A Twirl Through the Societies, Part I

Our very good friend, Donald came to visit us in the Societies (The Society Archipelago).  Matt and I crewed on Donald’s boat, a Catalina 47, for years and years when we lived in Texas.  He was kind enough to bring us a bevy of supplies including an entire spool of line weighing in at 34kbs!  Poor thing.  See below for how we use this line (which is real world speak is “rope”).

We met Donald in Raiatea which has a super easy, convenient airport.  Matt and I were able to take the dinghy straight up to the platform where passengers disembarked.   After a 24-hour travel day he was a little exhausted, but he rallied well!

We left the Raiatea Carenage anchorage and headed to one of our favorite spots: Ilot Moute which is owned by the La Pirog Resort.  Perfect place to welcome Donald to the Societies.  Perfectly clear turquoise waters, a tiny motu, and only a few boats. 

Main Halyard Replacement

Yachties seem to have different names for a lot of things on a boat.  For example, the kitchen is called the galley and the bathroom is called the head.  Rope actually has multiple names.  It can be a line, halyard, lazy jack, or a sheet depending on its function.

Our main halyard lifts our main sail from the sail bag to the top of the mast.  It is a vital line and has to be very strong.  We priced the cost of replacing it in Tahiti and fell off our chair.  We needed about 75 meters and the cost was going to be between $900-$2500.  However, we could buy double the length for a fraction of the cost from the U.S.  So, we bought 165 meters for $1600 and had to ask Donald to bring it to us. Bless his heart.

New main halyard

New main halyard

The old line rubbed against our lazy jacks holding our sail bag.  Matt had tried to sew it up but it was in need of being replaced.  There is still a lot of really good, usable line left so we hope to repurpose some of it in the future.

Old main halyard

Old main halyard

Passage to Huahine

We had a great plan for Donald’s visit.  We were trying to maximize our anchorages during his 9 day stay in the Societies.  However, on day 2 we looked at the weather and it all had to change.  We made a quick decision to leave Raiatea/Taha’a area to head toward Huahine.

This was to be the best day for this passage.  However, it did not mean it was a good day. The wind was right on our nose causing us to tack back and forth and back and forth.  The good news is that it was a great sail day with full sails up.  Several rain clouds provided some wind shifts which played with our course as well.  The photo below shows the direct route (pink line). However, our actual route is the the yellow line with all the little tacks back and forth.

Passage Raiata to Huahine

Passage Raiata to Huahine

Although it was a lot of tacking to get to our destination, we still had a lovely time!

Passage Raiata to Huahine

Passage Raiata to Huahine

We had an absolutely beautiful sunset just in time for dinner

Everyone was up early to run some errands in Fare the main town on Huahine.  We needed to replace our propane tank (for cooking), dump trash and recycling, book a return ticket for Donald, and swing by the market.  Everyone was back on the boat by 0830 and preparing to head to Avea baie.

Avea Baie, Huahine

This is a new anchorage for Sugar Shack.  We have been to Huahine over a half dozen times and have never made it this far south.  Avea Baie is located on the southern tip of Huahine iti.  It is host to a beautiful little resort called La Mahana Resort.

La Mahana Resort

La Mahana Resort

We walked from the resort around the southern end of Huahine Iti and found a cool marae overlooking the baie and Motu Araara.

This is a photo of the little motu called Araara.

Marae Anini

The Societies (as well as the other archipelagos) have many maraes.  The ancient marae Anini is where the deities, Oro (the main god of war) and Hiro (the deceitful god) were worshiped.  It is rumored that at least 14 human sacrifices were made at this marae.

We entered the sacred grounds down a sandy road leading toward the beach.

Marae Anini

Marae Anini

The Anini marae has several ahu (smaller alters or platforms).  These are considered beds for the gods Oro and Hiro.  The vertical stones called ofa ‘I turui, allowed the priests and chiefs to lean back to rest or they may be memorials for the deceased chiefs.

Marae Anini

Marae Anini

This is a shot of the marae from the lagoon.

Marae Anini

Marae Anini

We enjoyed a lovely dinner at the La Mahana resort which offered tasty food, impeccable service, and beautiful food presentation.  Thank you, Donald, for a wonderful meal!  As you can see, the dining room is on the beach under a covered thatched roof overlooking the bay.

Exploring on Sweetie

We went exploring by dinghy.  First, we went around the southern tip toward the town of Parea (across from Motu Araara).  There was no decent dinghy dock so we just circled the lagoon and went on our merry way.  Next, we passed by our anchorage in Avea bay and headed to a new bay called Haapu.

They had a really nice floating dock.  So, we tied up Sweetie and went to shore. Not much in this small town.  We did find a school, le mairie (mayor), and a small magasin.  This little town had several beautiful swans made out of tires!  Yep!  Giant tires were cut up to make planters that looked like swans.  I love it.

Swans made out of tires

Swans made out of tires

Fantastic Fare

We headed back to Fare hoping to find a break from the wind.  Unfortunately, that was not the case.  But we were closer to town.

In the morning we were blessed with a beautiful display of love between a mother and baby whale.  They were playing in the channel just in front of the boat.  Mostly we saw their spouts and backs with an occasional tale.  So amazing.  Whales are all over the Societies (Huahine, Mo’orea, Bora Bora).

We turned in Donald’s self covid test and enjoyed a super tasty lunch at Izzy’s Burgers and More!

Later that afternoon, we met Helen from “Wow” and Mike from “Easy” at the Huahine Yacht club for happy hour.  Half priced beer and cocktails plus an amazing sunset!

And the sunset is just stunning – without filters or editing.  Just pure beauty in the Societies.

Check in next time as we head back to Raiatea, discover a few bays, and say goodbye to Donald.  Events from this post occurred during 26 Sept – 2 Oct 2020.  Our blog posts run 6-8 weeks behind our adventures.

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