Friday, June 13, 2008

What a difference an island makes!

June 13, 2008—We left Papeete on Tuesday morning around 10 o’clock. The mechanic did not show up on Monday and wanted to reschedule for Tuesday; however, Steve told him that we had to leave.

We went ashore to try to upload pictures, but the service was so slow that it was not worth the time and effort. We then returned to the boat and got her ready to leave. We decided to leave through the northern pass in order to have the best point of sail, and we cleared the airport with no problems. The winds were supposed to be around 25 knots so we put a double reef in the main. As soon as we were out of the pass, we were screaming along with 30 knots of wind. For one short moment we hit 10.4 knots. We made the turn for Moorea, got the sails set, and took off. We did finally have to reef down to a triple and pull in some jib, but it was still a fast ride over.

We entered the pass to Cook’s Bay without any problems and motored to the head of the bay where about 10 sailboats were anchored. We put the anchor down in about 55 feet of water and shut everything down. Many of the sailboats that we have met along the way were in the bay, and it was good to see them again--it was even better to be out of Papeete.

Cook’s Bay is spectacular! The spire of Mont Mouaputa is at the end of the bay with a hole through it near the top resembling a patch of snow. It can be seen from the north and the northwest. Another mountain is on the eastern side of the bay. The hillsides are lush and green and beautiful.

Wednesday evening the Bali Hai Hotel, in front of which all of us are anchored, put on a Polynesian dance. Most of the cruisers in the bay went ashore at 5 o’clock to have dinner, and then the dance began at 6 o’clock. The dancers performed several dances in different costumes, all of which were beautiful and very colorful. As usual they picked people to go up and dance with them, and we were luck enough not to get picked.

On Thursday we rented a motor scooter and drove all around the island—all 36 miles of it. We went up to Belvedere Point, which gave us a panoramic view of the north and northwest shores and both bays. We took a tour of an agricultural school and learned quite a bit about all vegetation on the island. We stopped for lunch in Maharepa and did some shopping. We finished the circumnavigation of the island around 4 o’clock and turned in the scooter.

Horizons asked us to join them, along with Prairie Oyster, for appetizers at 5:30, after which we all took our dinghies and went to Restaurant Te Honuiti. The restaurant is right on the bay, so we pulled up in our dinghies and tied off at the steps. The people in the restaurant were watching us with great interest, and a few stopped us to ask questions. One couple from California, who were on their honeymoon, spoke with us for several minutes, and Steve asked them if they would like to come out to the boat the next day. Unfortunately, they were leaving for Bora-Bora in the morning. We enjoyed a delicious prime rib dinner, and when we all went down the steps to leave, several diners came to the rail to watch us. It was great fun.

We plan to be here for another day or two. We want to move over to Opunohu Bay is just a few miles west of us, and we would like to spend two days there before heading to Huahini. We are keeping an eye on the weather because a front is supposed to move through in the next few days, but we are very well protected back in these bays. We are experiencing 25-knot winds with gusts up to 37 knots today. Everyone is staying with their boats today to keep an eye on their anchors as a few boats have begun to drag. So far we are holding just fine.

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