Category Archives: French Polynesia

French Polynesia islands including: Marquesas, Society, Astrolls, Tuamotus, and Gambiers

La Pirog API

Ilot Moute – La Pirog API Resort

Low winds were predicted for a few days so we decided to head to the east side of Taha’a.  Last year we anchored near Ilot Moute where a small 8 room resort called La Pirog called home.  Remembering it as a beautiful location, we decided to go back with our friends Jolly Dogs.

On the way over, our friends on Sea Jay (Chris and Fred) texted and asked where we were headed so they could meet up with us.  We had not seen them since we were in Tahanea well over 4-5 months ago.  Which is cruising terms seems like a lifetime.

Before we left, Baie Tapuamu we zipped over to the market to pick up some fresh bread and eggs.  We dropped the mooring and motored the 14 hours which took us three hours.

INSERT 2 COLLAGE OF ANCHORAGE

La Pirog API Resort

Our friends on Sea Jay, Fred and Chris wanted to have lunch at the little 8-room resort called La Pirog API.  Normally we would shy away from eating meals at resorts because they are expensive and usually not worth it, but we could not resist this time.  Last year we had tried to have lunch or dinner here but management would not let us dine with the guests.  Check out our post from last year.

This year the resort is under new management and they allowed us onshore for drinks, lunch and dinner.  Sea Jay picked us up and we headed to the very small Ilot Moute.

La Pirog API

La Pirog API

The island is really, really small.  You could walk around it in less than 15 minutes.  But it is so darn cute!  They have fun signs posted all over the place.   As you pull in to the dinghy dock, you are greeted by the sign that reads “You are now entering a stress-free zone.”  All guests arrive by boat from Raiatea.  The have a weather telling sign, and a wifi sign as well.

La Pirog Signage

La Pirog Signage

We were greeted at the dock and walked up to the thatch roofed restaurant.  Each table had a fresh bouquet of flowers, a hand carved outrigger was nestled in the corner and a soft breeze kissed our faces as we enjoyed a nice meal.

Restaurant at La Pirog

Restaurant at La Pirog

From the restaurant you can see the small beach and lounge area with bar.

La Pirog Beach Lounge Area

La Pirog Beach Lounge Area

Super fun afternoon.  We can’t make a habit of eating out like this, but every once in awhile it is a special treat.

Exploring Neighboring Motus

There are a few other small motus around Ilot Moute.  So, we decided to go explore them.  The first stop is Ilot Mahavana which is a stone throw away from Ilot Atara.  We arrived first at Ilot Mahavana which was a really clean, well maintained motu.  Surprise surprise!  The water was really shallow between the two motus.  Super pretty little motu with a sandy beach all around it and beautiful palm trees providing shady spots.  You can easily walk out to the reef and look out to the ocean.

           

We found a really nice and well-made structure.  We assume this building is used by charter boats to feed their guests lunch.  There was a separate facility with three toilets and multiple sinks.  In addition, there were several nice seating areas overlooking the bay.

Ilot Atara was a different story. Totally unkempt and not maintained at all.  Coconuts and palm fronds everywhere.  Making it a little challenging to explore.

We had fun playing on the reef and outer edge.  Looking at all the sea life below.

We then headed to another rock with a corroded structure.  This is not big enough to be called a motu.  We think locals come here for the weekend and just toss a tarp over the rebar.  Just past the rock is a huge fish trap.  We found a trapped spotted stingray and tried to help him get out.  Unfortunately, we just could not persuade him to leave.  Poor thing. 

We had Fred and Chris over for dinner as we are going our separate ways tomorrow.  We may not see them for a year or two.

Chris, Fred, me and Matt

Chris, Fred, me and Matt

Matt’s Drone Shots

The water is so pretty here that we decided to break out the drone.  Jolly Dogs and Sea Jay are here with us, but we are spread out enough that we don’t crowd each other.

La Pirog anchorage Ilot Moute

La Pirog anchorage Ilot Moute

Depending on how you angle the drone you can make it look like we are all by ourselves.

Ilot Moute Tahaa

Ilot Moute Tahaa

And a great shot of Sugar Shack from straight above.

Ilot Moute Tahaa

Ilot Moute Tahaa

Events of this blog occurred around 8-12 September 2020.  Our blog runs 6-8 weeks behind our adventures.

Drift Snorkel and a Rhumerie

Our friends Mark and Isabel on Jolly Dogs have been hanging out with us near Taha’a.  This is their first time here so we decided to show them the coral gardens and the local rhumerie.  Isabel and I did the drift snorkel three times while Matt flew the drone.

Coral Gardens Drift Snorkel

The coral gardens are the most renowned snorkeling spots in the Society islands.  It is crystal clear, turquoise waters gently running from the Pacific Ocean to the Taha’a/Raiatea lagoon.  It is also called a “false pass” because water can get in and out but boats cannot due to the shallow nature.  In some places the gardens are only 1-2” above the coral while other places you can easily float by.  The current generally comes from the Pacific and pushes out toward the lagoon allowing tourists to drift snorkel over the coral gardens.

Matt took these photos with the drone.  The first photo is facing the Pacific and Bora Bora.  The second photo is the opposite direction facing the lagoon.  The bottom photo shows my friend Isabel and I walking to the end of the motu.

Here are some more drone shots.  The top is closer to the lagoon showcasing the Taha’a Resort.  The bottom photo shows Isabel and I drifting down the gardens.

Lots of amazing sea life.  My favorites are the clown fish and puffers.  I’ve written a lot of posts about the Coral Gardens so be sure to read those as well.  Use the search function on the blog by typing “coral gardens.”

These drone shots give you the entire picture of the drift snorkel.  First, you walk toward the pacific on Ilot Mahararae (top photo), then you drift down the gardens (2nd photo), then you walk out and repeat (bottom photo).  Isabel and I are in each of the 3 photos – can you find us?

Mana’o Tahiti – Rhumerie

After our snorkel we moved the big boats to Baie Tapuamu which is directly across from Ilot Tautau.  It is Mar’s birthday and he wanted to celebrate at the rhumerie.  The Mana’o Tahiti Rhumerie is a small wood structure that was built about a year ago.  It is super cute and quaint.   I love their mask sign.

Anaise started us off with a sugar cane tasting.  Who doesn’t like sucking on sugar cane?  As we were enjoying our sugar cane, she told us that Taha’a has 12 different types of sugar cane on the island.  They distill each variety separately then blend them together to make their rhum (yes it has an “h” in it as it is different than rum).  All of their rhum is agriculture rhum and made with pure sugar cane, not molasses.  Which, in my opinion is not nearly as tasty. 

Behind the rhumerie they have 7 of the 12 sugar cane for viewing.  It was really cool to see the difference in color of the stock, shape of the stock and growth of the stock.

Wine, Rhum, and Beer Tasting

We sampled the white wine next which was very dry, but ok.  I really wanted to try the rose and Mark wanted to try the red, but they would only open on bottle of wine for sampling 🙁

Next we moved on to the rhum tasting.  Afterall we are at a rhumerie and need to taste the rhum.  They have a white rhum and a dark rhum.  The white rhum was very harsh and difficult to consume.  The dark rhum is aged for one year in an oak barrel which gives it the brown color.  Both rhums are organic and received the first ever “organic rhum” rating in the world.

The sugar cane is grown, picked and distilled in Taha’a.  But the fermentation and bottling process happens in Tahiti.

The last sampling was of their local craft beer.  They had blanch, blonde, amber, and triple.  We tried the blanche and amber were pleasantly surprised.  Not bad for 380 xpf per bottle.

After a quick trip to the boat we headed to Jolly Dogs for a birthday dinner.  I made a chocolate cake, homemade mango salsa, and fresh lemon cubes (mojitos).  Even the sun was celebrating Mark’s birthday with a gorgeous shot.

Maupiti to Ilot Tautau (Taha’a)

It was really hard to leave Maupiti, but we needed to start making our way toward Raitea.  We had a great weather window toward Taha’a (Ilot Tautau) which is in the same lagoon as Raiatea.  The day before, we moved to the Maupiti pass anchorage to swim with the manta rays one more time and position ourselves for a quick exit.  On the day of our departure, we had North Easterly winds which were perfect for our short trip.  Up at dawn gave us a beautiful sunrise.

It is only 42nm from Maupiti to Taha’a/Raiatea which is about 8.5 hours.  We left at 0600 to exit the pass in “good conditions.”  We had 2.5 kts of outgoing current which helped us along.  Nice for us as we were exiting, but would be challenging for someone wanting to come into the lagoon.  You can see the large waves breaking on the reef on either side of the red and green markers.

We had a consistent breeze, small swell and pretty skies.  It was an ideal trip that took us 6.5 hours with an average of 6kts.  We arrived at one of our favorite anchorages and dropped the hook in 2 meters of stunning water.  You can see to the bottom and all the way across to the Bora Bora caldera.

Ilot TauTau (Taha’a Resort Island)

We anchored in our favorite spot which is near the Ilot Tautau where the Taha’a Resort is located.  We drop the hook in 2 meters of sandy water and get a beautiful view of the sunset behind Bora Bora.

A few calm days allowed Matt to explore on the SUP.  He left at sunrise and tried to go all the way around Ilot Tautau but the waters got to shallow (2-3”)

Day Run to Raiatea

We made a day trip to Raiatea Carenage.  We will be hauling the boat out to do some work soon and the owner needed to evaluate some fiberglass work.  So, we motored 2 hours from Taha’a to Raiatea.  The owner Dominique said he needed a few hours before we meet so we went to find lunch.  There is nothing around Raitea Carenage except another yard called CNI.  Neither place had a magasin or restaurant.  So, we went to Marina Apooiti where they have several charter companies (Sunsail, Moorings, and Tahiti Charter).  Surely they will have an eatery. 

Lucky for us, they had one restaurant called La Voile d’Or.  There were no customers when we arrived at 1200. We sat down ordered drinks and perused the menu.  Matt’s beer arrived luke warm and he was not pleased.  At 780xpf per bottle it should be ice cold, but nope.  The lunch prices were extremely expensive and they were out of Mahi. So, we finished our drinks and left.  Too bad as it is a really cute place with pretty ambiance.

On the way back we were able to motor sail part of the way and made it back in 1:45. All in all not a bad day trip and we received confirmation that the yard can do the fiberglass repair.

Back to Ilot Tautau to enjoy another gorgeous sunset.

The events on this post occurred in early September 2020.  Blog posts run about 6-8 weeks behind our adventures.