Tag Archives: rikitea

Rikitea – Parting is Such a Sweet Sorrow

We decided to spend a week in Rikitea which is the main anchorage of Mangareva.  Typically, we try to avoid staying in this anchorage for that length of time because it is often crowded with other cruising boats.  However, it is the main island with the only village and we needed to get a few things done like fixing our alternator plate and provisioning.  As a bonus we would have time to spend with our local friends who live in the main village.

The Rikitea anchorage was crowded with over 30 boats.  In addition, we were hit with a maramu (storm) which brought rain, high winds, rolly waves, and cold weather.  But there is always lemonade to be made with those lemons.

Rikitea Rrewards

Rikitea Rewards

We hung out with our local friends Stefan and Manu a lot.  They have baby goats that needed constant feeding and cuddling.  I signed up for that chore.  I dragged Missy and Yanel (HooDoo) along to help out.

Stefan's Baby Goats

Stefan’s Baby Goats

Polynesian Party Sugar Shack

We invited Stefan, Manu, and Popo back onboard Sugar Shack for the weekend.  We had planned on sailing to another island, but bad weather made it a weekend at anchor in Rikitea.  Dada and his two kids came for dinner and brunch the next day but did not stay the night like the others.  Our local friends brought an immense about of food and showed us how to prepare meals Polynesian style.

Tangled and Twisted

One day during our 10-day stay in Rikitea we had a particularly hard blow (gusty winds).  It whipped us around and close to a float.  We watched it and felt that we were far enough away to avoid getting tangled.  However, when we woke the next morning, we discovered the ball wrapped around the chain and the bridle.

We could not do anything about it as the winds were howling and the seas were a large.  We finally get a calm day with no wind and no swell a week later.

Matt starts to pull up the chain only to realize that it is not one float, but many.  In fact, it looks like we hooked the entire pearl float farm!  These shots were taken from the bow looking down.


We had to tie a secondary line to raise the chain since the floats were all tangled.  Of course, I got the line all messed up and it over rode onto itself.

Matt hops back in the dinghy to try to figure out this mess.  5 balls, tons of line and everything tethered to a big cement block at the bottom of the 16-meter Riketea anchorage.

After several hours, we finally came to the realization that we could not detangle this mess without getting the hooka or dive gear out.  Our friends on Hoodoo have a dive compressor and offered up one of their dive tanks. 

Diving the Tangled Web

The good news about having to dive this mess in Rikitea is that we get to check out Matt’s dive gear which has not been in use for a awhile.  Matt got all his gear on and went down under.  It took him well over an hour to remove everything including 6 floats, a pear net, half dozen lines in various widths, and 3 pearl floats anchors.  It appears Gambiers did not want us to leave either.

And we are now free to leave Rikitea.

Liming the Time Away in Mangareva

We left our little sanctuary of the outer islands to head back to Mangareva, the “mainland” and main village.  We had been hiding out for almost a month from the population and town.  However, the supply ship is scheduled to return and we still needed to top off our diesel and we were out of fresh produce.

The anchorage of Riktea at Mangareva is only 4 miles away from our current position.  We decided to wait until we saw the supply ship coming in before heading that way.  We woke up just before 0600 and realized the ship had come in during the night.  So, we readied the boat and made our way toward town.

It’s so funny to see the anchorage full.  We think there are about 30-35 boats spread throughout the entire Gambier archipelago.  However, when a ship comes in, we all gather like flies to $hit.  It is a cluster truck trying to find a good anchor spot where you won’t bump into your neighbor.

Mayhem Commences

Our friends on Sea Jay arrived before us so they went ashore first to order us a 200-liter barrel of diesel.  They were purchasing two 200-liter barrels for themselves and one 200-liter of diesel of us.  We were planning on sharing our barrel with a new arrival who is quarantined an unable to leave their boat.  First things first.

A Coat of Diesel

Matt took me to the dock and dropped me off where I remained for hours helping several cruisers.  He was in charge of bringing me empty jerry cans and taking the full ones back to various boats to unload into their tanks.  Since I was waiting on the dock, I ended up helping several people.  You need two people to pump fuel.  The ship provides a hand crank pump and long hose that is inserted into the barrel.  One person cranks the pump while the other holds the other end of the hose in the jerry cans.  It is an extremely messy job and I was covered in diesel. I was not a happy camper.  But truth be told, neither was Matt.  Back breaking work moving 20-liter (5 gal or 45lbs) around the dock.

At the end of the day, we all got our fuel.  I did not take any photos as I did not want to touch my dry bag or phone with diesel covered hands.  Oh, and I had to wear a mask for quarantine, which was horribly stifling.  Fun stuff.

SCORE – Fresh Produce 

We spent the next day loading up on fresh produce.  I went to shore early and scored.  Mangareva is the only island that has magasins (stores or markets that are like fuel station markets or a 7-11) in all of the Gambiers.  A few other islands have locals that grow gardens and will sometimes sell you produce.  We purchased cabbage, carrots, potatoes, onions, garlic, ginger, cucumbers and some pork chops.  We have not seen tomatoes in I don’t know how long – maybe since we left the Marquesas.

Pomplemouse and red peppers were scored on our hike to Mont Mokoto.  Our friends on Taravai sold us some bananas, lettuce, avocados and lemons.  So, we are stocked up for the next 2-3 weeks and then we start the hunt all over again.

Internet AOL Style

One of the other things we do while “in town” is use the internet.  Right now, there are only two places in Mangareva that will allow us internet access.  One is JoJo’s and they only let you use it for 5-10 minutes at a time and the connection is ridiculously slow.  The other place is at the local baker’s house.  Yep, we saddle up to a table on Phillipe’s porch.  He will allow 8-9 people on his connection at 200 xpf ($2) for 2 hours at a time between 8a-10a or 2p-4p only. 

It is still really slow and often websites time out because there is not enough of connection. I could barely get a connection to do some banking.  Unfortunately, the connection is not nearly strong enough to do photo uploads for the blog updates…. Here is a photo with Missy and I and Phillipe and a photo with Missy and I and Yanell.

When we finally got internet, we were able to upload a few photos and blogs.  Here is a photo with Missy and I and Phillipe and a photo with Missy and I and Yanell.

Phillip the Baker and Missy and I

Phillip the Baker and Missy and I

We did not stay long as we are not fans of the Mangareva anchorage.  It is always nice to come here to get food and fuel and do a few hikes, but after a few days you want out.  Back to the isolation of the outer islands.


A pretty shot out of one of our hatches during sunset

Hiking Mont Mokoto

For the past month we have been hiding out in the smaller motus due to the quarantine.  Which has been good in that we have more liberties and no people.  But they are super small and do not offer many opportunities to walk, let alone hike.  Mangareva offers the best hiking in the Gambiers.  There are two mountains, Mont Duff and Mont Mokoto.  Last year we hiked Mont Duff.  We decided to hike Mont Mokoto this year with our friends on HooDoo.

Mont Duff is 441 meters tall and Mont Mokoto is supposedly 423 meters tall.  I say “supposedly” because two of our devices showed it at 430 meters.  So, your guess is as good as mine.  You start out taking the same route for both hikes.  The hike up is about 2.5 miles to the top.  At about 1.5 miles there is a split off where you have to decide which Mont you want to ascend. 

First you hike to the top of the saddle on a paved road under the intense sun.  Then at the turn off you go straight up but you are in the blessed shade of the trees.  Our young friends (under 30) and my goat of a husband attacked the hill with great speed.  I was a bit tamer and slower.  They kindly waited for me several times.

Mont Mokoto’s Trail

This is an example of the path we hiked through the trees in the shade.  There were some areas with boulders and rocks to climb over, but for the most part it was straight up on a nice cleared path.  Half way to the top we had a pretty view of the bay.

Yanell was kind enough to grab a few photos of the photographer. The first is in the midst of the trees

At the top of one of the mountains we could see the view of the top of Mont Mokoto.  In the shot below you can see Missy and Yanell in the foreground.  If you zoom in, you can see Matt almost at the crest of Mont Mokoto.  He is a small speck on the left side almost to the top.

Me trailing behind again, but still on the move!  Almost to the summit and I am so ready to be there already.

Bird Population

There are tons of birds in the Gambiers.  Just before the summit there was a sign explaining a little bit about them.  The four main birds are the white-tailed tropic bird, brown noddy, white, tern, Herald Petrel.  The Herald Petrel is slowly going extinct on the island.  There are less than 50 in the area and only one chick is produced per brood.  They are seen primarily between May and September which is the breeding season.  Their greatest enemies are the rats, cats, dogs, and goats.

View from the Top of Mont Mokoto

We had arresting views at the top of Mont Mokoto.  You could see Rikitea bay (left bay with boats) and the opposite bay which is home to several pearl farms.

Being at the top gave us great views of several other islands in the Gambiers.  First is a photo of Taravai (large island on right) and Agakauitai (smaller on left).

This is a photo of the three “rocks.”  Kamaka is the main island in the center where you can anchor.  The others are either not suitable for anchoring or only suitable for a day stop.

Three rock island

Three rock island

This is Bernard’s island or Aukena.

Aukena Island

Aukena Island

And of course, a photo of the four of us at the top of Mont Mokoto.

Overall, I walked 7.9 miles and over 19,000 steps today.  I made two runs to all the markets and put in extra miles before the hike.  Let’s just say that I was exhausted by the time we got back to the boat.  I showered and crashed on the couch.