Tag Archives: tahiti

Toodles Tahiti

We had a laundry list of things to do, errands to run, and projects to complete when we arrived in Tahiti.  It is always a love/hate relationship for me as it is a necessary evil to be here.  It is the only place where you have full access to stores, services, and products in French Polynesia.  So, instead of truly enjoying the beauty of Tahiti we end up running around with our heads cut off.

The Priorities

Long Stay Visas – Carte de Sejure

There are a few things that take priority over others.  The most important is obtaining our long-stay visa.  We technically don’t need a full year on our visa, but you can’t just ask for 3 months.  So, we had submitted our paperwork 2 months ago to start the process of renewing our carte de sejurs.  We worked with Tahiti Crew agency and they were able to procure our visa renewals on our 3rd day here! 

We were able to obtain an extension for our boat visa due to required safety work that needed to be done on the boat prior to making the Pacific Crossing from French Polynesia to Fiji.  Thanx to Raiatea Carenage for helping us with our boat extension!

Now, both our boat and our bodies can stay here until 11 July 2022!

Life Raft and Anchor Shank

We had a new to us life raft and a new anchor shank delivered to Tahiti while we were in Gambier. A friend of ours kept them in storage for us and we had to retrieve both items as soon as we arrived.

Life Raft Certification

Coming up next week is an entire blog post on the life raft certification process.  Super cool and interesting so don’t miss out on reading it!  Our life raft is a safety item that needs to be serviced and certified before any major ocean crossing.

Duty Free Fuel Certificate

Before we leave on our long passage, we will need to top up the fuel tanks.  Which means loads of money.  One great benefit of being a yacht in transit is the duty-free fuel certificate. This gives us up to 40% discount on diesel (not gasoline).

Not Priority Items – Albeit Still Important


We will be hauling the boat in a few weeks so we don’t need to provision with meats, produce, or perishables.  However, we do need to hit the big box stores to get the bulk items we use every day.  That includes stops at:

  • Maxi’s
  • Polynesian Trading
  • Cash Club
  • Carrefor

We also have to make several boat purchases which require multiple stops to:

  • Nautisport (3 visits)
  • Ace hardware (both stores)
  • Sing Tung (marine)
  • Ocean 2000 (marine)
  • Shell Fuel (2-stroke and oil)
  • Sewing shop

A few miscellaneous errands

  • Vini (local cell service) we had to extend and prepay for our wifi service one month
  • T&M Creations (creating jewelry with local pearls)

Additional Errands

  • Floats: We’ve been carrying around 8 pearl farm floats to use to float our chain when anchoring around the coral in the Tuamotus and Gambier.  I removed the lines and shackles and then found them new homes.  Got them off the boat!
  • Propane: We did not need to refill our propane tank, but our friends on Bella needed to some to fill their tank. So, they filled their tank and two of our camping bottles.  Then they exchanged our partially empty tank for a full one!  So nice.  We will sell this tank to another cruiser before we leave French Polynesia.
  • Sea Shells: I’ve gathered a huge collection.  Partially because I need to share but also because we are not technically allowed to bring sea shells into Fiji.  So, I packed up tons of sea shells and sea treasures to bring back to my sister in CA.
  • Re-stuff and set pillows. Trying to purge unused items.  I found two pillow stuffings hidden in a cabinet.  I removed the sad stuffing from two of my salon pillows and replaced it with the new stuffing.

I know this was a super boring blog post, but I wanted to share all aspects of cruising and that includes boat projects, errands, and basic boring work stuff.  Fun right?

After this week it was time for a treat….

In our last blog we unveil and inflate our life raft for the first time.   Events from this blog occurred in March 2022.  Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind our adventures.

Sunken Treasures

I am ashamed to admit this but I have never snorkeled the sunken treasures site located less than 5 minutes from our Tahiti anchorage.  You are probably thinking, WTF?  Yes, we have anchored in the same spot in Tahiti for 3 years at least 2 dozen times!  Yet, I have never been to this super cool spot!

We gather our friends Thomas and Marika (from “Scooter”) and we make the short trek to the snorkel spot.  Directly under the dinghy is the first of two sunken ships.   I jump in to see the shell of a rather large ship.  The smaller of the two ships is located 30 meters away near the airplane.

Strategically placed together are the Cessna 172 airplane and the smaller ship.  The two ships did not prove to be very interesting as they had no coral growth or wildlife on or around them.

Matt decides he wants to fly the plane so he snorkels down 10m (30’+) while Thomas goes down with my GoPro. 

Matt has to wiggle into the cockpit, but manages to give us a thumbs up.

The plane proves to be far more interesting to shoot from all different angles.  If you look closely, you will see that the tires are still on the plane!

Rumor has it that on April 16, 1995, following an emergency landing, this plane sank near the runway of the Tahiti airport.  Now it remains at the site of the Aquarium with two other boats and a work station in 10 meters of water.

Working Remote?

Next to the plane is the strangest thing….a small desk with a lamp, adding machine, pencil cup and an apple computer (complete with keyboard).  We’ve been saying that internet is hard to find in French Polynesia – but this shows we exhausted all possibilities!

Just because it is such a cool shot, here is a single photo of Matt at the desk after he pounded it when he realized he had no connectivity.

We also had lots of super curious fish coming to check us out.

And we found a beautiful heart made of coral because we love Tahiti.

We say farewell to Fakarava after some fabulous shark dives.  Events from this blog post occurred toward the end of March 2022.  Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind actual events.

Migration to Tahiti

The migration from the Gambier Archipelago to the Society Archipelago is about 900 nm if we were to go direct.  However, we decided to head north toward the Tuamotus Archipelago then west toward the Societies which ads several hundred miles and days to our journey.

The first leg of this migration is from Taravai, Gambier to Tahanea, Tuamotus.  This passage is roughly 664nm direct and should take us 5-6 days.  The predicted forecast is for light winds, little rain, long, rolly seas.  We put up our largest spinnaker (200 square meters), since we were anticipating light winds.  We call her “Big Bertha” and she is super colorful   Usually, we take down our spinnakers at night and just run the “working sails” (main and jib) as a “just in case”.  But the winds were super light at 6-8kts and predicted to stay that way all night.

Night 2 – dun dun dun

Matt wakes me up around 2:00am announcing a pending storm.  We need to douse the spinnaker and raise the working sails.  I grab a rain jacket and make a quick trip to the bathroom.  I should have skipped the 2-minute bathroom break.  By the time I got to the deck, the wind gusted to 26 and blew out our sail.  Insert all sorts of explicates here!  We rush to the bow to pull the sail out of the water. 

Yes, Matt could have doused the sail by himself and I could have peed my pants.  Both options would have saved the sail.  Hindsight is 20/20.  But the good news is that none of the sail pieces got caught on the dagger boards, rudder, or prop!  We will try to repair her in Tahiti.  She is 22 years old. Farfugnuggin!  The lower left photo shows you where the sail ripped.

The top two photos show you the huge wind shift and gust of wind.  The bottom right photo is the parasail that we put up afterwards.

On our 5th night, we had a guest on board.  A silly, dirty boobie.  It is so hard to be mad at these birds as it is clear they are tired and just need a place to rest before continuing on their own personal migration.  But man, oh man do they leave a nasty mess!

Part I of the Migration: Gambier-Tahanea

  • Total Miles to Destination:  664nm
  • Total Miles Sailed:  710nm
  • Top Speed: 11.0kt
  • Average Speed:  6.1kt

Notes:  Super beautiful sail with the light wind coming ENE and the seas coming from ENE to E.  The seas were large at 2m, but they were long and lazy and came with long intervals in between.  We ended up sailing 46nm out of our way to maintain the wind speed.

Don’t miss our blog post “Ta Ta Tahanea” where we explore this stunning atoll for the last time.  Coming up next week.

Tahanea to Fakarava

This is the shortest part of our migration.  The tricky part is trying to time the outbound passage through the Tahanea pass with the inbound passage through Fakarava.  Unfortunately, it just does not work out.  So, we decided to leave Tahanea at the midnight outbound slack time with the hopes of arriving at the Fakarava inbound around 9a-10a in the morning. 

Typically, we don’t like to transit the passes at night because you cannot see what the water is doing.  Is it truly inbound or outbound current?  Are there standing waves?  What are the eddies doing?  Too many unknowns.  But we have tracks from a previous transit and a wee bit of the moon light and forged our way out with no issues.

The winds were light at 10-12kts from the East on a perfect beam reach.  We started with full working sails (main and jib) and were making a respectable 5-5.5 kts of boat speed.  At dawn, we lost the wind, dropped all sails and motored.  We hoisted our spinnaker but that only gave us 3kts of boat speed, so we took her down and reverted back to the motor and the jib.  This would ensure we arrive during incoming tide in Fakarava.

Super peaceful and beautiful passage to Fakarava.

Part II of Migration

  • Total Miles to Destination:  48nm
  • Total Miles Sailed: 55 nm
  • Top Speed: 11.0kt
  • Average Speed:  6.1kt
  • Total time at underway: 11 hours

Fakarava to Tahiti

We had light winds predicted for this trip.  We left the North pass at 3:00pm and had 238nm to Papeete.  An expected 2-2.5 days.  Since we did not want to arrive at night we decided to just go with our working sails.  We set them up wing on wing which means the main on one side and the jib on the other. 

We could have flown our spinnaker or parasail but then we would arrive at night – and what’s the point in that.  So, we enjoyed a nice, slow, leisurely paced sail.

Sugar Shack under sail using the spinnaker (this is our medium sized 150 square meters spinnaker as the large one (200m) was ripped on the way from Gambier to Tahanea.

  • Total Miles to Destination:  238nm
  • Total Miles Sailed:  246nm
  • Top Speed: 9.3kt
  • Average Speed:  5.5kt
  • Total time at underway:  1 day and 20 hours

I ended up writing separate blog posts for Tahanea and Fakarava so be sure to read the next few weeks to catch up on our adventures on these two atolls.

A celebration and sad farewell to the Gambier Archipelago. (see passage post).   The migration began 25 Feb. in Gambier and ended on 26 March in Tahiti.  Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind our adventures.