Tag Archives: tahiti

Sugar Shack with Moorea Mountain

Mystical Moorea

Moorea is about 26-miles from Point Venus which theoretically would take us about 4-4.5 hours.  We started out with zero wind and 2 hours later we had 20-25 kts of wind.  There is definitely a strange weather pattern happening  – or locally called “maramu.”  Moorea was voted “The most beautiful island you have never heard of” by Huffington post.  Mo’orea was formed 1.5-2.5 million years ago from a volcano called “Calderia”.  The island is only about 10 miles wide and has nearly 18,000 inhabitants.  This island is known as the Pineapple island yet the legend has the local name as the “Yellow Lizard.”

Our destination, Cooks Bay which is a deep, protected bay surrounded by lush, sloping mountains covered in vibrant, green foliage.

Sugar Shack approaching Moorea

Sugar Shack approaching Moorea

The mountains only appear greener as you get closer.  There is a small village at the center of the bay and houses and hotels that pepper the waterfront.

Sugar Shack anchored in front of PaoPao

Sugar Shack anchored in front of PaoPao

EXPLORING MOOREA ON LAND:

Our first day, we walked to Paopao, found a mobile gas station, magasin (market), and a pizza place.

View of PaoPao bay from shore

View of PaoPao bay from shore

The next day, we docked the dinghy at the center of the bay and found the Super U market and  several small businesses.   Including, this eatery with an enormous bird catching a fish on the side.

Local artwork on Moorea

Local artwork on Moorea

Sugar Shack looking pretty with the mountains as a backdrop.

Sugar Shack with Moorea Mountain

Sugar Shack with Moorea Mountain

We decided to explore the island and search for the pineapple fields. They are about 2-miles inland and are located half way between Cooks Bay and Opunohu Bay.  It was an easy walk along the paved road for the first 1.75 miles, then it changed to a dirt, muddy road.  But the majestic views made up for the wet trail.

The locals have grown pineapple fields throughout the mountains and they are spectacular to see.

Pineapple Fields in Moorea

Pineapple Fields in Moorea

Each pineapple plant takes about 9 months to mature, then one pineapple with grown in its core.  The plant will not bloom another core pineapple.   The plant will produce one pineapple closer to its roots every 3-6 months.  Pineapples grow smaller with each new birth.  The pineapple plant is dug up and discarded after the plants have produced fruit for 6-7 years.  Because of the relatively short life cycle, they have many fields in various stages of production.

Pineapple Fields on Moorea

Pineapples growing at various stages

We anchored near an old church with a red steeple.  So, we decide to find it on shore.  I didn’t find any signage on the red steeple church, but the one next door is St. Joseph Catholic Church.

Moorea - Cooks Bay

Moorea – Cooks Bay

Stay tuned for more adventures on Moorea as we explore the island in a 4×4!

Fun Facts:

  • There are over 2,000 variety of plants on Moorea, but only 200 are native.
  • The water is not drinkable on Moorea so the government installed five drinking stations where the locals can bring bottles to fill up with water from the springs.
  • The average monthly income is between 1,000-1,500 per month and that is only if they had a contract with a hotel or business that provided consistent work. This is staggering when you consider the cost of food is ridiculously expensive!
  • Moorea used to have above ground power lines that were mounted on poles made of pine trees. The mayor got fed up with replacing the poles after each storm and ordered all lines to be run underground.  It makes for a much more beautiful vista.
  • The local government owns all of the plantations, but 33 families actually work the farms, grow the plants and produce the fruit.

Shocking and True:

  • All of the islands in French Polynesia are slowly moving North West and are sinking about a ½” a year.
  • The lower the island, the older it is until it becomes an “atoll” like the Tuamotu’s
  • The coral dies when the fresh water from the mountains combines with the salt water from the sea.
  • There are 118 islands in French Polynesia, yet only 42 islands are inhabited.
Sunset at Point Venus

Tahiti Tour with Wayne

Wayne met me in LA and we flew back to Tahiti together.  We arrived with 5 large bags and 2 backpacks weighing in at almost 300lbs.  Yep, we brought back a lot of boat parts, spares, replacements, and other necessities.  You see, it is far cheaper to purchase items in the States and bring them over then it is to purchase locally at 3x the price.  Or purchase in the U.S. and have it shipped to Tahiti.  So, as visitors come in to visit us they will be our “pack mules.”  After spending a full day unpacking the bags and putting items away we decided it was time to tour the island.

Tour of Tahiti

We grabbed a rental car at the airport and spent half the day provisioning.  I’m sure it was loads of fun for Wayne, but it is a necessity.  And really he wasn’t about to complain as we purchased 10 cases of Hinano beer.  The next day we took Wayne to see our favorite Grotto where we enjoyed a tasty French breakfast.  See Tahiti Excursion for details on the Grotto.

We circled back past Marina Taina, through downtown Papeete, to the other side of the island where Tres Cascades is located.  You can read about these beautiful falls in the “Tahiti Excursion” blog and at Tahiti Heritage.  This beautiful site never disappoints – with its raging falls, running rivers, green foliage and colorful rainbows.

Tres Cascades in Tahiti

Tres Cascades in Tahiti

Fun little MOAI located downtown Papeete and in front of the Papette Marina.

MOAI in downtown Papeete Tahiti

MOAI in downtown Papeete Tahiti

We returned the rental car, hopped back on Sugar Shack and headed the 5 miles to Point Venus. See our blog “Point Venus” for historical details and lots of fabulous photos.  We took a water tour around the point, showed Wayne the striking lighthouse and walked the black sand beach.

Point Venus Lighthouse

Point Venus Lighthouse

We were gifted with an glorious and unobstructed view of the sunset.

Sunset at Point Venus

Sunset at Point Venus

Since we only have Wayne on-board for a short stint, we wanted to get a move on.  Matt checked the weather and to our disappointment, there was a “maramu” heading our way.  A maramu is a very strong southerly wind which only occurs in this area in the winter.  It can cause some serious havoc while underway.  So, we decided it was best to make our way to Moorea to wait out the maramu.

Sugar Shack anchored in front of Intercontinental Hotel

Boat Tasks in Tahiti

We did not stay long in Point Venus as we had many boat tasks to do before my flight back to the states.  So, we headed to Marina Taina after our brief exploration of Point Venus.  It was a short 5-mile journey to the North Pass.  We hailed the Port Captain to alert them of our arrival and received permission to enter the pass.  It’s not a particularly pretty island, especially coming from the North Pass.  There is a huge industrial area to the left and the downtown Papeete Marina.  Then you pass rows and rows of houses and building on shore.  So much for the majestic beauty of the Tahitian Islands.

Entering the South Pass in Tahiti

Entering the North Pass in Tahiti

We had a little less than 5-miles from the entrance, past the airport, to the Marina Taina anchorage.  We took it slow and easy as we checked out the view.  Somewhere around mile 2, we were joined by two very strong and energetic Polynesian outriggers.  One stayed on our port while the other paddled in our wake.  They stayed with us for well over 3 miles and maintained our 5kt speed!  They were working hard!

Polynesia Outriggers Keeping Up With Sugar Shack

Polynesia Outriggers Keeping Up With Sugar Shack

MARINA TAINA ANCHORAGE

We had hoped to hop on one of the 186 mooring balls offered by Marina Taina.  However, when we stopped by to inquire about availability in April, the manager said they were first come first serve (no reservations taken).  Hurumph. So, when Matt and I arrived, we passed several empty mooring balls on the north side of the anchorage.  We wanted to see if there was anything closer to the marina and found a sweet spot in shallow, turquoise water.  After finding a mooring, we fed our bridle and a back up line through, swam on the mooring and called it a good day.

We were directly across from the Intercontinental Tahiti hotel which boasts of huts over the water.  Unfortunately for them, they are surrounded by boats.

Intercontinental Hotel Tahiti Surrounded by Cruisers

Intercontinental Hotel Tahiti Surrounded by Cruisers

TASKS, CHORES AND PROJECTS

We had lots boat tasks, chores and projects to do.  Of course, it was self-imposed and not totally necessary to get done, but I wanted to complete them before Wayne came aboard.

Fist things first, we went to the marina office to let them know we picked up a mooring ball.  Unfortunately for us we were on a private ball and had to go back to the boat to move her to the “anchorage.”  We are still in gorgeous water, but now far from the marina.

Since we were technically in the marina’s anchorage, they wrote us a letter stating we had a “residence” here so we could get an annual contract with the local internet/phone provider, Vini.  So we headed over to Vini to sign up for our hot spot box, pay for the year of service up front and connect it all up.  At $50 per month for 10 gigs it added up fast.  Plus, we had to put 2 months deposit down.  But we should have internet access in “most” islands throughout French Polynesia.

We checked in with Tahiti Crew to see if they had an update on our long-stay visa.  Nothing yet.  Then researched local canvas shops.  We needed to find someone who could repair our small spinnaker (remember we tore the clew off) and our sail bag.  Success, Ocean Sails Tahiti could repair it before our deadline of 24 June!

I managed to get a lot of boat tasks done:

  • Ospho all of the interior/exterior stainless steel
  • Oiled/stained all of the interior/exterior wood/teak.
  • Bleached all ceilings
  • Deep clean both heads and all cabins
  • Complete food inventory in preparation of our shopping spree when I get back

More Beautiful Photos from Tahiti:

The photo below was taken from the boat looking at Morea.  Beautiful little island hiding the sun.

Sunset behind Moorea

Sunset behind Moorea

Sugar Shack anchored in front of Intercontinental Hotel

Sugar Shack anchored in front of Intercontinental Hotel