Nine people on Kenobi sailing to Moorea, the start of a great weekend! Maybe Kenobi hasn’t had this many people since the old days as a charter cat in the BVI’s. With us we had Julian, Jean-Ange (Ja), Bene, Timeri and Coco. We all had agreed to do an early 5AM start on saturday to get a whole day on Saturday. So, even though Friday nights party in Benes beach house and then on the boat got a bit late, Kenobi crew, Julian and Jean-Ange were on deck at 5. We motor out of Pointe Venus bay and set the gennaker in light winds as soon as the sun come up. This time with new rigging bought in Tahiti - new Wichard swivel snap shackle for the halyard (remember the old one broke during the Galapagos - Marquesas crossing), two new Antal Hook blocks for the sheets: friction rings and spectra - very cool gear. And long enough downhauls for the tack so that we now can gybe without taking the sail down. Turn on the new autopilot (!!!) and we’re off on a easy sail. Our guests start waking up and people are hanging in the cockpit, lounging in the trampolines or resting in the rooms. Fun to really be able to use all the space aboard.
Moorea is a stunningly beautiful island. Being close to Tahiti it is of course exploited for tourism but in the Society Islands that is not such a bad thing. It does not mean hotel complexes like in Gran Canaria; instead we have bungalows with coconut husk roofs stretching out on pillars along the shore in the turquoise shallows or tucked away in the dense foliage of the mountain sides. Having seen the true wilderness in the Marquesas and Tuamotus this is something new and interesting to see. It’s easy to see why the Society Islands are so popular among sailors - they provide a near perfect cruising experience. The whole of the island is surrounded by a barrier reef creating a sheltered lagoon on the inside where one can sail and find anchorage in white sand on the reef side, nothing but turquoise water all around.
We entered Passe Tareu into Papetoai bay, took a right and followed the very helpful channel markers ending in a small basin where we anchored among a handful other yachts. We spent the day mostly just chilling on the boat and snorkling around it. Some coral to see snorkeling but nothing special, one fun thing was the many stone tiki statues that were places all around us. Very weird. My best water experience that day was a SUP ride around the lagoon. When i paddled across a small beach on the island side some kids came swimming towards me yelling “stop! stop!”. I did and was soon boarded by six very happy and cheerful local kids. We spent a long time together floating around, me trying my best to speak french and they knew some phrases in english so I had to answer “how old are you?” about fifteen times. They wanted to know where I was from, about our trip with the boat and what I think of their island, “c’est un paradis?”. They were great.
For dinner we had fresh sausages, lentils, sallad and JA’s roasted uru (breadfruit). He cut a cross at the top of the fruit and put it right on the big stove burner and turned it until it was black on all sides. Then just peel of the burnt skin and eat the fruit meat, smoky, starchy, potato-like but with a texture and flavour of its own. The party ended with us all lounging in the trampolines watching the stars and listening to DJ Simons ambient electro music. It was a nice moment.
The next day after lunch we had to say goodbye to our friends that were going back to Tahiti with the ferry, it was Sunday and they all had work the next day. Work…imagine the horror! Luckily Bene was free to go along with us some more, great since she knows the islands and has family and friends everywhere.
We had one more item on the agenda for our Moorea visit - Stingray City. From our anchorage we could dinghy through the 1 m shallow channel and then just aim for the bunch of moored motor boats with tourists at the spot. This place is popular and really fun, you go in with a piece of fish hidden in your hand and the stingrays come at once. They completely surround you, swim up to your face and climb on your back! they have a soft skin and luckily no teeth. I fed them a couple peices of the goatfish JA had caught in the morning from my palm and sometimes they got hold of the thumb too, you had to watch out a bit.
After this exercise we all had an afternoon nap before leaving for Huahine in the evening, it lasted bit long, we woke up 5 minutes before sunset! We juped to action and just made it out of the anchorage while there was still light enough to see the shallows. Night sail to Huahine coming up.
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