Monthly Archives: September 2020

The Society Islands Welcome the Konis’s: Part II

Be sure to read The Society Islands Welcome the Konis’s Part I to catch up on their adventures in Tahiti, Mo’orea, Huahine Nui, and Huahine Iti.

Day 8: Raiatea

We arrived in the sleepy little town of Uturoa on Raiatea.  Unfortunately for us, everything was closed being that it was Sunday.  We grabbed a mooring ball next to a small motu giving the boys a destination to SUP to.

Matt and I wanted to take the Konis’s on a hike, but even that was closed.  It was a hike to the top of the mountain where there is a radio tower and a beautiful view of the bay.  We hiked this trail several times and were sorely disappointed that it was marked as private property now.

Our friends on Maple were anchored nearby so they came over to hang out with us.  We blew up our new float which we could not decide if it was a dragon or a Pegasus. 

Maple had a small surf board and tried to teach Cole and Cameron to surf but the board was too small.  Matt decides to show off and popped up on the 2nd try.  Of course, he has spent years and years on wake and surf boards.

The boys having fun off the bow of the boat.

Cole and Cameron

Cole and Cameron

Day 9:  Taha’a

It is a short 9nm motor from Raiatea to Taha’a which both share the same lagoon.  We dropped the hook in one of our favorite spots off of Ilot Tautau also known as the “coral gardens.”  Anchored in turquoise, sandy bottom water looking over toward Bora Bora.  Ignore the “day 7” on the photo as it is wrong.

Taha’a is our favorite island in the Society Island Archipelago.

The famous drift snorkel of the coral gardens has to be experienced to truly appreciate the natural beauty of this aquarium.  You slowly drift over coral and witness first hand the stunning life under the sea.  The top photo is looking down the coral garden path and the bottom photo is underwater photo.

Coral Gardens

Coral Gardens

We found lots of fish wanting to play and discover what crazy things we were up to in their habitat.

Coral Gardens Fish

Coral Gardens Fish

Everyone enjoyed the spectacular experience.  (again ignore the date on the photo is wrong).

Snorkeling the Coral Gardens

Snorkeling the Coral Gardens

Kimberly did me a huge favor by trimming my hair which had not been cut in over a year.  It was so ratty!

We had beautiful views of the Bora Bora caldera from our perch at Taha’a.

Day 10: Taha’a

One of our favorite tours in French Polynesia is the Taha’a Vanilla and Botanical Garden Tour by Noah.  We booked a tour for the Konis family and Noah let me tag along for free.  Noah was born and raised in Taha’a and is an accomplished aeronautical engineer but has decided to live his life in Taha’a.  He picks you up in a open air jeep filled with fresh, flavored water and reviews his route before beginning.

Taha'a Vanilla Tour

Taha’a Vanilla Tour

He pointed out the Kapok tree which is used for stuffing (mattresses, pillows), female papaya trees and the elephant ears or Tahitian umbrellas.

We swang by a pretty church and point out an old baguette box (not a mail box, but a baguette box).

We venture to an organic vanilla farm where he teaches you how the vanilla is grown

He then shows you how to manually pollinate each of the flowers (see our previous blog on this process).  They cover the flowers to prevent the birds from eating them  The bottom 3 photos on the right show beans at a few weeks, then a few months and finally at 5 months.

We pass by some beautiful views around the island.

He brings us a large fern so we can give ourselves tatoos.

We learn about copra and sugar cane farming (used for rhum).

And we end up at the Pari Pari Taha’a Rhum distillery where we learn how they make rhum, essential oils, and spices.

Day 11: Taha’a

A new day and a great excuse to swim the coral gardens again!  This time there was barely any current at all.  You could actually hover in once place admiring the beautiful corals and fish.  We had a great photo op at a small motu just off Le Taha’a Motu.

The Konis family spoiled Matt and I by taking us to lunch at the exclusive Le Taha’a resort.  It was beautiful and super tasty, but rather pricey.  This is what I picture when I think of resorts in the Society Islands.

Le Taha'a Lunch

Le Taha’a Lunch

Super fancy day making us all feel like royalty.

Day 12: Taha’a to Bora Bora

I know Kimberly was especially looking forward to going to Bora Bora, but I was not. Mostly because it meant the end of their visit with us.  Bora Bora is the most famous island in the Society Island Archipelago next to Tahiti.

It is a short 20nm passage from Taha’a to Bora Bora but it offers many breathtaking views of the islands.  We had fun on the bow with the Bora Bora caldera in the background.

We picked up a mooring near Motu To’opua in beautiful light blue waters.  It was a hot day so we jumped in the water in search of sting ray city only to be thwarted by its location.  After drying off we decided to head into town for some lunch and shopping.

Bora Bora

Bora Bora

After a bit of shopping and discovering we headed back to the boat for some more water time.

DAY 13: Bora Bora

We watched several tour boats stop at a location just at the reef which we assumed was sting ray city.  So, we hopped in Sweetie and joined the crowd.  It sure did not disappoint. There were dozens of black tip sharks and sting rays wanting to be admired.

Afterwards, we walked from Bloody Mary’s to Matira Beach which was about 1.5 miles.  It is a pretty beach, albeit with some coral.  We hung out, played some bacchi and cooled off in the sparkling waters.

We cleaned up and took the Konis family to Bloody Mary’s for dinner.  You can’t come to Bora without visiting Bloody Mary’s.

Bloody Mary's in Bora Bora

Bloody Mary’s in Bora Bora

We selected our meals from the fresh bar, enjoyed many cocktails and a fun filled evening!

Day 14: Bora Bora

Today was a sad day because my sister and her beautiful family were heading home.  We spent the day wrapping coral and packing as we made the 5-mile trip to Motu Tehotu where the airport is located.  The boys enjoying the bean bags for one final trip.  Kimberly touching the water from her escape hatch (me taking the photo from the starboard escape hatch) and a beautiful rainbow as a parting gift.

The new anchoring rules prohibit anchoring anywhere near the airport so Matt circled the big boat as I took the Konis family in two trips.

It is heartbreaking to say goodbye to my family.  I text with my sister daily, but it still is hard to be so far away from her and the family.

The Konis clan flew to Tahiti from Bora Bora and had 9 hours to kill so they hung out at the Tahiti Intercontinental hotel for their last moments of Polynesian Sun.  Mo’orea is in the background.

Some more random fun photos of my amazing family, Troy, Kimberly, Cole and Cameron Konis.

Cameron and Cole underwater fun

Cameron and Cole underwater fun

Just some of the beauty in the Society Islands.

I know the Konis family enjoyed the Society Islands as much as we did. It was so much fun to showcase these amazing islands.

P.S.  For those of you wondering, this was still during the covid pandemic.  The Konis’s had to get tested 72 hours before their flight and present the negative results.  Then they had to do two self-tests on day 4 and submit them to the local medical authorities which was negative.

Lucky for us the Society Islands had procedures in place to handle the covid pandemic and tourists.

This post on the Konis family in the Society Islands was written in July/August 2020.  Our blog posts are usually 6 to 7 weeks behind are true adventures.  

The Konis's: Troy, Kimberly, Cole, Cameron

The Konis’s Hit the Society Islands: Part I

My sister and her family came for a visit to the Society Islands.  Kimberly, Troy, Cameron and Cole {the Konis family} arrived in Tahiti at dawn.  I greeted them with fresh floral leis and fresh baked rosemary bread.  After a quick stop at the boat, we rushed them to the fresh market to pick up fruit and veggies.  The market is located in the center of Papeete so they got a quick glimpse of downtown and a feel for the local life as a Polynesian.

The Konis's: Troy, Kimberly, Cole, Cameron

The Konis’s: Troy, Kimberly, Cole, Cameron

We returned to the boat and began the fun process of unpacking and uncovering new goodies for the boat.  Our pack mules delivered a 50lb bag of stuff just for us, sweet! 

And the Adventure Begins

Several hours later, we decided it was time to head back into town.  We enjoyed a tasty lunch at the Bora Bora Yacht Club (which is really just a restaurant), did some shopping, and discovered pearl picking.  We walked to the market, found a cool post office box and noted the empty streets.  It was Sunday after all and covid still is in play.  Not the best introduction to the Society Islands, but it still was fun.  We did stumble upon a tiny park called Parc Bougainville with a quaint coy pond and shaded pathways and greenery.

Welcome to Tahiti

Welcome to Tahiti

For dinner we took them to B3 Brasserie where we enjoyed half price beer and pizza for dinner.  A few other cruisers showed up and “gave us our space” because we had guests visiting from the states.

Our first day was a big day.  We retired “early” to be ready for tomorrow.

Our goal during this trip was to visit 7 islands within the Society Island Archipelago.  Starting with Tahiti, Mo’orea, Huahine Nui, Huahine Iti, Raiatea, Taha’a and finally Bora Bora.

Day 2: Mo’orea

The next morning, we made a healthy breakfast to ready our new sailors for their first passage across the Pacific.  It was less than a 20nm trip from Tahiti to Mo’orea, but still a “passage.”  Our crew did wonderfully as we sailed with the jib across the pond.  We anchored in Oponohu Bay in 2.5 meters of turquoise, sandy water. 



After lunch, we headed the short distance to sting ray city by dinghy.  It is a fun dinghy ride between coral heads and a reef and past the Mo’orea Intercontinental Hotel (which was closed).  We grabbed a mooring and jumped in.  Dozens of black tip sharks and sting rays hang out here and they greeted the Konis family nobly.  These majestic creatures are just as curious of us as we are of them.  They swim close enough to look them in the eye and touch their wings.

Sting Ray City off Mo'orea

Sting Ray City off Mo’orea

Then you have the dozens of black tip sharks that are looking for scraps of anything.  They are all pretty fat and healthy looking so you know they are not going hungry.  They don’t swim too close, which is all right with me.

Sting Ray City off Mo'orea

Sting Ray City off Mo’orea

A fun tour guide telling us that the sharks only like to eat men (not women or children).

Day 3: Mo’orea

A quick zip to shore to explore the town of Vaihere.  We were in search of an eatery to have lunch.  Unfortunately, the Oponohu Bay does not have much activity, hikes, or places to see.  We found several places for good photo ops though.

Konis's in Mo'orea

Konis’s in Mo’orea

However, we did find a super cute pension (small, local hotel) willing to serve us lunch at Fare Maheata.  It was situated right on the beach overlooking the beautiful bay and served a tasty lunch.

Lunch at Mo'orea

Lunch at Mo’orea

We headed back to the boat, after everyone was well fed and had a little exercise.  Preparations were made for the Konis’s first night passage.  Our next island is 85nm away.

Night Passage: Mo’orea to Huahine

The longest passage between the Society Islands is from Mo’orea to Huahine (if you are going from island to island in sequential order).

We left late afternoon so the Konis clan could start the trip in the day light.  It would be a downwind sail with light winds and fairly calm seas.  However, that doesn’t mean “smooth” sailing for newbies.  The motion of the boat was odd because the waves were coming from the quarter panel.  Slightly pushing us forward, but also rocking us side to side.  Everyone slept outside or in the salon as sleeping is more challenging down below in the cabins.  Lucky for us, everyone slept through the night – despite claims of wanting to pull a night shift 😉 

Night Passage Mo'orea to Huahine

Night Passage Mo’orea to Huahine

We arrived in Huahine at dawn and found a lovely mooring in the flats between the two passes.  Each of the Society Islands offer different experiences from landscape, to activities.

Day 4: Huahine 

Everyone was tired upon arrival.  Even though they slept through the night it was a restless sleep being under passage.  So, we took it easy in the morning and did not head into town until lunch.  We walked around town, checked out a few shops and artisan markets and headed to our favorite eatery in French Polynesia called Izzy’s Burgers.  For dessert we stopped by the Distillerie Huahine Passion for rum tasting. Chocolate rhum – yum!

Huahine Izzy's and Distillery

Huahine Izzy’s and Distillery

The distillery serves dozens of flavors ranging from 80 proof to liqueurs to basic rums.  We started out with 3 shots splitting 2 people per shot and ended with one shot and all 6 of us tasting the one.  With 4-25cl (1/4 of liter) bottles in our bag we headed back to the boat.

Day 5: Huahine Nui

We had reserved 6 bikes for a leisure ride around the island.  However, the local kids did not return them so we had to hoof it on foot.  Our goal was to walk to the Fare Pote’e museum and archaeological sites with Marae.  It is a 4.2 mile walk one way so we were in for a long walk.  About half way to our destination we passed by a beautiful lagoon called Lac Maeva.

Huahine 8.2 mile walk

Huahine 8.2 mile walk

We arrived to the museum on a beautiful, sunny morning.  The calm waters and bright blue skies showcasing the marae and museum nicely.  Matt and I did not go inside the museum (as we’ve seen it and posted about it several times).

Huahine Museum

Huahine Museum

After the Konis family filled their brains with local history, we hiked up to the Marae Mata’ire’a Rahi which is another archaeological site marked by a large banyan tree.  It is an easy trail up the Chemin de Randonnee.  We tried to find the other marae but the trail was hidden in the dense bushes.

Hike to Marae in Huahine

Hike to Marae in Huahine

We returned to town clocking in at 8.2 miles.  Not a bad walk.  Lucky for us, we were able to secure 6 bikes for the next day.  We enjoyed some cocktails at the Huahine Yacht Club and returned to the boat for a tasty pad thai dinner.

Day 6: Huahine Nui

Attempt #2 to ride bikes around Huahine.  We were not technically planning on riding the bikes all the way around the island because there is a rather large hill on the opposite side.  It would make it challenging to go up it and treacherous to go down it after the rain.  So, our plan was just to bike to the Sacred Blue-Eyed Eels which was about 16 miles round trip.

We should have taken a photo of our bikes, but we forgot.  The Konis family was amused in the quality of the bikes as most did not have breaks, some had faulty steering, all had crappy seats and were rusted.  But these were fabulous compared to the bikes we rented in Hao.

We pushed the bikes to their limits and rode hard to Anguilles Sacrees de Faie.  I took the boys down to the water’s edge to hand feed the eels.  The eels love sardines which are horribly smelly!

Sacred Blue Eyed Eels

Sacred Blue Eyed Eels

A local tour guide and his group showed up a few minutes later.  The guide showed us how to exercise the eels by placing sardines on the little ledge. Pretty wild to watch.

Exercising the Eels

Exercising the Eels

Quick Stop at a Pearl Farm in the Middle of the Lagoon

On the way back to town, we stopped to take a tour of a pearl farm.  They pick you up in a small panga and drive you 5 minutes to the pearl farm located in the lagoon.

Huahine Pearl Farm Tour

Huahine Pearl Farm Tour

They sold pottery, shells, pearls and jewelry.  It was rather pricey, especially compared to Gambier prices.  But I guess they have the market here.  Every Society Island sells pearls, but none are more beautiful or cost effective as those found in the Gambiers.

Huahine Pearl Farm Tour

Huahine Pearl Farm Tour

Cole and Cameron enjoying a breezy spot on the deck of the pearl farm.

Cole and Cameron

Cole and Cameron

Relaxing after a long bike ride

After our brief tour we headed back into town.  We returned our bikes and enjoyed some drinks at the Huahine Yacht Club.  Our friends on Flip Flops were there so we invited them over for sun downers on Sugar Shack.  Troy booked flights from Bora Bora to Tahiti at the local Air Tahiti office so they are all set.  We had a gorgeous sunset during our sun downer party.

More Fun photos on Sugar Shack with the Konis’s in the Society Islands.

The Konis Family on Sugar Shack

The Konis Family on Sugar Shack

Day 7: Huahine Iti

We had not intended on spending this much time in Huahine, but we had to show the Konis family Huahine Iti before they left.  We motored the 5-miles to Hana Iti beach located on the western side of Huahine Iti in the Baie Teapaa. Huahine Nui (large) and Huahine Iti (small) are both located in the same lagoon and are connected by a bridge on land.

We had a superb beach day, hanging out in the water, SUP’ing, playing volleyball and bacchi ball.

Huahine Iti Beach Day

Huahine Iti Beach Day

Back at the boat, Matt taught the boys how to dive between our davits into the water.  Kimberly was down below during this time – thank goodness.

Tune in to the next blog, “The Society Islands Welcome the Konis’s: Part II” as we continue our adventures with Cameron, Cole, Kimberly and Troy Konis.

This post was written in July/August 2020.  Our blog posts are usually 6 to 7 weeks behind are true adventures.  

The Land of Plenty: Tahiti

Being in Tahiti can be a challenge.  It means boat projects, lots of errands, tons of walking, and hordes of people and shops.  It is a culture shock to be here after being in uninhabited islands with just the locals and a few other cruisers.  But it is a necessary “evil.”  I say “evil” only because we end up spending a lot of money, as we are surrounded by cruiser ships, tall buildings, loud noises, and dirty water.  I’m not ungrateful, this is a beautiful island and offers hundreds of thousands of people a reprise from everyday life. But for us, as cruisers, it is only a place to stock up on provisions, get boat parts, handle paperwork, and do boat work.

We anchored off of Marina Taina for the first two days which is directly across from the Intercontinental Hotel.  This was the same place we anchored last year several times and it was familiar.  Within the first 4 hours of our arrival we had 3 visitors from other cruisers.  A wonderful welcoming committee!

First Day Frenzy

On our first full day, we hit the ground running.  We stopped in to see our agents at Tahiti Crew.  Technically, we had not engaged them as our agents this year, but we had worked with them last year and they continue to be helpful.  We had hoped they could help us with our long-stay visa renewals.  Unfortunately, all they could do we offer us was advice and that advice was to wait until we received an approval email. 

Our friends Josh and Rachel on Agape came into the office as we were chatting with Tahiti Crew.  They too were looking for advice on their visa renewals.  So, we decided to go to the source, the Haute Commissionaire’s office.  We hopped on the bus and took the short 30-minute ride into town.  It was a total déjà vu as we had submitted our visa applications together back in September 2019 and here we are going together to see if they are approved in July 2020.

We patiently waited our turn as Josh and Rachel went first.  Laurie took their CDs back to her supervisor and asked them to wait.  I walked up to the window to “present” myself and Matt to her which is required once a year.  I tried my best to chat and be friendly and cheerful behind my mask and glass partition.  She took our CDs and was gone for about 20 minutes.  She came out with all 4 of our CDs stamped, approved and good until April 11, 2020!  What a huge relief!  We celebrated with a huge lunch and cold beer.

Official CDs with stamps

Official CDs with stamps

The renewal consists of a stamp on our CD’s.  The first stamp was for our first year and the and the second stamp is for our 2nd year.

One Down, More to Go

We swung by Marina Papeete (downtown) to see if we could find someone to help us secure a slip.  This marina does not take any reservations and it is first come first serve. So, we had to find someone who knew someone who was leaving so we could take their spot.  We talked to 4 different boats who promised to let us know when someone left.

Next, we walked 1.5 miles to the main harbor to find the Douanes (immigration).  They issue, among other things, a duty-free fuel certificate.  This little piece of paper saves us over 40% on diesel.  It has added up to several thousand dollars for us.  Ours had expired while we were in Gambier and we could only renew it in Tahiti.  So, off we went.  It is a really simple process and we walked out with our certificate 10-minutes later.

On our way back into town we stopped by Ace Hardware in search of a pressure washer.  The K’Archer we have sort of blew up and is no longer working.  We did not find any brands we recognized so we continued on back to the bus stop and home to Sugar Shack.

Duck, Duck, Goose

Early the next morning we heard a boat had let so we pulled up anchor, readied the boat for marina life (put out lines and fenders) and headed in.  Our friends on September AM helped us with our lines from shore and we snugly fit into a perfect spot in the marina.  Lucky us as another boat came in minutes after us looking for a spot.

We walked to the marina office to alert them of our arrival.  They were super nice.  The prices were “low season” rates the marina is technically under construction.  Which means there are no facilities like bathrooms, showers, or laundry.  No big deal, we have all that on the boat.  We ended up paying about $28 a night which is ridiculously cheap!  Most excellent for us! It’s good to be in Tahiti (I say that now).

Marina Papeete

Marina Papeete

No More Corner Anchoring

During an unfortunate anchoring event we had bent our stainless-steel anchor shaft.  It had happened when we anchored too close to a coral head in very deep water.  We could not see the bottom and raised the anchor.  Not an uncommon experience, but this time we had hooked a huge coral which literally bent the shaft.  We had been dealing with it for about a year and it was frustrating to get the anchor into the bow roller slot.  So, it was time to fix it.

You can’t really fix your anchor while at anchor.  So, lucky for us, we are at the marina.  Matt was able to remove the anchor shaft which was no easy feat.  We headed to the industrial area where we knew there was a machinist. 

After a 2.2 mile walk, carrying a 20+lb stainless-steel anchor shaft, we arrived at the shop.  The two workers were certainly surprised and perplexed.  It was fun to see Matt try to communicate with them, telling them what it is, how it is made, and how he wanted it fixed.  Once all the details were worked out we went to work.

In the 2nd and 3rd photo you can see how bent it is.

It is amazing what you can do when you have the right tools!  The three men set up the manual press and started cranking.  I would not have thought it would be so “easy” to bend steel – they did not look like superman to me 🙂  After about 15 minutes, we had a much straighter shaft.  They were so incredibly nice, they did not even charge us!  They did walk away with a giggle

House Batteries

We have been seeing some weird numbers come out of our battery bank.  These are relatively new house batteries (about 2-2.5 years young) and should be in excellent condition.  However, we have been seeing a drain each morning that was have never seen before.  Meaning they are lower than they expected based on our energy consumption. 

We have 1200 wats of solar panels that work great when we have sun.  On days when we don’t, we run the engines or our portable generator to charge the batteries.  We have not been able to diagnose the problem because we could not get them to a full charge.

Being at the marina allowed us to connect to shore power and get to that full charge mode.  Matt spent several hours testing and resetting the boat.  He found one coupler that was not tight as it should be, but nothing that should be causing problems.  Maybe it just needed to be at 100%?  Who knows.


Of course there was lots of internetting to be done.  I needed to catch up with post for the blog, place orders to be brought to us by the amazing Konis clan and catch up on business.  Not always fun to be stuck in an internet cafe, but at least we have access and work can get done.

Refrigerator and Freon

Our fridge was not staying as cold as we liked.  Matt thought it needed a shot of freon, which we have, but we don’t have the tools to add the freon.  We called another cruiser, Mike Campbell  who works on refrigeration and ac. He was convinced we had a leak.  So, they spent an hour looking and guess what – no leak.  I guess that is good.  He shot us up with some freon and just like that we are back in business.

Provisions: Boat and People

Sugar Shack was getting empty and we needed to fill her up again with basic provisions.  In Tahiti, there are several big box stores (places where you can buy in bulk), regular grocery stores, marine stores, hardware stores, and more.  Tahiti is the land of plenty after all.  We purchased 3 cases of bottled beer for about $41/case and bought juice, soda, milk, tea from the box stores which are not shown in the photo below.

From the regular market we purchased the items below.  The photo does not include fresh produce, or any item purchased at the bulk stores.

We saw our friend Popo (the English teacher from Gambier) at the market.  She is on holiday in Tahiti.  She was so excited to me that she picked me up and twirled me around!

Medical and Dental Visits

The covid pandemic has prevented me from returning to the states to visit my doctors and dentist.  I decided to visit the doctors here in Tahiti and was pleasantly surprised.  I visited with Dr. Prevost who did a basic physical and labs for me.  I needed to run several tests (CBC and CMP) for my oncologist.  His visit was $68 and the labs were about $100.  

Then I went to see a gynecologist who did a full breast exam, pelvic exam, sonogram and pap smear for $77 with labs at $30.  Pretty reasonably priced and got the results emailed to me 😉 

A few cool Items

Our friend Mike on “Easy” carved a few coconuts for us and we made decorations of them

Sugar Shack in the crowd of boats at Marina Papeete

This post was written in July 2020.  Our blog posts are usually 6 to 7 weeks behind are true adventures.