Tag Archives: raiatea

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.

Survey for Sugar Shack

Every few years private yachts / vessels need to get a survey.  It is similar to surveying a house when you want to buy or sell it.  Our insurance carrier requires a survey to verify their investment is valued at what we have it insured for – or at least close to it.

There are three types of surveys:

  1. Out of water survey (typically done with an in water survey)
  2. In water survey
  3. Rigging Only Survey

Sometimes you can get away with doing an “in water” survey which looks at the interior and not the exterior or structure of the boat.  This is the cheapest and easiest to get done.

The out of water survey requires a haul out (taking the boat out of the water) which gets expensive.

Our insurance required an out of water survey in addition to the in water and rigging.  Crapola!  Our last out of water survey was 2016, our last rigging survey was 2017.  So, technically, I guess we are do.  Photos from our last survey.

Hindsight is 20/20

In 2018, our boat was struck by lightening in Costa Rica and had a major refit of all electronics (see blog).  We spent 8 months on the hard working on the boat, fighting with insurance, and replacing lots of gear.  We were working closely with a local surveyor who was extremely helpful and quickly became a friend.  Toward the end, we had asked him if we needed to resurvey the boat and he said “no, save the money.”  I should have pushed and insisted as I really wanted an updated survey.  But, I didn’t.   This survey would have saved us a lot of heartache when searching for a new insurance carrier.

That decision has bitten me in the a$$ more times than I care to admit.  So, we are here a few years later finally getting that out of water survey.

Finding a Surveyor

Most insurance companies based in the U.S. require the surveyor to hold either a SAMS or NAMS certification.  NAMS surveyors are pretty much based in the U.S.  SAMS has surveyors in 22 countries with the closest being Australia or Panama.  So, basically, we would have to fly someone to French Polynesia, pay for the flights, hotel, transportation, and their daily rate, plus the survey.  All in all, it would be thousands of dollars!  Not going to happen.

Plan B

We found two “surveyors” in French Polynesia.  I have them in quotes because neither are SAMS or NAMS certified.  One I contacted last year and he was not very responsive so I went to the other guy this year. He was very responsive and seemed “easy going” which is always good when assessing your boat.  I asked him to send a sample survey so I could get it approved by the insurance carrier.  He had just surveyed a Catana 50 which could not have been better for us.  They approved his survey and we scheduled our meeting.

Surveys are Subjective

You have to understand that a survey is pretty subjective (like art).  Sure, there are lots of boxes to check, but for the most part it is subjective.  Which is always worrisome when you want and expect a specific outcome.  Sugar Shack is insured as stated value, not depreciated value, considering she is in excellent condition — even at 20 years old.

Out of Water Survey

Our surveyor remained patient with us as we changed our out of water survey several times.  We were trying to get work finished up before he took photos and put them in the survey.  Unfortunately, it did not work out that way.  He came a day early and took photos while they were still doing fiberglass work and paint. Ugh!  So, I took photos and he promised to include mine in his report as well (we shall see).

The out of water survey consists of examining the hulls, props, rudders, through hulls, ground plates, SSB plates refrigeration plates, and dagger boards.  Pretty straight forward.  He walked around writing notes and asked a few questions.  It felt like the entire thing took 6 minutes but in reality, it was longer.  He said “for a 20-year-old she is in really good condition.”  Surveyor upside down by dagger board as Matt and I watch on.  Noel (foreground) working on the polish.

In Water Survey

I sent a very detailed list of all of our equipment to the surveyor prior to the survey.  The list included the type of equipment, the make/manufacturer, model #, serial #, date purchased, and location.  This list included everything on our boat.  I am sure the surveyor has never seen anything so comprehensive from a client.  Made me kinda proud – yea me for my Project Management certification!

Christophe showed up right on time and worked diligently for 4 hours checking, opening, testing, and verifying that our boat was in good working order.  From testing the strength of our hand rails, to making sure our hatches are water tight to verifying up to date fire extinguishers, EPIRBs, PFDs, Life Raft, Medical Supplies, and more.  He verified my equipment list and ensured that all of the equipment was onboard and functioning properly. 

He went up the mast to check the mast, standing rigging, rods, connection points, radar, antennas, lights, and wind indicators.  We started the engines and all the electronics, we showed the amperage of the electronics and batteries, and opened up all the bilges, engine rooms, cabinets and more.  The boat was completely exposed having a stranger poke and prod everywhere.

The Result

The only complaint I have is with his value of our boat.  We disagreed on the value and he would not budge.  He was unyielding and stubborn.  Even after I showed him comparable yachts and our previous survey.  I was severely irritated and pissed off.  I could not believe how unreasonable he was when it came to this one thing. Everything else we agreed upon.  I thought the value should be higher based on all of our new electronics and good state of the boat – but he refused to budge. 

After arguing for a week, we agreed to disagree and there was nothing I could do.  However, we  are now armed with an up to date out of water, in water, and rigging survey.  We will use this when we shop around for a new insurance carrier in Q1 2021.

The survey took place during the week of 25 September 2020.  The blog post is 6-8 weeks behind the survey date.