoon to rush in for some of Chester's world famous poisson cru coco
at the Mac China Snack Shop washed down with a Hinano.

I nearly burned up the Mighty Moku pe'a that night grilling chicken. Note
to self: Don't use a paper towel in lieu of a hot pad on the barbeque.

The next day Kendra went for a morning run, and in the afternoon we hiked
to the pass above Haamene. That evening we got to enjoy Chef Bruno's
specials at the Tahaa Mai Tai with creme brule and Irish Coffees.

I had messed up the schedule by spending two nights in Haamene, so at the
crack of dawn Wednesday we were under way for the Coral River on the
opposite side of Tahaa. I figured if we completed our Coral River snorkel
early we could book it over to Bora the same day and get back on schedule.
Alas, after we got back to the boat following our Coral River swim the
wind hadn't shifted from its forecast westerly direction - exactly the
direction we needed to go. Four knots of breeze right on the nose. Not enough to sail in, but enough to slow us down. But Kendra convinced me that we'd be bored
staying put all day, so we departed for Bora at 11AM.

I'll be darned if the minute we cleared the Tahaa lagoon the wind didn't
shift ninety degrees to come out of the south at ten knots - perfect
direction and strength for a pleasant full speed sail directly to Bora.
Moku pe'a must be descended from Noah's Ark or something. This boat is
blessed. We dropped the hook in the lee of Toopua at 3PM.

Kendra claimed that she didn't remember how to play cribbage, but she is
currently ahead two games to one. Looks like it came back pretty fast.

From our anchorage we can see the island of Maupiti twenty miles to the
west. I told Kendra about the time her mother and I sailed there twenty
eight years ago.

Maupiti's entrance channel is treacherous, particularly when the surf is
high. All the water that comes in over the reef must exit the lagoon
through the channel. Combine high surf with a strong current out a
narrow, shallow channel and it is dangerous. Some pals who lived on Bora
told us that the surf was small enough the day we wanted to sail to
Maupiti that the channel would be no problem. So off we went, catching a
nice mahi on the way, arriving at the Maupiti channel at 3PM to find it
closed out due to the too big surf.

We could do the prudent thing, turn around and beat back to Bora or chance
it and try the channel. Against my better judgment I decided to go for
it. With full sail and engine going full speed we headed in. We
encountered the full force of the ebb current, about four knots, just as
we arrived at the shallowest part of the channel where the waves were
breaking. Since we were going six knots, that made our speed over bottom
about two knots and kept us in the danger zone way too long. However, we
made it through and had a great time in Maupiti.

We didn't have refrigeration on the boat back then, and had to get rid of
about ten pounds of mahi. After anchoring we waved down a passing boat
full of locals and tried to give them the fish. They didn't speak a word
of English, and we didn't speak any Tahitian or French, so it was
difficult communicating. At first they refused, thinking we wanted to
sell it to them. Once they realized that it was a gift they gratefully accepted. Problem solved, and we thought that was the end of it. Not so. The next day they showed up with their boat
filled with coconuts, papaya, banana, lime, pomplamouse, and breadfruit
for us. What goes around comes around.

Monday, October 20, 2014

20 October - Kendra's Here!

0600 position 16-55S 151-26W. At anchor in 9'sand bottom, Nao Nao Motu,

Friday's forecast was for winds from the northwest, so after breakfast I
hauled the anchor and set off between rainstorms for Tahaa with a double
reefed main and full jib. We had to tack downwind to reach the southern
tip of Bora's fringing reef, but then it was a beam reach across the
channel to Tahaa. Caught a ten pound aku about half way across but let
him go. Aku are more trouble than they are worth. Another slightly
larger sloop had left the Bora lagoon about half an hour in front of me,
and I had fun reeling them in all the way across the channel. As I passed
them in the Tahaa entrance channel the three Frenchmen aboard ignored me.
Yep, kicked your butt.

I anchored for the evening at the head of Apu Bay on a 35 foot deep
"shoal" spot in the otherwise 100+ foot deep bay. I have seventy feet of
three eighths inch chain and a thirty three pound Bruce anchor on the end
of my anchor rode. It is the anchor recovery that is a pain in the okole
for anchorages that are over fifty feet deep. When it is deeper than
that, the transition from the rope to chain on the windlass is problematic
with all the weight hanging down. So I'm always looking for a shallower
anchorage and am grateful when I find one.

On Saturday morning I sailed in to Apooti Marina where I had the guest
dock all to myself and spent the rest of the day shopping, cleaning, and
getting ready for Kendra's arrival. The periodic stop at Apooti Marina is
very convenient for filling water, emptying garbage, and restocking the
boat now that the community has made it more difficult to do these chores
elsewhere. Worth every penny. Bright and early the next morning I
launched the dinghy, finished preparations, and dinghied to the airport in
time to see Kendra's plane touch down. It was sure good to see her again!

We dinghied back to the boat, got settled in, and set off for Nao Nao at
the southern end of Raiatea.

With moderate northwesterlies blowing, it seemed like a good idea to do a
counterclockwise circuit of Raiatea, so we sailed out into the ocean west
of Raiatea and headed south. The sea was pretty bumpy though and Kendra
got a bit uncomfortable, but two hours later we were back inside the
lagoon sailing south. We found three other boats at Nao Nao this time but
there was still room for us out on the reef.

Some kind of front must have come through because it blew hard and poured
rain all night long, but Monday morning dawned bright, clear, and calm.
As I send this Kendra is off on her morning swim along the shore of Nao

Friday, October 17, 2014

17 October - Relaxing in Paradise

0600 position 16-31S 151-46W. At anchor in 15', sand bottom, In the lee
of Toopua Island in the Bora Lagoon

I had purchased a thick slab of bacon at the supermarket and had bacon,
scrambled eggs, and fresh baguette, butter and jam with my coffee on
Tuesday morning to reward myself after Monday's epic work day. While
cleaning the grounds out of the coffee press on the swim step after
breakfast I looked down and saw a four foot black tipped shark swam by.
Hmmm. That was a bit disturbing. Perhaps I won't be spending a lot of
time in the water here in the lee of Toopua Island.

The bacon and eggs weren't just about pampering myself. While at the Four
Seasons I was able to weigh myself for the first time since April. I'm
down to 153 pounds. Not good. I suspect I'm losing muscle mass because I
have been off of my exercise routine for six months. There's no canoe
paddling or weight lifting on Moku pe'a, just a little bit of hiking and
biking once in a while. So I'm trying to bulk up a bit. In addition to
the bacon, I purchased a boneless rib roast from which I'm cutting a ribeye
steak periodically to grill for dinner. Had one both Monday and Tuesday
night. So ono.

I had originally anchored right up under Toopua where the hill shields the
boat from any strong trade winds, but Tuesday afternoon was still and hot
so I moved farther from the island where there was more breeze to keep me
cool. It was a stunning day, and I decided to "Bloke Up", forget about
the sharks and go for a swim. I snorkeled the coral heads near the boat
and then cleaned Moku pe'a bottom. The water was so warm that I ended up
staying in for nearly an hour.

The weather started to deteriorate on Wednesday, and by Thursday morning
it was pouring rain with gusts in the mid twenties. I've been stuck
below, and have decided that I'm already over the single handed thing. I
prefer company and wish I weren't alone. The weather is starting to
improve though, and the forecast for Friday is light winds from the
northwest, perfect for a down wind sail back to Raiatea.

I think every cruise develops its own theme. In 2011 we had a ball during
our three months of knocking about in French Polynesia. We didn't have
refrigeration aboard Moku pe'a at the time though, and nearly every
afternoon we went ashore in search of cold beer. I blogged about our
escapades, and pal Tim Dick responded that we were on a daily "QFB", Quest
For Beverage. I love that acronym, and decided that 2011 was "The QFB

Matt and I had dinner in early August in Port Maurelle, Tonga with Pauline
and Steve from the Macgregor 65 "Rum Doodle", and we were discussing our
upcoming sail to Raivavae. This lovely Australian couple are as tough as
nails having already sailed once around the world raising two children
along the way. We met them in Vava'u while they were on the final leg of
a four year circumnavigation of the Pacific. Upon hearing our trepidation
at the potential for extended periods of head winds and rough seas,
Pauline said, "Well then boys, you'd better Bloke Up!" I love that
Australian equivalent of "Man Up", and have decided that our 2014
adventure is "The Bloke Up Cruise". Ironically, nearly the entire cruise
has been sailed down wind and we haven't had to bloke up yet. With just a
little bit more luck we never will.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

14 October - Trouble in Paradise

0600 position 16-31S 151-46W. At anchor in 45', sand bottom, In the lee
of Toopua Island in the Bora Lagoon

Sunday was spent doing boat projects anchored in the lee of the Four
Seasons Resort. I cleaned the bottom, repaired my spinnaker pole,
inventoried our remaining food supplies, and did some engine maintenance.
It was basically a slow relaxing day though, and it included an afternoon

Monday was the opposite, and we got a lot done. After breakfast I pulled
the anchor and sailed into Vaitape, arriving about 10AM. As I powered
into the anchorage a crew member on a very nice eighty foot sloop waved me
down so I stopped alongside to speak with him. He told me that their boat
had been broken into and ransacked the night before while the crew was out
to dinner for two hours. The moon didn't rise until about 9PM, so the
thieves had a couple of hours of darkness to work with. They were
clearly watching the boat, and struck while the crew was away for a short
period of time. Everything that was portable and of value was taken
including all of the skippers clothing.

For years now yachting publications and blogs have warned about dinghy and
engine thefts in Papeete, Moorea, and Bora Bora, but this is the first
break in that I've heard of. The thieves are clearly getting more brazen,
and it doesn't sound like it is safe to moor off of Vaitape anymore.

With that in mind I decided to try to get all of my business done in one
day so I wouldn't have to spend the night there. My first trip ashore was
to go to the post office and buy a phone card to take care of some
stateside business. Air time on a pay phone is cheaper than the sat
phone. Then I checked out the logistics of dinghying in to the
supermarket and laundromat. I filled my backpack with provisions and
headed back to the boat.

My second trip ashore was to the laundromat to wash sheets and towels to
get ready for Kendra's visit. My third trip was to do more shopping,
including exchanging my empty Hinano carton for a full one. On each of
my trips I tried to call Lori at the pay phone, but I could never get
through. My fourth trip was to get some fresh tomatoes from a street
vendor (the supermarket didn't have any) and to make a final try to call
Lori. No luck on the call, but I did get the tomatoes.

I returned to the boat, hung the laundry to dry, stowed all of my
acquisitions, and had a beer. Then I made the beds, folded the remaining
laundry, pulled the anchor, and moved to the lee of Toopua Island which
I'm hoping will be safer than off of Vaitape.

Once anchored behind Toopua I rigged a block and tackle to allow me to
hoist the dinghy aboard by myself. There's no way I'm leaving it in the
water anymore in Bora Bora. Then a bath off of the stern just before
sunset and it was time for dinner.

I'm planning to stay here until the wind is right for the crossing to
Raiatea to meet Kendra, perhaps Wednesday or Thursday.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

12 October - The Best Resort Vacation I Never Had

1000 position 16-28S 151-43W. At anchor in 18', sand bottom, Four Seasons
Resort, Bora Bora

David and Noodle's Excellent Adventure had the perfect ending. The day
after our mountain hike we sailed around Bora to the Four Seasons, which
is out on one of Bora's fringing reef motus. David enjoyed the short
tacking up the backside of the island in twelve knots of breeze. We
stopped along the way at an interesting looking reef for a snorkel and a
beer, then powered the rest of the way to the resort arriving at 2PM.

We first powered around all the over water bungalows to see if we could
find Josephine waving from one of the balconies. No luck, so we anchored
off of the eastern end of the resort planning to dinghy in to get David
settled. As soon as the hook was down and secure a resort security jet
ski arrived to tell us that we couldn't anchor there. Nearly all of the
Four Season guests fly in and use the resort shuttle for transportation.
The delivery of a resort guest by private yacht is an unusual event that
they are not used to. I told "Jean" that I had a resort guest aboard, and
after a lengthy cell phone call with his boss he told us to anchor off the
western end of the facility and dinghy in to the front desk. So we
relocated, launched the dinghy, and headed in.

Josephine had checked in the day before, but we still had to get David
registered so they could be sure we were legitimate. They gave us some
fresh squeezed juice, and gave David a key and directions to his room. We
found the room, figured out how the key worked, and relaxed until
Josephine joined us following her afternoon beach session.

We had sailed by these motu bungalow resorts before. From the water they
really don't have that much appeal, but the Four Seasons is spectacular
once one gets ashore. Beautiful landscaping and facilities, an open and
uncrowded feel even though they were at 70% of capacity, and relaxing

For three days David and Josephine adopted me as their adult son and I got
to enjoy the resort facilities with them. We had three fantastic dinners
ashore, spent an afternoon lounging on the beach with Moku pe'a anchored
offshore as our view, but the three hot showers I enjoyed in their room
will remain etched in my memory for a long time. The shower in Neiafu at
Lori's hotel with its weak spray and lukewarm water and the occasional hot
rinse on Moku pe'a when the water was heated from a long spell of
powering don't really count. These were the first "real" hot showers I
have had since leaving Hawaii in April with unlimited hot water, a
spacious stall, and rain type shower head. Heaven.

I slept on the boat every night, but otherwise we only left the resort to
go for a day sail on Saturday. In 2011 we discovered a half mile long
winding path over the sandy shallows that allowed us to get to a
spectacular anchorage and snorkel spot on the southern end of the motus.
At times there was only a foot or so of clearance under our five foot deep
keel, but the destination was worth the journey and we had a great snorkel
and picnic. Difficult access meant we were the only yacht there, but
there were a number of tour boats on the beach for a Club Med type party
with games, music, and people frolicking in the water. David and I
enjoyed the scenery.

The alarm was set this morning so I could blow my conch shell as David and
Josephine's airport shuttle boat passed. Total success. I usually muff
the blowing of the conch shell making it sound like a cow in the slaughter
house, but this morning it came out fine and I didn't embarrass the Mighty
Moku pe'a. Their plane just flew overhead on its way to Papeete. It is a
crystal clear morning, about 4 knots of breeze out of the east. They
should have a fantastic view of the leeward islands as they fly to Tahiti
for their connection back to Hong Kong.

Moku pe'a and I are now alone for the first time. Kendra flies into
Raiatea in a week, and we need to be there to meet her, but otherwise
nothing is planed except to get some chores done. I was going to sail
down to Vaitape today, but it is so lovely here I think we'll stay put for
another night. I have always been interested to see how I like single
handed sailing, and this is my opportunity to try it out.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

9 October - Money Buckets

0600 position 16-31S 151-46W. At anchor in 30', sand bottom, In the lee
of Toopua Island in the Bora Lagoon

On Tuesday after breakfast we pulled the anchor and headed off for Bora,
which is how the locals refer to Bora Bora. The wind was less than ten
knots from the east, and I was not interested in powering all the way, so
we tried sailing, first with the jib wing and wing, and then with the
spinnaker. About half way across the channel the wind filled in from the
northeast and we could no longer hold course with the spinnaker up, so it
came down and we jib reached the rest of the way. No fish again, even
though we switched lures multiple times. The swell and resulting surf on
Bora's barrier reef were not large, but we still encountered three knots
of ebb current as we tried to enter Bora's entrance channel. We motor
sailed in as there was no way we were going to make it in under sail

Josephine, David's wife, was staying at the Hilton on Toopua Island, a
small motu inside Bora's lagoon while David cruised with me. We decided
that a circumnavigation of Toopua was in order so David could check out
his wife's accommodations. After powering around Toopua we anchored just
off the south end of the island to do some snorkeling there. The current
was just too strong though, and I barely made it back to Moku pe'a without
being swept away. After recovering from our snorkeling adventure, we
moved over to the south end of Bora and found a mooring off of Bloody
Mary's restaurant, where we had dinner that night. Our Bloody Mary's
dinner was excellent, and helped make up for missing out on the Tahaa Mai

Wednesday is hiking day when we are in Hawaii, so it's hiking day in
French Polynesia. We moved the boat to an anchorage off of the main pier
in Vaitape, Bora's principal village, and dinghied ashore. We first went
to determine if our friends the Seamans, who live in Vaitape, were home.
We found Maui Seaman and his son Honui loading the car for their imminent
departure for Australia. We chatted for a few minutes and they had to
leave to make their plane. Maui's parents, Bruce and Ramine, who live in
Bora part of the year were up in Hawaii, so with nobody left to visit we
took off on our attempt to hike to the top of Bora's mountain. It was a
tough hike. Two hours of mostly near vertical climbing with six ropes to
make it to the top of the 2000 foot peak. We got some great video and
photos on top and headed back down about 11AM. As we got near the bottom
it started to get dark and when we reached Vaitape the skies opened up and
it started pouring. It would have been dangerous on the steep slopes in
the rain. We were very lucky to have made it out before the rain started.

During the hike we came across some African snails which got us to
reminiscing about our small business as seven year olds. African snails
were out of control in Kaneohe in the early 1960s. You couldn't walk
across your yard without squishing some with nearly every step. They were
a real nuisance, and David's father would pay us 25 cents for every bucket
of snails we collected. It was implied that we would collect the snails
from David's yard, but it was not specifically stated so in the contract.
We discovered that the jungle in the undeveloped lot next door yielded far
easier pickings than in David's own yard, so that's where we collected
snails. We nicknamed the spot "Money Buckets". We made a small fortune
(for seven year olds) before David's father figured out what we were doing
and made us stop. Good times.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

7 October - Circumnavigating Raiatea

0600 position 16-37S 151-33W. At anchor in 74', mud bottom, Tapuamu Bay

We were sorely disappointed when the Tahaa Mai Tai restaurant never opened
up for dinner Saturday night. I had prepared David with vivid
descriptions of their creme brule, Irish coffee, and the ambiance of
rowing into the restaurant and having Moku pe'a as the focal point of the
view. I'm not sure what happened. We verified with Chef Bruno a couple
of weeks earlier that he wasn't going on vacation, and his schedule shows
him open Saturday nights. Oh well, we shifted to Plan B and had a nice
spaghetti dinner instead.

On Sunday morning we were up bright and early to hike up to the pass
overlooking Haamene Valley and Patio, then returned to the boat for
breakfast and an early departure for Nao Nao motu on the south end of
Raiatea. Lori's fresh baked banana coffee cake made up for missing out on
the Tahaa Mai Tai the night before. We beat the two miles out of Haamene
Valley in about twelve knots of breeze, but then a squall rolled through
and the wind died off. By the time we were off of Uturoa on Raiatea it
was flat calm, and on went the engine. We powered the length of Raiatea
inside the reef before the wind filled in again at 2PM when we turned the
corner, wung out the jib, and ran down the south side of the island to Nao

I have a thumb drive with all of my favorite music albums on it, and I
often have it playing on "random shuffle" on the stereo. Lori and I have
slightly different tastes in music, and when a BeeGees song comes on she
snickers and is embarrassed for me. I don't care. I like the BeeGees and
am not ashamed of it. I'm pleased to tell you that there are at least two
of us on the planet that feel that way. We had the stereo playing this
afternoon as we slipped down Raiatea's south shore, and when a BeeGees
song came on David expressed his appreciation. Ha!

We found the anchorage off the south end of Nao Nao to be empty, so we had
it all to ourselves. There just aren't as many cruising boats here this
season. The hook was down at 4PM, we went for a snorkel, and then
relaxed before a grilled ribeye, coleslaw, baguette and red wine dinner.

On Monday David and I were both up at the crack of dawn, and after some
more of Lori's banana cake and coffee, we were off for the Coral River.
The wind had died off overnight, so we powered out of Raiatea's lagoon
through Punaeroa Pass, motor sailed twelve miles outside the reef, then
reentered the lagoon at Papai Pass on Tahaa's west coast. No fish again.
It was two more miles under power to the anchorage off of the Coral
Garden. The sun came out for us during our Coral River dive, and after
returning to Moku pe'a we powered the one mile stretch into Tahaa's
Tapuamu Bay and anchored there for the evening.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

5 October - Laughing Up

1600 position 16-38S 151-29W. At anchor in 14', mud bottom, Haamene Bay

Lori and I spend a couple of days biking, hiking, snorkeling and preparing
for David's arrival. We did some great hiking and exploring through the
maraes of Maevea, an area full of ancient religious ruins. The name of
our favorite restaurant/bar adjacent to the dinghy dock in Fare had been
changed to "The Huahine Yacht Club" to attract more yachties, and it is
working. We enjoyed too many mai tais there one night.

David arrived on schedule Friday morning and we met him at the airport on
our bicycles. We wanted to get him into island cruise mode immediately,
so he and I rode the bikes back to Fare and Lori took a taxi. After some
shopping for baguettes and wine we were off for Avea Bay at the south end
of Huahine. We stopped along the way for a snorkel on the barrier reef
and anchored for the night at 4PM. We were surprised to find just one
other boat in Avea Bay. During previous visits it has been so crowded
that we've moved to avoid the fleet. It doesn't seem that there are as
many cruising boats in French Polynesia as there were in years past.

David brought two special wines that we shared with our grilled eggplant
and rib eye dinner. A great evening of catching up. David reminded me of
an experience we shared years earlier in college.

I was a sophomore at the Coast Guard Academy while David was in the same
year at Cornell. He decided to come visit me one weekend, but had no
where to stay. The Coast Guard was pretty strict about only cadets being
admitted to and staying in the barracks (dorm), but I had a room adjacent
to a stairwell on the first floor, making it easy to sneak somebody into
and out of my room from outside the building. My roommate wanted to go
away for the weekend, but he didn't have leave and we had bed checks to
make sure we were there. So we decided to kill two birds with one stone
by having David sleep in my roommate's bed. Duck Soup. The only other
concern was the varsity sailing meet I had to compete in on Saturday at
home against Tufts University. My normal crew in the two man dinghies was
otherwise occupied so we decided that David would crew for me. This was
strictly against NCAA, ICYRA, and Coast Guard Academy rules, but we didn't
care. We dressed him up to look like a cadet and took him down to the
boathouse. Our coach looked at David skeptically. He'd never seen David
before, and clearly he wasn't a cadet (the long hair tucked under his
watchcap and mustache were a giveaway). But if he said anything then he'd
have to find me another crew, which he wasn't prepared to do, so he let it
go. We sailed and won A division, and our team beat Tufts in the meet.
David still complains about not getting his Coast Guard letter jacket.
Good times.

On Saturday morning we sailed back to Fare where we left Lori on the dock
for her flight to Papeete and home to Honolulu. Lori and I had a great
three weeks revisiting the favorite anchorages from our cruise three years
ago and exploring to create new favorites. It was like another honeymoon
for us, and I was sorry to see her go. We will meet again in Hilo when
she joins Moku pe'a for the final leg back to Kaneohe.

After we made sure that Lori's Air Tahiti flight was still a go, we cast
off the dock in Fare and David and I set sail for Tahaa. We had a great
sail wing and wing all the way to the far end of Haamene Bay where we
anchored at 315PM. We completed SOP1, cracked open a couple of Hinanos,
and relaxed before our planned dinner tonight at the Tahaa Mai Tai.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

1 October - Windward Passage

0600 position 16-43S 151-02W. At anchor in 20 feet, sand bottom, Fare,

On Monday morning Lori and I sailed up to Uturoa to get fuel at the Total
station. Sometimes it can be a traumatic experience with folks jumping
the que, getting on to and off of the pier which is on a lee shore, and
processing the duty free fuel paperwork. We had an easy time of it though
and by noon we were at anchor on the barrier reef off of the Raiatea Lodge
where we planned to have dinner.

The Raiatea Lodge has a lovely facility between the Carenage Marina and
Raotoanu Pass, the lagoon pass at Raiatea's northwest corner. We ate
there once during our 2011 cruise and wanted to try it again. We dinghied
in to their dock and had a great meal.

Tuesday looked like the best day to make the crossing to Huahine. The
wind would be right on the nose, but in the low teens so pleasant sailing.
We exited Raiatea's lagoon at 9AM behind three other boats headed in the
same direction. The two catamarans ahead of us, probably charter boats,
disappeared quickly powering straight to Huahine, but we had a great race
with the forty foot monohull and beat him in by about half an hour. It
was the first time Moku pe'a had been on the wind since we were in Tonga.
The normal and best anchorage in Fare is just west of the town, right off
of the beach. It was completely empty when we arrived, but the overflow
anchorage out on the barrier reef had twelve boats in it. Strange. So we
found the perfect spot in the main anchorage and dropped the hook at 2PM.
Our companion monohull anchored just behind us, and this morning when we
woke up we found that two others had come in and anchored during the
night. Looks like we seeded the anchorage.

We are in Fare to meet my best friend David Schaefer. We grew up a few
houses apart on Kaneohe Bay Drive and have been pals since the first grade
at Aikahi Elementary. We graduated from Punahou together, swam down the
north shore of Molokai, and put my car back together after it caught fire
in Death Valley at the end of a cross country trip. David taught me to
brew beer and he is a founding partner in the Coconut Island Brewery. He
was supposed to join me in Bora Bora for two weeks of cruising when we
were there on my Ranger 33, Eleu, in 1986, but a last minute work snafu
forced him to cancel, so this is a twenty eight year later do-over. We
have history, and I am looking forward to cruising with him.