Tag Archives: moorea

The Perfect Sail to Tekihau

Wowza!  We had truly one of the best trips under sail!  We left Opunohu Bay, Mo’orea at 0500 for the 175nm journey to Tikehau.  This trip takes us from the Society Archipelago to the Tuamotus Archipelago over the course of 26 hours.  We had been waiting for a good weather window for 10-12 days and seized this one.  We needed either northerly or southerly winds to take us east, preferred no rain, no thunder or lightening, and low swell.  Not much to ask for considering the prevailing winds come from the NE :).

Matt and I are up before dawn to ready the boat for the sail.  We lift the anchor and are underway by 0500 and the sails are out by 0530 as we exit the Opunohu Bay pass.  We have a gorgeous sunrise send off including a sneak peak at Adromeda Motor Yacht.  Adromeda is a107 meter expedition that was built in 2016 and has a crew of 43 people!  Check out her tender which is larger than Sugar Shack!

Teti’aroa in Passing

Our direct route has us crossing over and through Teti’aroa (aka Marlon Brando’s Island).  Clearly we can’t do that so we have to divert off course to go around this pretty picturesque island.  Just a few weeks before we pass this small atoll, Kim Kardashian celebrated her 40th birthday to the disgust of many of her fans (being that we are in the middle of a pandemic and they didn’t follow any protocols).  We didn’t stop here this time past the island.

If you are interested in learning about the history of Teti’aroa, check out our blog post.  And if you’d like to check out our visit to Brando island, check out this blog post.

Brando Island

Brando Island

As we are leaving the lee of Teti’aroa we came across a rather smelly fishing vessel.  Love how the birds feast on the left overs.

We had a perfect sail with winds coming out of the ENE at 10-14kts, less than a .05-meter swell, no rain, no squalls, and an average boat speed of 7kts.  Pretty good for us!  The sunset was amazing all is well as we enter the evening portion of the passage.

A Sail at Night

Navigation is imperative on all passages.  However, you tend to rely on it more at night when you lose sight from the dark.  We utilize a lot of instruments to keep us on track.

Our Raymarine keeps track of our True Wind Speed (TWS) 10.8, depth (showing at zero as its too deep in the middle of the ocean), Speed over Ground (SOG) 6.7, Distance to Waypoint (DTW) 45.95, Cross Track (XTE) -5.84 (shows we are off course which occurred during a small squall), and Heading 046T.  This is where we control our autopilot.

The B&G chart has a wealth of information.  This and the radar screens are what I use most.  This particular screen has (down left side): Boat Speed, TWA: True Wind Angle, AWA: Apparent Wind Angle,, TWS: True Wind Speed, and TWD: True Wind direction.  The center column is our directional map.  The far right has SOG: Speed over Ground, COG: Course over Ground, POS: position, Depth, Steer, and WPT: Waypoint.  The large circular diagram in the middle shows you the boat, the apparent wind (large triangle upper right), true wind (smaller triangle upper right), swell/current (center of boat arrow 1.3) and steerage (red hour glass in red area).

Then of course we have our mapping charts.  We use three different charting systems.  The handheld Garmen GPS has one chart, the iPad has Navionics, and the computer has Open CPN. All tracking us and telling us where to go.


We had three lines in the water and one teaser.  We were so hopeful to catch something as we had not been able to fish for awhile.  A large silver fish bit the hook and went running in the opposite direction of the boat. We were under full sail and couldn’t slow the boat down fast enough.  We headed into the wind and started bringing in the other 3 lines but by the time Matt got back to the fish he had either wiggled off the hook or the hook ripped out of his mouth due to our boat speed.  So sad!

Birds are always circling our lures.  Poor silly creatures think they are edible and always try to catch them.  One unlucky bird dove down to grab the lure and got caught up in our line.  Poor thing was dragged behind the boat for a few minutes before we realized what was going on.  It squawked at us.  Matt tried to pull it in but she got off before getting too close to the boat.  Top photo has the bird and the line comes in from the left side of the photo.  Bottom photo has arrows to show you the bird and line/lure.

So, that is 1-caught and lost, 1-caught and released and 0-onboard.

Land A’Ho

About 12nm from Tikehau, the winds divert our sail.  We get pushed off track and end up having to motor sail the last 4/5nm to the pass.  Not terrible considering we have sailed the other 170+nm.  We carefully navigate the pass as we have missed the optimal slack tide.  However, we did not have any issues coming in .

Navionics showing the pass

Navionics showing the pass

The pass was relatively calm and super pretty!

Tikehau Pass

Tikehau Pass

We have several friends who are anchored near the Pearl Beach Resort Tikehau so we head to the south side of the atoll.  It is about 1.5 hours across the lagoon to the anchorage spot.  Super purdy!  We drop the hook a short distance from the resort.

Pearl Beach Resort Tikehau

Pearl Beach Resort Tikehau

Passage Details:

  • Mo’orea to Tikehau
  • Miles to Dest. 175nm
  • Actual Miles Sailed: 188nm
  • Average Speed: 7.0
  • Max Speed: 11.1
  • Total Moving Time to Pass: 26 hours
  • Total Moving Time to Anchorage: 27:46

Events from this blog post occurred on 17/18 November 2020.  Our blog posts run 8 weeks behind our adventures.

Mysteries of Mo’orea

Mo’orea is full of mysteries, legends, and culture significance. The local government throughout French Polynesia has installed markers, plaques, and signs on each of the inhabited islands to share the lore with visitors.  It is a wonderful way to learn about the island and its inhabitants if you are not fortunate enough to hear it directly from the locals.

Espace Loisirs Kultur (ELK) is a cultural center that is dedicated to educating and training the population on Tahitian culture.  They have experts come in to train people how to weave, make ukuleles, dance, cook, make costumes, build instruments (ukes, guitars, drums), agriculture, carve, and more.  They invite the young, old, local, and foreign people in to stay for up to 8 days and enjoy a true Polynesian experience.

The facility opened 3 years ago and has expanded adding a stage to showcase the student’s learnings, workshops, a garden, and living space.

ELK Education and Cultural Center

ELK Education and Cultural Center

The first teach the students to create a small uke using half a coconut shell and plywood.  As they improve the move up to the carved ukes.  They also make drums and other instruments.

In an effort to show the youth how to make money, they show them how to make the ornate costumes for the many heivas held on each island annually.  The material is bark from local trees that is worked and manipulated into fabric over the course of several weeks.  The king and queen outfits below each sold for 7000xpf ($70).

Ro’o who showed us around spoke excellent English. He introduced us to his aunt, the owner, all of the employees, and all of the animals.  I fell in love with mimi this blue/yellow eyed cat.

Snorkeling the Aquarium

We were antsy and needed to get off the boat. It had been raining here in Mo’orea for the last few days keeping us holed up inside.  So, at a sun break we decided to go for a snorkel at the aquarium.  Not the best time as there was lots of sediment in the water and it was a bit murky.  However, it we did see lots of fish.

And there were lots and lots of little Christmas trees.  I love these little guys  They zip inside when you touch the tip.

If you saw Magical Moments in Mo’orea, you already read about the sunken tikis on display underwater.  Just another wonderful bit of history or is it a mystery on how they got there?



Events from this blog post occurred during the second week of November, 2020.  Our blog posts run 8 weeks behind our adventures.

Cicumnavigating Mount Rotui

Opunohu Bay is located at the very heart of the island of Mo’orea.  The highest summits of the Opunohu valley lay around the collapsed caldera which gave rise to the island.  Mount Rotui (899m) and Mount Tohivea (1207m) being the two tallest peaks.  Rich soils, gentle slopes, and crisscrossed rivers, make it suited to agricultural activities.

Pineapple plantations, citrus plantations, vegetable gardens, pastures, pine and mahogany patches are all developed to feed the local market covering over 300 hectares.  An additional 100 hectares are rented to local farmers and 35 hectares are dedicated to agricultural establishment dedicated to teaching programs (vocational education and training in the farming sector).

Opunohu Bay Caldera

Opunohu Bay Caldera

Matt and I needed to stretch our legs.  We decided a walk about was in order.  Our original goal was just to explore the Opunohu Bay. However, we ended up circumnavigating Mount Rotui which was a surprise to both of us. 

Orbiting Mount Rotui

We started out near Ta’ahiamanu (say that three times fast) and walked past Vaihere. At Aaraeo we turned left (by the blue arrow) and walked through the pineapple plantations and gardens. Continued on to Pao Pao (Cooks bay) then back on the road, past Urufara, and back to Ta’ahiamanu.  Ended up being 21,456 steps, 9.6 miles!  Follow the map starting at orange line, to white line, back to orange line.  Who knew Mount Rotui took 4 hours to circumnavigate!

At the start, we walked along the and pass a beautiful public park with lush green grass and towering palm trees that line the beach.  Can you see Sugar Shack way, way back?

We came across a man playing Amazing Grace on the bag pipes.  He was just pacing back and forth along the shore playing his music.  It was lovely.

A local fisherman had his trophies displayed outside his house.  He clearly catches a lot of marlin!  Look at all the tails and beaks.  Holy moly.

There are two monuments celebrating “Captain Cook” in Opunohu Bay.  You’d think they would be in Cooks Bay, but no.  The funny thing is the bottom pedestal on one of them is upside down (lower right photo)! I am pointing to where we are in the world (sort of).

Captain Cook Memorials

Captain Cook Memorials

Just before reaching Aaraeo we stumbled on a new museum being built.  Really interesting shape – sort of like a clam with arched steel covered with solar panels.

New Museum

New Museum

Across the road is a beautiful look out.  It had several legends outlined on the plaque which are pretty darn cool.

Entering the heart of the valley

In order to complete our loop around Mount Rotui, we had to cut across the valley through the pineapple plantations.

The plantations and gardens popped up, once we made the left turn toward the center of the valley.  Lots and lots of pineapple fields – it is the pineapple island after all.

Pineapple plantations

Pineapple plantations

Lots of animals along the way, cows, horses, goats.

Beautiful pastures and sweeping views of towering mountains.

We crossed several creeks and rivers.  Most were flowing because we had heavy rains for a few days.

There are lots of trails around these mountains.  We did not hike up any of the mountains (this time) as our track would be close to 10 miles when we are done.  The different colors show the different trails on just Mt. Rotui.

When all was said and done, we were exhausted, hot, and hungry.  We made it back to the boat, and took a dip in the water to cool off.  We relaxed the rest of the day!

Events from this blog occurred on 8 November, 2020.  Our blog posts run 8 weeks behind our adventures.