Monthly Archives: January 2022

Derelict Boats of Tahiti

Yeah, we are in Tahiti still.  Can you feel the sarcasm oozing off the page?  I know, most people think of Tahiti as a truly exotic and beautiful place to holiday, but for us as cruisers it is a congested, city where we have to provision, refuel, and get boat parts.  In addition, we are sandwiched between many derelict boats.

The tourists typically stay in resorts with private, white sandy beaches, negative edge pools, air-conditioned rooms and a full staff to wait on you hand and foot.  We unfortunately do not have the same experience.  Where we anchor, which is directly across from the Intercontinental hotel’s over the water huts, there are lots of derelict boats.  Why do we anchor here then?  I’d like to say it’s because these ugly, abandoned boats make Sugar Shack look like royalty, but that is not why (really, its not). We anchor here because the water is shallow, 2m, sandy, and good holding.  And we can get internet, for free, from the hotel.  Yep, you got it, that is really the real reason we anchor here.

Derelict Boats

Marina Taina is about 1-1.25nm from here.  The airport anchorage, where most boats anchor is another ½-3/4 of a mile away and downtown is about 2.5-3nm away.  Not convenient, but these are our only anchoring options.  The marina is saddled with many abandoned boats.  They move these derelict boats from the marina slips (where they can fill with a paying customer) out to the mooring fields (which they own as well).  And then they are left to die.  It is so sad.

The last time we were here, there was a small monohull tied to another monohull called Voodoo Child.  We returned 5 months later and the small monohull had sunk with its mast sticking above water.  It sank in 2 meters of water so it is no surprise that the mast is above water.

Sunk derelict Boat in Tahiti

Sunk derelict Boat in Tahiti

I swam over to it and got some photos of the inside which has been stripped clean (looters).  You can even see where they tied the rope to a wench and the broken line that is tied to the mooring.

There is a blue boat that is abandoned but still floating happily.  However, when you swim underneath it you find a sea garden on the prop, rudder, and hull.

A neighboring catamaran lost its mast last year.  It is super close to the boat that sunk.  And another mono is left abandoned near those two.

Derelict Boats

Derelict Boats

Takai Boat Sinking

A small monohull on a mooring in front of Sugar Shack looked like it had owners because there was a canvas tent over the cockpit.  But we never saw anyone on the boat during the entire time we were anchored here.  Then one morning we work up to it sinking.  Yep, the entire bow was taking on water.  We took photos, posted it on the local French Polynesia Cruiser Facebook page, emailed the marina, Port Authority, and DPAM.

They responded within 30 minutes and the marina sent 4 people out with a pump to make repairs.  They worked for hours to get all the water out and then fix the issue.  Since we don’t speak French, we don’t know what the issue was, but it has been floating since they left.

We’ve heard that France has strict laws about jettisoning derelict boats. I am not sure what those rules are but evidently, they are strict and French Polynesia cannot take abandoned boats (devoid of batteries, fuel, and harmful elements) out at sea.  All of the marinas and yards have abandoned or derelict boats that they can’t get rid of which costs them lots of money.  It is really very sad.

But, lucky for us, we are still in crystal clear turquoise waters, with sunny skies, green hillsides, and lovely Tahitians.  Always a matter of how you look at it and we chose to look it through rose colored glasses.

Our Yamaha 25hp Enduro gets repaired in our last blog.   Events from this blog post occurred early November.  Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind our adventures.

Yamaha Repair: Reverse Away

Our beloved Yamaha Enduro 25hp outboard has been in a state of disrepair for a few months. She has had problems going into and staying in reverse.  Matt was able to make it “limp” along for a few months before it finally just stopped working (in reverse).  So, we learned to use our outboard motor without reverse.  Luckily Matt was able to download the motor schematic and determined what the issue was (or what he thought it was).  It appeared that the cotter pin that is in the shifting mechanism was broken, rusted, or non-functioning. In order to get to the cotter pin, you have to take apart the entire outboard and lift the motor (head).  Ugh.  Not something Matt has experience doing, so we decided to wait until we got to Tahiti to fix it. Yamaha shop said it would take a very long time to get the parts in, if they could get them in at all.  We ordered the parts from the U.S. and Wayne brought them in during his last visit. 

Dropping off the Outboard

We arranged to have the Yamaha techs meet us at Marina Taina where we could more easily offload the motor and load it into a truck.  They arrived on time and we showed them the spare parts that we bought and were providing.

Spare parts for Yamaha

Spare parts for Yamaha

Matt and Jerome carried the 130lb outboard to the truck and she was off to the hospital.

Yamaha takes our motor

Yamaha takes our motor

Spare Outboard

We had saved our old outboard, a Mercury 8hp motor (40lbs).  For years we thought we should sell it and once we tried.  But it ended up sitting under our cockpit table for years.  Matt worked on it while I was in the states (in July) and got it running (while on the stanchion of the big boat).  Sweet. 

Before we sent the 25hp Enduro in for repairs, Matt tested the Mercury 8hp on the back of the boat again to ensure it worked.  It started running after the 2nd pull.  How is that for awesome? 

After Yamaha took the 25hp Enduro, Matt installs the Mercury 8hp on the back of Sweetie.  He pulls, and pulls, and pulls and nothing.  He worked on it for 45 minutes and the darn thing would not turn over!  Seriously? 

Mercury let's us down

Mercury let’s us down

We decide to paddle over to another dock where I hopped out and ran to our friends on Liward.  They are preparing their boat for storage. They graciously allowed us to borrow their 15hp outboard (80lbs).  So, I hop back in the dinghy and we paddle ¾ of mile around the marina to Liward so we can drop their dinghy onto ours.

Only slight problem is that their motor is a short shaft and our dinghy has a long transom. What does that mean?  It means that we have to go slow to allow the prop to reach the water and properly operate.  The red arrow is Liward in the background – their outboard on Sweetie and the dead Mercury on its side.

Lucky for us, Yamaha was able to repair the outboard the next day and they delivered it the day after.  Thank goodness, as it was challenging being careful with a borrowed outboard and going back and forth to shore (which is well over a mile away).

Sweetie’s Motor Returns

Yamaha folks delivered our repaired outboard.  You can tell how heavy she is when it takes 3 people to manhandle her back into the dinghy.  We decided to just lay it in the boat and then use Liward’s nifty lift to put it in place.

Steve and Lili had to drop their dinghy and move it, move their ladder, and prepare their lift.  I can’t believe how awesome our friends are!

Steve moving dinghy on Liward

Steve moving dinghy on Liward

Lili operates the lines, Steve guides his outboard back onto Liward from his boat, and Matt guides it from below.

Then we use the same lift to hoist our 25hp Enduro off the dinghy floor and into place on the transom.  Works like clockwork.  Super cool.

We get back to Sugar Shack and the Mercury 8hp is still on the stanchion.  Matt has tested and started it every day for the last 4 days and it starts right up!  Not sure what happened earlier when we really needed it.  But, I am super glad we had our friend’s motor to use in its place. 

The Problem

Matt was correct in assessing the problem.  The cotter pin that holds the two pieces below together had rusted and broken off.  The smaller U shape piece is supposed to be held in place to the shaft with a cotter pin.  But instead it moved about preventing us from shifting in reverse.  Once we got it back, we could clearly see that the pin was stuck in there – which is why you can’t see through it.

Lucky for us we have amazing cruiser friends who helped us out in our time of need.

We enjoy pool time at the highest restaurant in Polynesia, in our last blog.   Events from this blog post occurred early November.  Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind our adventures.

O' Belvedere Pool View

Dining in the Clouds: O’ Belvedere

A great weather presented itself so we hoisted the sails and left for Tahiti.  We arrived in less than 14 hours.  With lots to do, errands to run, projects to plan, and people to visit, we hit the ground running.  We visit a new restaurant called O’ Belvedere which boasts of being the highest restaurant in Polynesia.  At an altitude of 600 meters, it offers spectacular views of both Tahiti’s lagoon and Mo’orea. 

Two of our Texas friends, Bill and Jan Streep were visiting French Polynesia with a few other Texans.  As it turned out we were able to meet up with them for an afternoon. We had them onboard Sugar Shack before we made the drive to O’ Belvedere.

Bill and Jan Streep

O’ Belvedere Pool View

We hop in the rental car and make our way to O’ Belvedere.  The road up to the restaurant is ridiculously steep with sharp hairpin turns, on roads barely big enough for a small compact car.  And yes, it is a two-way road.  Lucky for us, each time we came across a vehicle coming down, we were somewhere we could slightly pull off the side of the road so they could pass.  It was a “hairy” drive!

Crazy road to O' Belvedere

Crazy road to O’ Belvedere

O’ Belvedere

After that drive, we all needed a drink to calm our nerves.  The outside of the restaurant is really nothing to look at (see top right photo).  They did not put much effort into making you feel welcome as you approach from the outside. 

However, the inside is amazing!  Immediately when you walk in you pass through the kids play area with a small foos ball table, cards, games, and puzzles.  Then you pass the glassed-in kitchen where you can watch your dinner be prepared, and a fully stocked bar.

O' Belvedere

O’ Belvedere

The bathrooms, which are off to the side, offer the best views in the world.  As you sit on the pot you have sweeping views of the valley and Tahiti lagoon through the floor to ceiling windows.  In one bathroom, you can even do your sewing.

Bathroom view from O' Belvedere

Bathroom view from O’ Belvedere

We were here mid-day to enjoy the pool before dinner.  So, the dining room was pretty empty, but we still grabbed our table and had a few cocktails before heading to the pool.

There is also an adult game room with a pool table, darts, foos ball and more games.

The Views

From every angle you have amazing views.  So beautiful.

The Pool

As you descend the stairs you come to the pool level with a negative edge.  They have a small lounge area and a lift to deliver your cocktails.

The pool offers beautiful views as well.

It was a beautiful day to hang out at the pool.  Cocktails in hand, cooling off in the water, and enjoying good company.

Matt always has me laughing.

The sunset was magnificent.

And it just kept getting better and better.

The Food

I must admit that I was not too impressed with the menu selections.  They had a lot of red meat, which I don’t eat.  No fish, chicken, or port.  I ended up with Camembert au Four which was baked brie and cold cuts for a whopping $29!.  It was a super-duper expensive restaurant, but the views make it worth it.  The others had the Rib steak with a pepper sauce and said it was delicious.

In our last blog, we shared delicious photos of the underwater pearl Champon pearl farm and of Bay Nao Nao.   Events from this blog post occurred early October.  Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind our adventures.