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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Goodbye Rangiroa, Hello Tahiti!

We made the afternoon dive in Rangiroa on the 10th.  What an experience!  They take you in a Zodiac inflatable through the pass to the outside of the atoll where the current is strong and the waves were crashing over us in the little boat.  We loved it - it reminded us of our rafting trip in Canada riding the rapids.  A couple of the other divers seemed somewhat tense and uneasy during the ride. The inflatable was tossing all about and here we are trying to get our equipment secured onto our bodies, yet when we dropped into the water it was so nice and calm, like an underwater sanctuary with crystal clear visibility, exploding in a myriad of colors.   We enjoyed a beautiful drift dive with many contrasting colors and formations of coral and lots of very colorful fish of all sizes, just bobbing in the current along with us.  Many were new to us so we plan to purchase a book of fish of the South Pacific in order to identify them on our next dive.  A group of dolphins came along, literally playing and frolicking swimming around the group upside down and performing underwater acrobatics for us.  They are real hams!  The dive master played with them a bit.  Then we got to feed a sea turtle and saw another one just hanging out as though he didn't notice us at all.  They are just so un-intimidated by us.  Frank saw a big Manta ray although I missed it fiddling with my buoyancy problem (I wasn't carrying enough weight to stay comfortably down with an air leak in the equipment I was using).  At the end of the dive they shoved us up onto the side of the Zodiac and we belly surfed back into the boat, sliding into piled up equipment – all very gracefully executed as you can imagine. Back on board, the dive master pointed out to Frank that his BCD is leaking as well.  Guess we need some new equipment!  Our stuff is relatively old.   They dropped us off back on Destiny and we spent the afternoon tidying up and preparing for an early departure on Wed. for Tahiti.

June 11th watching the tide tables and checking the Grib files we decided to leave from the Avaturo pass which carries less of a current than the Tiputa, through which we had arrived, hitting it by 6:30 AM.  It was just another walk in the park for us.  Timing is everything in these coral atolls and barrier reefed islands. The sail over to Tahiti was some 200 NM, which we planned to cross in about 30 to 36 hours.  We left with several others so had radio buddies during the passage.  The winds were fantastic and for most of the voyage we were getting about 7 – 8 knots SOG (speed over ground).  We reefed in both sails a few times when the winds got up over 20 knots, and after an uneventful overnighter, we entered Tahiti's Papeete port at around 12:30 PM, on the 12th.  We dropped anchor in the bay just outside Marina Taina.  Wow!  This is a bustling place!  There are several very large 150 ft + sailing yachts in the marina.  The beam on a couple is wider than the length of some of the sailboats we have seen around.  When we arrived the seas in the anchorage were pretty rough and rocky so we laid down plenty of scope and were in for a rollercoaster of a night.  The next day we found that our friend, Joe on s/v Syren had stern tied at the marina on his first night, out by the big boys, and because it has been such a rough night with his dock lines taking so much stress that one of his cleats ripped right out of his stern!  He quickly sought a side tie berth.  We inquired about one but were told to get in line.  We put our name on the list and got busy trying to line up repairs for our dinghy, the fuel line and the watermaker.  I'm leaving it to Frank to detail those events when he updates his page.  We are so happy to be here!

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