Tag Archives: raiatea

Liward Islands

We splash Sugar Shack a few weeks after we returned from the USA.  She is so pretty and dolled up that I hate to see even a spec of dirt on her.  But it’s a boat and our home and dirt is bound to happen!  We have lots to do to prepare to leave from French Poly!  But first, we decide to head to the liward islands of Huahine, Raiatea, Taha’a.  If we have to do boat chores and paperwork, we mine as well as do it in a picture-perfect setting!


Amazing passage from Mo’orea to Huahine.  We typically make this passage at night because it is 90nm and it is difficult to make during daylight hours.  However, we had the perfect opportunity to make a go of it less than 12 hours after we arrived in Mo’orea. So, we took it.

We got up at 0400 (4:00am) and readied the boat.  Hook was up at 0430, and we rounded the Mo’orea corner at 0530.  We had a perfect beam reach with no swell.  Winds were 12-15kts out of the NE giving us a beautiful boat speed of 7-8kts.  Absolutely spectacular sailing day.

  • Miles to Destination:  91nm
  • Total Miles Sailed:  95.3nm
  • Total duration:  12.5hrs
  • Max Speed: 11.8
  • Average Speed: 7.5

We of course stop in at Izzy’s Burgers where I grab another photo of Isabel and I.  Man alive these are amazing burgers! Matt had the Huahine Burger which had bacon and topped with an egg!

Isabel and I at Izzy's Burgers

Isabel and I at Izzy’s Burgers

My dear friend Eve on sailing vessel “Auntie” and I went on a 7 mile walk to the Fare Pote Museum.  We got up early to avoid the heat and walked as the sun woke up the island.  It was so darn pretty!

Eve and I in Huahine

Eve and I in Huahine

We pass a few beautiful lakes/lagoons and just take in the pure beauty of the stillness.

We passed this super funny looking baguette holder – it is a large barrel. I guess they really like their baguettes.

We pass by a church where the sun lit it from the inside out.

Arriving at the Fare Pote Museum we capture a few photos of the sacred Mare.

Good Times: Good Friends – Huahine

For the past few years, I have been participating in an SSB radio net.  We have 7 volunteers who run this daily net that tracks vessels underway and monitors anchorage and weather conditions.  We have tracked vessels as far as Fiji, New Zealand, Hawaii and Alaska!  It is a rare occurrence when we are in the same anchorage, but it just so happened that 4 of the 7 net controllers were in Huahine.  So, we gathered onboard Sugar Shack for happy hour!

Poly Mag Net Controllers

Poly Mag Net Controllers

We also enjoyed many happy hours at the Huahine Yacht Club.  I captured many beautiful sunset photos here.  The sunsets are truly beautiful in the liward islands (well who am I kidding, they are beautiful everywhere).

Huahine Yacht Club

Huahine Yacht Club

This photo was taken without filters or editing!  Just my amazing iPhone 13 Pro Max doing its thing.

Taha’a – Coral Gardens

Eventually we tear ourselves away from Huahine and our friends.  We head to another liward island called Taha’a which is one of two islands inside the same lagoon.  We anchor near a beautiful resort to “borrow” their wifi and complete some of our necessary paperwork (see next blog on preparing to leave French Poly).

We find a new coral gardens that we dutifully named “the secret coral gardens” because only  locals seem to know about it.  Same drift snorkel but the coral and fish are a lot more healthier.  Wow what a difference man has made to the underwater world (and not in a good way). 

A few of our cruiser friends gathered for a dinghy drift.  We tied our dinghies together, enjoyed some cold drinks and snacks as the sun went down.


Perles d’O

We wanted to hide for a little bit, but it did not work out as planned.  The anchorage was not as comfortable as we had hoped so we ended up returning to Raiatea.  But it was pretty. 

Entering Pearl d'O Anchorage

Entering Pearl d’O Anchorage

There is a little, old pearl farm shack that is no longer in use called “Pear d’O”.

Pretty sunset with Bora in the back ground.


One of our favorite anchorages is in front of a small 8-room pension (hotel) called La Pirog.  We’ve stopped here many times, search our blog for past visits.  It is so pretty and is the perfect place for a sunset cocktail.

La Pirog Resort

La Pirog Resort

Day out on Sugar Shack

Our friends on sailing vessel Domum have been in the Raiatea Carenage yard for well over a month working on their boat so we decided to take them out for a day on Sugar Shack.  We motored (because there was no wind) two hours from the Carenage to the coral gardens in Taha’a.

Domum on Sugar Shack

Domum on Sugar Shack

Bora Bora

We end our time in French Polynesia in Bora Bora.  Not because it is “Bora Bora” but because it is the western most island where we can easily launch on our two week passage.  Plus we wanted to stop by Bloody Mary’s one more time.  Our friends on Grace (Dave and Helen), Rhapsody (John and Aida), and Askari (Carolyn and Andrew) joined us for happy hour, then we moved it to the dining room for an extremely tasty dinner.

And just for giggles…one more visit to the men’s room where their “flush” pull is very unique.

Goodbye Bora Bora….this is Hotel Conrad


During all this fun in the liwards we are dutifully preparing for our two-week passage from French Polynesia to Fiji.  Stay tuned for the next blog post where I explain all of our hard work to get ready for a huge passage.

Sugar Shack gets dolled up for her passage to Fiji.  Check out our experience a Raiatea Carenage.  Events from this blog in early April, 2022.  Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind our adventures.

On the Hard: Raiatea Carenage

It is that time again – time to haul our beautiful boat out of the water to do some general maintenance and repairs.  It is always nerve racking to pull your boat out of the water, but the team at Raiatea Carenage really take care of you.

We pull into a narrow waterway (which will be expanded this year) with rather large boulders on either side.  Several team members grab our lines and slowly direct us toward the travel trailer.  In addition, there are guys in the water watching our rudders, dagger boards, and props to ensure they play nicely with the boulders.

The Work List:

  • Repair Port Bow (damage from another boat)
  • Repair Port Hull (damage from coral head)
  • Port Rudder Repair (damage from coral head)
  • Re-fix Port Hull side (fix color match from previous work)
  • Sand down all bottom paint to gel coat (22 years of paint)
  • Apply barrier coat (sigmacover 280) and 3 coats of bottom paint (Carboline AF 3000)
  • Apply Peller Clean on sail drives and props
  • Rudders: replace bushings (DIAM 67 JP3)
  • Sail Drives: change oil and replace sealing and O-rings)
  • Drill hole in new anchor shaft
  • Weld/Sauder lifeline
  • Rebed starboard large window (leaks)
  • Rebed deck and hull (about 60% of it replaced)
  • Complete wash and wax of entire boat
  • Spinnaker Repair (taken to Marina Apooiti)

Dominique, the owner, expertly uses a remote control device to maneuver the state-of-the-art trailer.  It is frightening and yet so very impressive to watch them pull Sugar Shack out of the water.

The first thing they do is pressure wash the boat to get all the grime and stow away critters off the bottom.  Then they remove both of our rudders which need repair and service.  The photo shows them removing and installing the rudders.

Next we are placed in our new temporary home.  Dominque is able to squeeze us in right up close and personal to other boats.  Thank goodness we won’t be onboard for the entire stay.


The bottom of the port hull needed some extra love.  We had the yard sand down to the gel coat, apply fearing and fiberglass, barrier coat and paint.  Just like new.

The port rudder needed additional love.

While in Huahine, another boat lost control and hit our port bow.  Causing about $3300 worth of damage.  Lucky for us he was insured and covered the cost.  

When we returned, we had lots of beautiful sunsets.  The waterway at Raiatea Carenage.

Our view from the hard at Raiatea Carenage.

Splash Day

The day has come to put Sugar Shack in the water – exactly 1 month from the haul out date!  We are so excited to go back on the water!!!  Dominique is driving or should I say using the play station remote control while 3 guys are in the water and 2 guys are on port waiting for lines.

The team expertly maneuvers Sugar Shack’s wide back side around the many boulders on both sides of the boat.  She slips by without a scratch or bump!  That is how good this team is!

The Team

Dominique is the owner and such a sweet, fabulous man!  Fa’ura is the office manager and she always had a smile for me.

Spinnaker Repaired

We took our spinnaker to be repaired and they did a great job.  She was efficient, reasonably priced, and on time!  We flew her a few days later to see how she looked and we were very pleased.  Sure some of the colors don’t match, but hell she is a 22 year old sail!

We spent a lot more time on the hard than anticipated but it is always better to get the job done correctly rather than quickly.

Dominique at Raiatea Carenage certainly took good care of us. We are so very grateful for his help, patience, and care!

We finally say Toodles to Tahiti in our last blog post.  Events from this blog in April and May, 2022.  Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind our adventures.

Disaster on the Reef

Believe it or not, you do not “need” a license, training, or a certification to sail a boat.  You can buy a boat and just go.  Interesting in that you need a license to fly a plane, drive a car, and rent a scooter.  With that said, we have seen disaster after disaster at sea on the reef!

We made friends with Dominique, the owner / operator of Raiatea Yacht Carenage, when we hauled out Sugar Shack in 2020 (see blog post).  His tug company, Raiatea Carenage Tug Services, has recovered 142 yachts off the main barrier reef and well over 200 lagoon groundings over the last 32 years.  About 10-11 boats a year!  He said “some years we have no boats on the reef and other years we have 10 boats.  During a hurricane year, he retrieved 11 boats in week.  It is very variable.”

Over a two-month period, August to September 2021, Dominique recovered 4 boats.  Two sailboats in Huahine, one large power cat in Makemo and a sailing cat off of Tahiti.  I’m super happy that he is busy and putting lots of locals to work.  He is also cleaning up the mess and minimizing the damage to reefs.  However, it is devasting to see so many disasters in such a short period of time.

In August, the first catamaran ran aground outside of Huahine when the captain fell asleep.  Luckily this boat did not sit for long and was fairly easy to retrieve with not a significant amount of damage to the reef.  This is a local charter boat. I added the smiley face to keep the company name private.

Then a few weeks later, a large power catamaran ran aground in Tuamotus (over 400nm away from Raiatea).   This was a beautiful power cat that when discovered was already listing severely to port.  Dominque’s expertise salvaged this yacht and transported it all the way back to Raiatea where he will put her back together.

The owner requested no publicity so I cannot post the dramatic photos.

Disaster Hits Huahine Again

About a week later, a sailing monohull, whom we knew and encountered several times over the years, ran aground in Huahine.  Unfortunately, our encounters were less than pleasant each time.  They had the uncanny ability to disrespect the locals and authorities where ever they went.  Which is amusing as this is a Christian “teaching boat.” The owner charges a fee to each student to teach them how to sail.

Long story short, he had a new group of students, they were moving during confinement (illegal), and he went to sleep just before arriving the pass at night (unusually unwise).  Then disaster strikes and they run aground.  All 8 passengers had to be rescued by helicopter and taken ashore at night.

He did not have insurance and did not have the money to pay to remove the boat from the reef.  The boat sat on the reef for a few weeks, moving and destroying more and more coral with each passing wave.  The French Government told the owner to come up with the money or be faced with charges.  Supposedly, the church helped him pay for the recovery.  Which upsets me even more that church donations were used for this boat recovery instead of feeding and clothing the congregation.

Raiatea Carenage Tug Services is deployed to come to the rescue.  Not only do they deploy this beautiful tug boat, but they bring a small tender, a jet ski, and another large power boat.  All tricks of the trade used to recover boats off the reef.

After all that time, the boat aground, the boat did severe damage to the reef (see top photo where there is a white line).  That is the boat’s trail of destruction.

Dominique’s team has to risk their life trying to save this boat.  They fight huge waves and current while walking on unstable ground.  They take smaller boats and a jet ski out to the wreck.  Look at the worker in red under the boat on the bottom photo.

The damage to the yacht is substantial.

During the recovery, the team worked in horrific conditions.  Enormous waves pounding the boat causing her to pop up and slam down on the reef.  Causing more and more damage to the yacht and the reef.  Despite heroic efforts, the boat sustained severe damage causing a 1-meter square hole in the aft part of the boat and then promptly sank 700 meters into the sea.  Lost to Neptune.

A true disaster for the owner and the reef

A true disaster for the owner and the reef

Just a few days after the team returned back to the yard, another boat went aground in Tahiti.  It just seems to never end.  Yet another catamaran ran aground off the coast of Tahiti.

Unfortunately, most of these disasters could be avoided.  If only the captain and crew would stay alert and awake and use the abundant charts available to cruisers.  Yes, accidents happen. Yes, weather can be a huge contributor.  But the boat wrecks mentioned in this blog were all due to user error.

Hao Hazzard

A beautiful Outreimer went aground after a particularly heavy storm.  This beautiful boat took on a lot of water.  Dominique was able to retrieve the boat off the reef and place her in the old military basin in Hao.

Sugar Shack

Makes me eternally grateful for Matt’s incredible diligence as our ship’s captain.  When we are under way, we take shifts to ensure we don’t fall asleep. We are also running multiple charts including: Gamin, C-Map, Open CPN, and 3 different satellite earth views to ensure we never have a disaster occur.  God willing we continue to be as blessed.

In the last blog, we rent eBikes and circumnavigate the entire island of Mo’orea.  Events from this blog post occurred during August and September.  Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind our adventures.