Tag Archives: tahaa

Delicious Taha’a & Bay Nao Nao

We dropped the hook in Bay Apu which is the south side of Taha’a.  The home of Champon Pearl Farm.  This particular anchorage is not a favorite of mine primarily because there are well over 30 boats that moor here all the time.  The charter boats use it as a staging area and a frequent stop.  There are also at least 10-12 boats that are abandoned or have nobody caring them.  The good thing about this spot is that it is protected from the upcoming NW winds and we can check out the Champon Pearl Farm again.

Bay Apu, Taha'a

Bay Apu, Taha’a

The Pearl Farm

Matt and I took the SUPs out on a particularly calm morning (it was 0630).  You can see the water clarity from the paddle board photos.

Champon Pearl Farm

Champon Pearl Farm

We could see their pearl farm underwater which is located just in front of their dock.  The underwater pearl farm was not set too deep so we could see it all from the surface.  But I did stick the GoPro in the water to get all of these shots.

They are growing little oyster shells in tube like nets hung from lines and suspended by floats.

Growing baby oysters

Growing baby oysters

Once the baby oysters grow up, they put them in the harvesting nets which are rectangle.

And they were harvesting lots and lots of oysters.  The larger oysters that have been harvested (with the nucli) are in square or rectangle nets and suspended from a line being held up by floats.

Harvesting Pearls

Harvesting Pearls

They had a maze under water.  I wish these photos came out better, but you can see how close they are to the surface and how many lines crisscross over each other.

Here is a view from above the water looking down onto the farm.  I love the top photo where you see Matt by the red marker and the white pearl float in the foreground.  Look at me so artsy.

It rained and rained and rained while we were here.  We are lucky we had an hour to get these photos.  On the way back, we got rained on.

Bay Nao Nao

We finally had a rain free day and decided to head south to the beautiful bay of Nao Nao.  On the way, we leave the lagoon and try to catch some fish.  But, despite all the birds flying around and the jumping/flying fish, nothing got on our hook. This is me hiding in the shade while underway.

We went for a walk with our friends Steve and Lili (from the boat Liward) and we met the most interesting, self-proclaimed extremist who believed it was imperative to bring back the old culture and history of Polynesians.  It was super interesting and educational to talk to him. He is covered head to toe with stories on his body (in tattoos).

He built his own maraes in 2012, to represent his family, ancestors and protection for his house and island.

Ile Haio / Bay Nao Nao

This is truly one of the prettiest bays in Raiatea.  I call it Bay Nao Nao but technically it is really Ile Haio.  The motu by the pass is called Nao Nao, but the motu where we grab a mooring ball is actually called Ile Haio.  Technicality, but just wanted to point it out.  It has been raining a lot.  Bummer for activities, but great for the islands.  It makes everything so very pretty and green!

Bay Nao Nao aka Ile Haio

Bay Nao Nao aka Ile Haio

And Sugar Shack is looking oh so lovely sitting in this bay!

We had a “Flag off” with our friends on Liward.  They are registered in Kemah (Houston).  They put up their 4’x6’ which was so cute!  So, we put up our Texas flag which is 12’x18’.  We won in the size department, but we lost in the flying department.  Our flag was so big that the slight breeze was not able to get her up and flying properly.  But she still looked pretty.  Then we had to dry her off as she got soaked in the rain storm. Where do you dry such a huge flag? 

One night we had Tequila and Nachos on Liward. Man oh man it was tasty.

I was gifted one of the patron bottles which I promptly cleaned and filled with sea shells.  Liward is in the background.

Matt getting artsy with a bottle….makes you thirsty, right?

In our last blog, we enjoy a hoppin good time in Huahine.   Events from this blog post occurred early October.  Our blog posts run 10-12 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.