Tag Archives: raiatea

The Wait for a Weather Window

And the wait begins…We started formulating our plan after we dropped Donald off at the Raiatea airport.  The problem is that our “plan” is contingent on weather.  We need to start heading east but the problem is the prevailing winds come out of the east.  So, what does that mean?  It means we would be heading into the wind and into the seas.  Which is not conducive to sailing – which means motoring.  Motoring is no fun and uses up diesel unnecessarily…so we wait for a better weather window.

We left north Raiatea and headed to Ile Haio, south Raiatea.  Of course, the 15nm to this baie is directly into the wind.  We attempted to fly the jib a few times but it was mostly a motor.  At least now we are in a really protected, beautiful baie that positions us for our departure to Huahine.

Exploring Ile Haio

While wait, we explore.  This baie is gorgeous and super protected.  The wind could be howling outside the lagoon and we would not know it except for the white caps.  Every once in awhile we will get a rogue gust, but for the most part it is very pleasant. 

Ile Haio, Raiatea

Ile Haio, Raiatea

Matt and I explored Ile Haio.  We walked one side of the island last time.  This time we walked around the entire island.  It is not too far, 1.7 miles over sand, rocks, trees, and rivers.

We left Sweetie at the north end of the island near a copra farm.  This is actually a nice farm with a sturdy copra drying center (the lower structure) and a small shack for the workers. I think there was a bigger structure or house at one point as there are cement pillars all around it.  Behind the shack is a stone, retaining wall.  Above and behind the wall are two graves.  Most Polynesians bury their loved ones in their yards or on their property.

Copra Farm on Ile Haio

Copra Farm on Ile Haio

We found lots and lots of crab holes as we walked along the water’s edge. You have to be careful as your foot can cause a collapse of the hole dropping you into their home (top photo).  We came across another shack more inland.  This appeared to be more lived in as there was laundry on lines, chickens wondering around, and a few goats.  It was rather pretty with patches of green grass surrounding their fenced in garden with papaya and banana trees, and some other weird fruit we could not identify (lower right).

I love seeing signs of nature’s success – against all odds.  How does this tree flourish when its trunk is so badly damaged?

We finally made it back to the lagoon side and captured Sugar Shack sitting pretty.

The Plan: After “the wait”

At the first weather window, we will head to Huahine.  Hopefully only staying for a week to 10 days before being able to move on again.  At the next weather window, we will make our way to Tahiti or Mo’orea (depending on the wind direction).   If we end up in Mo’orea we will meet up with some of our friends to procure boat parts that they brought back from the states for us.  A short stay there before heading to Tahiti to provision for the season.  After that we will continue heading east to the Tuamotus then south toward Gambier for season.

Exploring By Land

Matt and I took Sweetie exploring around Nao Nao.  We wanted to go ashore, but it is a private island with signs forbidding entrance, so we stayed by the shoreline.  The west side (closest to the channel) had a little dock and small beach.  Both were adorned with beautiful, white beach furniture and umbrellas (top photo).  We approached from the channel and slowly made our way around the tip of the island.  As we came around the other side, we saw a small resort or a really nice private residence. 

Nao Nao Private Island

Nao Nao Private Island

We continued on to the east side of the island, furthest away from the residence.  There were no “prive” signs down here, so we decided a quick walk about was in order.  I know, we are now bending the law.  It was a rocky shoreline but still really pretty.

We did find this funny tree with a bunch of shells hanging from it – does that make it a shell tree?

Exploring by Sea

We found a wonderful snorkel spot right by the tip of Nao Nao.  We were so surprised to find so many reef fish and at least 4 or 5 different species of puffer fish.  Lots of nemos protecting their coral.

Lots of different species of puffer fish.  I just love puffer fish!

Lots of pretty fish hanging out.  Lower left corner was a group of small brilliant blue fish playing house inside a vacant clam shell.

Pretty coral heads all over

Matt then took us all the way to the reef.  He had wo bob and weave around the coral heads, but we made it.

We wait for a week before we finally get a weather window to head to Huahine – we are off tomorrow.

Events from this blog occurred between October 6-10, 2020.  Our blog posts run 6-8 weeks behind our adventures.

A Twirl through the Societies, Part II

We continue to show Donald the beauty of the Societies. It was time to leave Huahine and head back to Raiatea.  

The great thing about cruising the Societies is that the islands are not very far apart.  We had a small weather window and decided to sail back to Raiatea.  We still had lots of gusts (up to 35-38kts), but it was our best opportunity.  This trip was with the wind and waves so it would be a lot easier than our trip to Huahine.

As we left, we had gusts up to 38kts and then they would die down to 7-8kts.  Talk about learning and trimming the sails a lot.  It sure was interesting.  We ended up completing the passage in 4 hours (as opposed to the 6 hours it took to get us there).  We had top speed of 11.5kt when we had a wind gust and surfed down a wave. 

Approaching Raiatea – I love how the mountains all wear cloud hats :0

Raiatea wearing a cloud hat

Raiatea wearing a cloud hat

Baie Haio – New Bay for Sugar Shack

We found a new baie to us.  Baie Haio is gorgeous and is located on the southern tip of Raiatea.  We are surrounded by palm tree shores.

Baie Haio, Raiatea

Baie Haio, Raiatea

We went exploring on shore and came to the town of Fetuna where there is a church, a small magasin, and a school.

Baie Haio, Raiatea

Village of Fetuna in Baie Haio, Raiatea

The moon peered out from behind the palm trees making a spectacle of himself.

The next morning Matt broke out the drone and captured more magnificent photos of Sugar Shack.  This is certainly my favorite bay in Raiatea and might be one of my favorite bays in the Societies.

Shot towards the motu as the sunrises

Shot towards the pass showcasing the reef and motu.

And the grand poo ba of them all – a shot toward the mountain.

Heading North

We got up early to head north.  It would be an upwind passage so we could not even take out the sail.  Just a motor.  But it was really pretty.  We exited the southern pass (Passe Punaeroa) because the is no navigable passage inside the lagoon in this area.  We re-entered the Passe Tetuatiare with the hopes of finding a good anchor spot behind Ilot Horea.  However, with easterly winds it dropped us too close to the reef so we decided to move on to plan B.

This image was taken as we were motoring outside the lagoon.  Check out the huge waves breaking on the reef between us and the lagoon.

Plan B was to move into Passe Rautoanui and hang a right to see if we could anchor near village Tevaitoa.  However, there were no moorings and it was way too deep for us to drop the hook. So, off we go to Plan C.

Plan C:  motor up to Baie Apu, Taha’a.  It was directly into the wind, so we motored the entire way.  We hopped on a mooring and took Donald to the Chompon Pearl Farm.

We started at the bottom of Raiatea (south) near Ile Haio, then exited at the first pink dot (lower left).  Plan B was in at the 3rd dot until we moved to Plan C and headed to Taha’a.

New Anchorage – Point Tenape

Donald told us about a cool place to have lunch – Raiatea Lodge.  So, we headed south toward a new anchorage across from the lodge.  It was a beautiful sail day with just the jib pushing us along at 5-6kts.  We passed by 4 different huts on sandy spits.  The locals use these for fishing or kit surfing spots.

Raiatea Lodge

Raiatea Lodge is a pretty little hotel.  They have a long pier and turquoise buildings.

Raiatea Lodge

Raiatea Lodge

They were kind enough to let us have lunch with them.  It was pricey, but tasty.

Raiatea Lodge

Raiatea Lodge

The next morning, we made French toast and motored closer to the airport where we picked up a mooring ball near Raiatea Carenage.  We had a lovely time visiting new spots to Donald, new spots to Sugar Shack, and new spots to both of us.  Although we did not get to do an overnight to Mo’orea due to weather, we had a great time.

Click here, if you missed Part I “A Twirl through the Societies.”  Events in this post occurred between 2-5 Oct. 2020.   Our blog posts run 6-8 weeks behind our adventures.

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.