Tag Archives: tahiti

Tahiti Marina Taina

Tahiti: The Land of Plenty

Toau was so beautiful that we did not want to leave.  However, I needed to get to Tahiti to prepare for my visit back to the States and we had a laundry list of chores to do before I left.  So, we head to Tahiti – the land of the plenty.  Tahiti is a necessary evil.  We go here to provision (with real grocery stores), obtain boat parts, bulk items (TP, paper towels, trash bags), hardware stores, and run errands (oh so many errands).  But first we have to get there.

Passage to Tahiti

The passage from Toau to Tahiti is about 250nm from pass to pass.  We estimated it to take 2 days to get there based on light winds from the NW.  Originally, we had hoped to fly the spinnaker for the first day and then switch to the working sails when the wind shifted to SE.  Unfortunately, the weather gods were playing tricks on us again.  We had winds directly on the nose at 2-4kts.  Not good for sailing so we ended up motoring for the first 20+ hours.  Finally, the wind filled in a smidge which allowed us to sail at 5-6kts.

We arrived into Point Venus, Tahiti in the middle of the night.  We know this anchorage and have been here several times before.  So, we felt comfortable coming into this very large, well-marked anchorage at night.  We dropped the hook, went to sleep and moved the boat to Papeete in the morning.

Things to do:

  • Pick up Matt’s new passport from U.S. Consulate
  • Pick up both of our new carte de sejure (long stay visas) from Tahiti Crew
  • Pick up 50L of rum from Airiki Noa Noa (Tahitian Rum)
  • Obtain a duty -free fuel certificate (saves us 40% on diesel)
  • Provisioning (Carrefor, Super U, Champion)
  • Big Box Stores (Maxi’s, Polynesian Trading, Tahiti Pas Cher, etc…)
  • Boat Parts (Sing Tung Hing, Ocean 2000)
  • (3) Hardware stores
  • Bank ($, $, $, $)
  • Shell Gas station to buy 20L of oil (for both diesel engines)
  • Errands: Electrosav, Auto Parts, Wing Chang (25kilo flour)


  • Fix outboard at Yamaha (not shifting properly)
  • Inspect and fill Dive Tanks and repair regulator
  • Get fuel (both diesel and gasoline)
  • Provision for fresh goods (fruit and veggie), frozen and cold goods

Normally, Matt and I have to make a bazillion trips to each of the stores because we don’t have a car and can only carry so much.  Typically, it is a 2+ mile walk, a bus ride, and another 0.5 mile walk to the dinghy, load the dinghy and then transfer onto Sugar Shack. 

However, we had to go to the U.S. Consulate which is well over 10 miles away with no direct bus route, and a $30+ cab ride one way.  So, we decided to rent a car last minute to get there and  then get all our heavy lifting out of the way (rental $55).  We were able to complete the top 10 items above in one day! It was one hell of a long day, but it got done!  We had to make 2 trips back to the boat to unload the car, but we got it all done. 

Fuel the hubby and the boat.  40L of beer, 50L of rum (blue drums) and 20L of oil.

Tahitian Beer and Rum

Tahitian Beer and Rum

Picked up boat and cleaning supplies.  The items in the photo came from about 8 different stores.  No such thing as a one stop shop.

Bulk stores provided great buys on American brand snacks and treats. This batch of stuff will last us 8-9 months.

My 25kilo bag of flour – yes, we do a lot of baking.  We make our own bread, pizza, dough, English muffins, focaccia, muffins, cakes, cookies, etc…

Big Bag o Flour from Tahiti

Big Bag o Flour from Tahiti

Beautiful rainbow over Marina Taina which is in Papeete, Tahiti.  We anchored outside of the marina.

Tahiti Marina Taina

Tahiti Marina Taina

Errands and Chores

We continue to work on boat chores when we are not running around.  Slowly knocking the projects off the list.  Stay tuned for the major redo of all of our exterior teak that took me well over 4 days to complete.

It is a necessary evil to be in Tahiti, the land of the plenty.  We love it because we can get a lot done and reprovision the boat.  But hate it because it is a huge city, filled with lots of people, we spend tons of money, and that boat get’s dirty from the busy anchorages.

But we got a lot done.  Matt will continue to check things off our list as I make my way back to the states.  In the meantime, life is good and we feel blessed.

Va’a Race Mo’orea to Tahiti

Shell sponsored a va’a race from Mo’orea to Tahiti with 6-man teams in each va’a.  A va’a is like a canoe with an arm out to one side, which is called an alma.  The teams of 6 members would race from Mo’orea to Marina Taina.  It as a flood of speeds boats in the channel causing all sorts of rocus.

Va'a Race Mo'orea to Tahiti

Va’a Race Mo’orea to Tahiti

As the va’a teams approached our boat, they entered a marked off area called the “transition area”.  Right in front of Sugar Shack, they changed teams in the va’a.  It was so amazing to see the hordes of boats around the transition area.  A boat would drop off 6 men/women in the water. Then their team would bring the va’a up to them.  The team in the va’a would jump in the water as the team in the water jumped in the va’a.  It took only a few seconds for the transition and then they were off again.

Va'a Teams

Va’a Teams

The 6 teams spent well over 6 hours paddling and trying to win the prize money. The top transition time was 4 seconds and the worse was when one team capsized and had to regain their loss time.

Pretty amazing event.  It takes a lot of skill and expertise to paddle these va’a’s.  Especially today as the weather was not cooperating and it was rainy and windy. They had to cross 15nm from Mo’orea to Tahiti!

Just for Fun

A few Tahiti happy hours to end the busy days.  Some of our cruiser friends.

Events from this blog post occurred during mid-June, 2021.  Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind our adventures.

Sugar Shack at Oponohu Passe

Voyage to Mo’orea

Finally, it was time for us to leave Tahiti and begin our voyage East. It is a short passage of 12nm to Moo’rea.  The weather was not conducive to sail toward the Tuamotus so we just went to the next island over.  However, before we left we enjoyed sundowners (aka happy hour) with our friends Julie and Andy on “Little Wing.”

Julie and I at sunset

Julie and I at sunset

Afterwards we were rewarded with a beautiful moonrise over Marina Taina in Tahiti. Perfect for this Halloween night.

The next morning, we made a final trash run and another quick trip to the grocery store to see if they got any pork in stock.  For some reason, the island of Tahiti is out of pork products – no pork chops, pork shoulder or pork ribs.  So sad for me.

Voyage to Mo’orea

We left the south pass and had light winds of 6-8kts coming north of east.  Sugar Shack had a full main and a reefed jib because there was hardly any wind.  We were doing a whopping 3-5kts of boat speed – just plugging along.  We were not in a hurry and had all day to cross the bay to the next island.

Several local surfers were taking advantage of the great waves as we left the pass.  These are short waves that break on a dangerous reef – but they still manage to rock it!

A French War ship was hanging out just in front of Mo’orea.  It looked like they were dragging something, but we were not close enough to figure it out.

French warship off the coast of Mo'orea

French warship off the coast of Mo’orea

In the distance we could see white caps.  Not a good sign, so we took a reef in the main sail.  After 15 minutes we decided to take a 2nd reef in the main sail.  Thank Holy God!  The winds jumped to 30-35kts and the seas quickly became 2-3 meters!  We were  bouncing all over the place.  We almost turned around, but decided to forge ahead.  The weather calmed down to 20-25kts and 1.5-2 meter seas which was a bit better.  The boat found her happy place and we were doing 7-8kts.

We turned the corner and had another 5nm to go to Oponohu passe entrance. During this leg of our voyage we encountered lots of beautiful dolphin.  They were surfing in the waves, jumping, and having fun.  We first spotted some dolphins at the Tahiti pass by the new surf platform (upper left photo), and then we saw dozens more as we got closer to Mo’orea.

Another mile further we ran into a super talented, overzealous foil boarder.   He was amazing!  He circled around Sugar Shack several times showing off his mad skills!  See my Instagram account for video footage.  He pumps the board by bending his knees which keeps the board moving forward.  He also uses the kite that is in his hand for propulsion.  We were going 6-7kts and he was going faster than us!

We were gifted with a grand view as we entered the Oponohu passe.

Sugar Shack at Oponohu Passe

Sugar Shack at Oponohu Passe

To the left of the pass is the anchorage which is full of other boats.  We grabbed a spot on a nice sandy patch in 3 meters of water.

Oponohu Anchorage

Oponohu Anchorage

Events from this blog occurred over the last week of October 2020.  Our blog posts run 8 weeks behind our adventures.

Tahiti Sails

Main Sail Maintenance

Our main sail, the main source of power for our sailboat needed some loving.  It is original to the boat which puts her at 20 years old.  She is made of two layers of dacron which is a heavy-duty material and weighs in at almost 300lbs!  She needs to be replaced because she doesn’t really hold her shape very well, but she still is functioning.  Matt and I hope to replace her and the jib when we get to New Zealand (next year).

We decided to get her re-stitched in order to get the most use of her and make her last longer.  We contacted Tahiti Sails and scheduled an appointment for them to retrieve our beastly sail.  First, you have to remove it and that is not easy.

Removing the Main Sail

The main sail lives inside the sail bag which is held up by lines called “lazy jacks.”  The sail is hoisted up the mast by 13  “cars” and has 3 reefing lines (in the front and 3 in the back), and 3 boom stromps that have to be removed.  Matt positions the boom off to the side (protecting the boom with a fender on the cabin top).  This gives him access to the sail bag, lazy jacks, boom stromps, and reefing lines.  Photos are of the sail bag as Matt removes the sail.


Next, we document the areas that we want re-stitched and repaired.  Mostly it is re-stitching the tack, clew, head, and baton pockets.  We are going to have them strengthen all of the key stress points and add a protective fabric over them (head, tack, clew). baton pockets) to block the UV from the sun. 


Tahiti Sails

Guillaume met us at our boat to pick up the sail.  We walk him through all the “weak” areas or areas of concern (as mentioned above).  He tests the thread on the actual material as he thinks it might be compromised as well since it is over 20 years old.  But to our surprise it is holding up nicely.  Matt and Guillaume fold up the main and off it goes to get repaired.

We also noticed that our small / top baton needs replacing.  It is shattered.  You can tell because it does not look like the rest.  Lucky for us it is the smallest one and the easiest to reach.  We will have to hunt to find a replacement.

Guillaume said it should take about 5/6 hours of work which could be done within the week.  Not sure how it takes a week to do 5/6 hours of work, but ok.  At an estimated cost of 40000xpf ($400).  We shall see.

The Beast Returns

Guillaume called us on Tuesday with the quote and a run down of all the repairs after he laid out the canvas on the floor.  The work was completed on Wednesday and delivered on Thursday – under budget and on time.  He repaired the head, tack, clew, baton pockets.  Added tail tales (wind indicators) and patched a few small tears.  He did really good work.  The top right photo shows where he hand stitched around a high stress point, then covered it with sunbrella.

Installing the Beast

Then the process of reinstalling the 300lb main begins.  It is a slow process as the weight makes it difficult to raise above our heads.  But Matt powers through it.

The sail is positioned along the side of the boom.  First he attaches the clew (bottom rear attachment point to the boom.  Then he attaches the head (the attachment point that raises the main up and down) to the main halyard.  Next up, he attaches the first of 13 cars.  He opens the car, slips the line in, closes the car, and inserts a split ring on the pin so it can’t slip out. Then is raises the main to the next car and repeats the process 13 times.  As he approaches each of the 3 reefing lines, he has to tie them on to the appropriate place in the front.  He will do the back 3 reefing points last.

Attaching the main to the cars

Attaching the main to the cars

After he attaches all 13 cars, he works on the rear reefing lines.  Lucky for us it is a quiet, windless day which makes it so much easier to keep the sail up while at anchor!  Matt is amazing!

Fast Forward:

A few days later we go to Tahiti Yacht Accessories and find a baton.  It is not really the correct size, but it is better nothing.  We needed a 16mm by 165 and he had either a 14 or 18.  Since the 18 was too big, we went with the 16.  You can clearly see the good vs the bad.

We celebrate with Rachel (from Agape) at a cool Poke Bowl place and it was delicious!

Events from this blog occurred on 21 October 2020.  Our blog posts run 8 weeks behind our adventures.