Saturday, June 7, 2008

Papeete, Tahiti

June 7, 2008--We are currently anchored by Marina Taina in the channel that runs on the west side of Tahiti. We left Toau the morning of May 31 and had light winds from the stern. We ended up sailing wing-on-wing for much of the trip, which made for a rolly downwind sail. We were out for two nights, the second of which we hardly slept as we were approaching Tahiti and there was a lot of commercial traffic as well as many sailboats arriving from different locations. We arrived at Tahiti around 5 a.m. and had to again slow down until sunrise around 6 a.m. As soon as the sun came up, we headed into the entrance channel to Papeete. At this time of day there were ferries streaming out of the channel, but we were able to enter during a break in the traffic.

The main harbor is straight in from the entrance; however, we made a turn to the right and continued down a buoyed channel. We had to stop at the north end of the airport and request permission from harbor control to proceed. Any sailboat with a mast over 30 feet may hinder a plane while landing or taking off. We were told that we could proceed, but at the other end of the airport we were asked to wait until a plane could land, which was only about 10 minutes. We then continued on around the channel and arrived at the marina where there are probably 200 sailboats and powerboats are either in the marina or anchored in the channel.

We found a good spot, which happened to be next to sv Liberty, and anchored in about 50 feet. We were tired, but we had downed so much coffee that we couldn't have slept if we had wanted to, so we cleaned up and picked up Le Truk (they look much like a cable car attached to a truck cab) to go into Papeete to check in. We got off downtown and walked to customs and immigration to complete the check-in procedure. The best part was that we received our duty-free certificate for fuel, which makes a huge difference in the price of diesel. Next we walked to the marine store to look around and then returned to downtown to eat lunch. We were walking around the market area after lunch and found a dentist's office so we went in. He was able to see Steve at 2 o'clock so we spent a short time at the central market and then returned to the dentist. He checked out Steve's tooth and said all was fine--he just needed to glue the crown back on. We were relieved and especially happy when it cost us just $5,000 CFP or $65. We picked up Le Truk to return to the marina but got off at the grocery store to pick up a few items. Luckily the store is next to the marina so we didn't have a long walk.

By the time we got back to the boat we were exhausted so we showered, ate a light dinner, read for awhile, and crashed at 7 p.m. We woke up at 7 a.m. feeling much better. Steve met with Polynesian Yacht Services regarding a mechanic who was supposed to come to the boat at 2 o'clock so we stayed aboard the boat only to be told that he would have to come on Thursday. We enjoyed a lovely evening aboard Liberty with Jeff and Sally from sv Grace joining us.

Today we headed into town because I had an appointment at 9:30 with a doctor to check some questionable spots on my skin. He was a general practitioner and decided that I should see the dermatologist so he called upstairs and got me an appointment for 2 p.m. In the meantime, I asked him if Steve and I could get the third shot in our Hepatitis B series, and he that would be no problem. We went to the pharmacy to pick up the medicine and then returned to his office. We received our shots, and the doctor charged us for only one visit--$5,000 CFP. We quickly ran down to the marine store and picked up a few items that we needed. We stopped for lunch at a sidewalk cafe that had wonderful sandwiches and then walked around the central market for awhile. We found a good place for Steve to enjoy a beer while I walked back to the clinic to see the Dermatologist. She looked me over and said all was fine--good to know--and I paid another $4,500 CFPs. Steve was there when I walked out so we caught Le Truk and returned to the marina tired and hot but happy to have some things taken care of.

The mechanic will be here on Monday morning to get the engine tuned, so we plan to check out Monday afternoon and leave on Tuesday. Papeete is not exactly paradise--downtown is not very pretty or very clean, although it is interesting to sit and watch the people. The landscape here is just as beautiful as Nuku Hiva with the hillsides green and lush, but there is a lot of traffic and noise. We would definitely prefer to move on down to an anchorage at the south side of the island.

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