We motored to Opunopu Bay on the north side of Mo’orea. Beautiful anchorage, shallow sandy bottom with no coral heads (all positive qualities), clear water, beautiful views, a handful of other boats nearby. We met Len and Erin on Maestro, and their delightful 10-month old Trenton. When they came to visit I wasn’t sure Hallie was going to let Trenton leave.
BPOers Ransom and Libby came to the same anchorage. There were several birthdays to be celebrated — we had a good time all squeezed into Libby’s cockpit for beer and cake. Unfortunately Sue had been bitten by a dog earlier in the day. They took her to a doctor who noticed from her ID that it was her birthday, and he wrote a prescription for pain killers and champagne! She was in good spirits for her party.
Next day Hallie and I took the dinghy across the bay to where you can “swim with the rays.” It’s a shallow area with stingrays, and tour operators feed them so they have effectively become tame. If you hold food in your hands they will swim up on your chest to try to get it. Even without food you can rub their bellies as they swim by. All the while with sharks circling — but they are black tip sharks, nothing to worry about, they say. Hallie was proud of herself for getting in the water and joining the fun.
Then we went ashore at the Intercontinental Resort, and had an expensive (but quite good) lunch. The resort has three dolphins in captivity and, supposedly for educational/fundraising purposes they do a dolphin show and you can swim with the dolphins. We had mixed feelings about this, but we stayed to watch the dolphin show. Very impressive (but I can’t upload the video of them doing amazing somersaults).
Next day we dinghied over to Cooks Bay, found a gas station for dinghy gas, and were thwarted in our attempt to buy groceries due to it’s being a holiday. (It seems that there is a holiday about once a week!) We went back again the next day for the groceries, plus Hallie bought a Tahitian pareo.
Back at the boat we were below putting the groceries away when Terry from Libby called to us from his dinghy, saying that our anchor was dragging! This was an understatement — we were moving rapidly backwards toward a deep narrow channel, and in another 50 yards we would be across it and on the reef! We started an engine and reset the anchor uneventfully. But we were incredibly lucky that we were back on the boat and Terry was paying attention!! We’d never had our anchor drag before, and it left us a little shaken, uncertain about what we can/can’t count on.
We planned to leave the next day, and sail/motor through the night to go to Huahine, about 80 miles away. But first Hallie and I went snorkeling at the “underwater tikis.” This is a creation by an artist who carved several stone tikis and then placed them in the lagoon, in about 8 feet of water. Interesting way to view an artist’s work…
We got underway just as it was starting to get dark, plus it started to rain, plus it was more bumpy than we had expected. Hallie had a tough night… But things looked better in the morning.
We anchored in a very protected channel between Huahine Iti and a barrier island. And stayed for three nights. The area had no store, no restaurant, and no wifi — we were roughing it!
The anchorage had crystal clear water.
The wind was blowing one way and the current was running the other. The boat couldn’t decide which to lie to, so we turned this way and that. At one point we noticed that our anchor chain was wrapped around our anchor. We realized that this was how/why we dragged in the previous anchorage. Our primary anchor has a ‘float’ that helps it orient properly on the bottom. But the float sticks up and can foul the chain if the boat drifts in circles. At least we now know what to watch out for.
We were visited by “Paul,” a local who apparently reaches out to all yachts that come to his lagoon. Paul is deaf, and communication is very challenging, but he has a book with entries by hundreds of sailors, to which we added ours. He left us with coconuts and a breadfruit, and the next day dropped off fish as well. We made a local cuisine dinner of fish and coconut rice and breadfruit. I over cooked the breadfruit, but the rest was very good.
Next day we went exploring by dinghy, and visited a small pearl farm. The owner lives on the edge of the lagoon, had a pottery studio in a building out on the reef (he can walk to it on the reef), and the pearl farm (and pottery) store is a short boat hop further into the lagoon. Pretty cool arrangement.
We snorkeled at a “coral garden” (we rated it a solid B), and we decided we were done with the east side of Huahine. Today we came around to the west side, where we picked up a mooring off the town of Fare. Here they have a large supermarket, restaurants, and…wait for it…wifi! It’s not the prettiest place around, but I’m happy to be able to do a blog post and buy ice cream!