Tag Archives: taravai

Rikitea – Parting is Such a Sweet Sorrow

We decided to spend a week in Rikitea which is the main anchorage of Mangareva.  Typically, we try to avoid staying in this anchorage for that length of time because it is often crowded with other cruising boats.  However, it is the main island with the only village and we needed to get a few things done like fixing our alternator plate and provisioning.  As a bonus we would have time to spend with our local friends who live in the main village.

The Rikitea anchorage was crowded with over 30 boats.  In addition, we were hit with a maramu (storm) which brought rain, high winds, rolly waves, and cold weather.  But there is always lemonade to be made with those lemons.

Rikitea Rrewards

Rikitea Rewards

We hung out with our local friends Stefan and Manu a lot.  They have baby goats that needed constant feeding and cuddling.  I signed up for that chore.  I dragged Missy and Yanel (HooDoo) along to help out.

Stefan's Baby Goats

Stefan’s Baby Goats

Polynesian Party Sugar Shack

We invited Stefan, Manu, and Popo back onboard Sugar Shack for the weekend.  We had planned on sailing to another island, but bad weather made it a weekend at anchor in Rikitea.  Dada and his two kids came for dinner and brunch the next day but did not stay the night like the others.  Our local friends brought an immense about of food and showed us how to prepare meals Polynesian style.

Tangled and Twisted

One day during our 10-day stay in Rikitea we had a particularly hard blow (gusty winds).  It whipped us around and close to a float.  We watched it and felt that we were far enough away to avoid getting tangled.  However, when we woke the next morning, we discovered the ball wrapped around the chain and the bridle.

We could not do anything about it as the winds were howling and the seas were a large.  We finally get a calm day with no wind and no swell a week later.

Matt starts to pull up the chain only to realize that it is not one float, but many.  In fact, it looks like we hooked the entire pearl float farm!  These shots were taken from the bow looking down.


We had to tie a secondary line to raise the chain since the floats were all tangled.  Of course, I got the line all messed up and it over rode onto itself.

Matt hops back in the dinghy to try to figure out this mess.  5 balls, tons of line and everything tethered to a big cement block at the bottom of the 16-meter Riketea anchorage.

After several hours, we finally came to the realization that we could not detangle this mess without getting the hooka or dive gear out.  Our friends on Hoodoo have a dive compressor and offered up one of their dive tanks. 

Diving the Tangled Web

The good news about having to dive this mess in Rikitea is that we get to check out Matt’s dive gear which has not been in use for a awhile.  Matt got all his gear on and went down under.  It took him well over an hour to remove everything including 6 floats, a pear net, half dozen lines in various widths, and 3 pearl floats anchors.  It appears Gambiers did not want us to leave either.

And we are now free to leave Rikitea.

Cinco de Mateo: Matt’s Birthday

Valerie played several Polynesian birthday songs over the VHF radio first thing in the morning on Cinco de Mateo (5 May).  Waking up to the beautiful melodies of the islands was a perfect way to start Matt’s birthday.  Sugar Shack remained anchored in Taravai longer than anticipated just so we could celebrate with Valerie, Herve and their family again (we were here last year for Matt’s birthday too).

We invited our friends at anchor, planned a mid-day BBQ and enjoyed a great Tuesday.  We landed onshore first and were eagerly greeted by Valerie.  She had made a typical Polynesian crown and leigh for Matt.  It was not only beautiful but incredibly fragrant.  He looked a little silly but he wore it all day (bless his heart).

It was great fun celebrating with all of our friends!

Chris and Fred onboard Sea Jay (American) and Ivar and Floris onboard LuciPara 2 (Dutch)

And the rest of the party crew…

And of course, Matt and I

Taravai Sunday Funday for Matt’s Birthday

Herve BBQ’d some pork ribs, made a tasty pork stew, and poison cru (raw fish dish).  We had tons of side dishes and I made cheesecake bites (with my last cream cheese) and a butter pecan cake.  Super fun.

Matt did the social distancing thing perfectly by NOT blowing out his candles.  He merely lifted the board that was blocking the wind.  We had happy birthday sung to us in multiple languages: English, Spanish, Tahitian, Mangarevian, French, and Dutch.

One of the local families brought pearls for everyone to consider. Gabriel has a pearl farm and a pension (hotel) in Rikitea.  He was so kind!  He gave three of us a few loose pearls.

All in all a great celebration on Matt’s birthday!

Celebrating in Taravai

We spent many afternoons celebrating our freedom after the quarantine.  All of the cruisers anchored at the Taravai village would go to shore to play volleyball and patonque.  It was a great way to get some exercise, get your heart rate up, and enjoy some community with others.  Thank goodness the locals who live here, Valerie, Herve and their kids Alan and Arique love hosting and playing games!

And lots of patonque

Many Happy Hours and Dinners

Everyone was celebrating happy hours and dinners.  Here is one of many nights  aboard fellow cruiser’s boats.  This one in particular was hosted by our friends Fred and Chris onboard Sea Jay.  They invited Valerie, Herve, Alan and Ariki to join us for a tasty pot luck.


Located less than one nautical mile from Taravai is a little, uninhabited island called Moto O-Ari.  Last year we snorkeled on the southern side.  However, we never explored the little island.  With nothing but time on our hands, we had to remedy that situation.

We tied Sweetie up to a rock and tossed a stern anchor to hold her in place.  We scrambled up the rocky cliff and enjoyed a hike around the little island.  Sometimes there are paths cleared by other cruisers or locals.  Sometimes there is nothing but goat trails and sometimes there is nothing by wild.  This island was all wild.

We climbed over rocks, walked over dead coral, hiked up and down hills and hung off of trees as we walked all the way around the motu. 

Next, we wanted to conquer the two hills or large mounds.  They did not seem “that” tall but there were no paths.  So, it was hanging from cliffs by rock ledges or tree roots. Certainly, made it interesting.  We did have some pretty views of the bay.

Views from Motu - O Ari

Views from Motu – O Ari

Flour Celebrations

I know you are thinking, why would you celebrate getting flour?  Well, let me tell you.  Lots of baking went on at Sugar Shack.  We are not in the main island (where the village and markets are located) and have to bake our own bread.  What are we baking: English muffins, pizza dough, cookies, cake, brownies, banana muffins, and lots of bread.  All of these items require flour.

We had stock piled flour before we arrived in the Gambiers, thank goodness.  There has only been one delivery of flour over the last 3 months!  Yep, one delivery and it was small.  I was only able to procure 4 bags (1 kilo each) as no hording was allowed.  I was dangerously low and was sharing my woes with a fellow cruiser friend who helped me out.

My friend, Daniela who is fluent in French, worked with the local baker Phillipe.  He placed an order with his supplier in Tahiti.  However, his supplier was out of flour as well so they had to order it from outside the country.  Once the flour arrived to the supplier in Tahiti, it was placed on the supply ship and delivered to me in Gambiers in a 25 kilo bag (50lbs).   It took three parties, 3 delivery methods, and lots of help.  But, it was delivered for a grand total $15!  Both Matt and I were celebrating our huge score!  I spent the morning bagging and storing the flour in seal-able containers with bay leaves (to prevent weebles).