A walk in the wild to Maeva.

This is probably not the nicest way to start a post today but it is nonetheless part of the daily life of cruising… This week, kids have been playing in the dinghies tied to the dock while trying to start the engine after school but worst of all when confronted they gave us the finger! Petty theft has been reported here in the last few months on various cruisers’ “radio cocotier”, so we felt that this warranted us a visit to the police and tourism office thus hoping to stop it from escalading too quickly.

We then left the village of Fare for a nice and easy walk to Maeva one of the best archeological sites. It is an impressive ensemble of old terraces (Maraes) made of stones for the community of the valley few hundred’s year back. An effort has been made to valorise them, and regularly locals clean and to keep the forest from growing too fast. We tried our best to capture the essence of the site but truly paved stones are never very photogenic at the best of time.

We had a wonderful picnic whilst enjoying an incredible vista for lunch. Do you think the ancestors thought that one day tourism would be coming to their place of ritual and indulge in the view?

The old cemetery trees are still standing.

boat wood

From tree to boat, no mistake here,

The sun angle was not the best but the color was magical this time of the day. In the Lagoon, a pearl farm is situated on that side of the lagoon.

Laziness doesn’t pay even in paradise…

Our last day in Moorea was very relaxing with barely any wind and beautiful sunshine which gave us the opportunity to sit back and enjoy the scenery while enjoying last moments with cruiser friends. Because we have been “creamed” on our last passages we were watching the weather forecast closely also in between islands around here wave actions can be pretty unpleasant if not nasty. The report announced that the winds were not going to “mollir” (reduce) overnight and would mostly get stronger in the next few days, so in a few minutes Letitgo put on her passage outfit and was ready for a 90 mile trip, except for our double safety line for the dinghy… Forgetful or lazy?

And this is when the laziness part comes to bite you back at the worst of time. Interestingly enough we just had few conversations with seasoned cruisers on the subject this week but apparently Letitgo’s crew will need another 20K miles to get it or maybe a catastrophic failure like we just experienced… Only time will tell! Before anything though let share us share with you some pretty fantastic scenery shots of Moorea which has not disappointed us.

Bye Bye Moorea looking forward to see you again soon.

Benjamin decided that “Poisson cru” was on the menu sushis are overrated now! He then took over the” lait de coco” duty the traditional way.

Now, time for story telling? Well Emma this will not disappoint you the least indeed it was one of those true grand family moment!

3.00am middle of the night with a full moon, the wind is at 18 knots from our quarter stern and Letitgo is doing an average 7 knots in a rather nasty swell. While Benjamin weaseled his way back to bed and only 15 minutes in his relaxed time the dinghy fell in the water from one side making one of those horrible noises and ensuing huge screams for “all hands on deck!” No time for foggy brain there, it’s a matter of get up and rush to help. It all accelerated when we were about to lose our engine and literally shear our very valuable little car. So now picture this: Laurent is in equilibria on the sugar scoop half surfing and trying to pull on the first line of defence to no avail. Benjamin is now screaming for his Dad to wear a life jacket with the tether on and Valerie running up front to get us larger lines, of course Letitgo is still doing 7 knots with the dinghy behaving like a bronco at a rodeo. After a few tensed minutes, some good team work and quick thinking, we were able to get it back on the davit. Phew! A catastrophe averted, thankfully we still have a dinghy and the engine is running fine… Now to all concerned: lesson learned under no circumstances can we be complacent even for a short crossing.

To our defence though, we knew the “poulis” were getting old and we tried to replace them while in Papeete but couldn’t so they have already been ordered and should arrive in November. We usually have a third line to prevent such incident, but truly it was only a small passage and the seas were supposed to be calm, well one can always hope right? In the end laziness doesn’t pay on land and it is even worse when you live on a boat.


A true a la Mac Giver moment!

This is the repair to hold us until the new ones arrive. Let me assure you there will be a third line every time we are at sea from now on…

Emma this one is just for you:

The boys are surfing the pass today like maniacs in between those barrels. And it is quite impressive when you are not in front of it and just see a rolling line where you are supposed to enter…

Visiting the sting rays.

One of the most famous attractions in Moorea is visiting the sting rays in their environment while snorkeling, as you know with the aerial view the site is not too far. We advise you to arrive before 9.00am which will avoid you to deal with the rush of 10.30, there are floating bus barges that deliver forty Susy: “I am not doing this are you crazy!” and Bobby: “I need another cold beer because it’s included” type while the tour organizers throw scraps of food in the water as if it was a fishing competition.

Just remember to bring a few fish scraps and let the magic happen, those buggers (the rays) know exactly what they are doing but have a small attention span and as “gold diggers” they lose interest quickly after a few cuddles if you don’t have anything more for them. Nonetheless the softness of their belly was amazing; they bite you (gently) if you hold the food wrong way and finally hearing Valerie scream as they brush themselves against her was just priceless.


Kiss me baby, told you they are gold digger.









Of course they are here too!

Just in case something falls off your hands, take our word for it when you feed the rays they come nice and close and then circle.



 


Feeding frenzy they are getting combative.



Benjamin learnt it the hard way.

Collision avoided or how to spend your day…

We had new neighbours this morning when we woke up, the bigger type, but the excitement and entertainment for the day came from another source. You see the wind has been strong and coming right down the bay. All night long, we got gusts in the 30-40 knots, but this didn’t stop the three “mousquetaires” from Tienderhiew to go for a leisure walk. Of course because her owners had left her at 8.30am Tienderhew started to drag and became in direct collision course with a 26ft first Beneteau anchored nearby. The next seven hours were a battle to avoid them beaching on the shoal and damaging the neighbour boat. Luckily, Tienderhew had received a fresh shipment of chocolate, rye bread and sausages hence we still managed to have a lovely lunch albeit all the wind! This should fill our karma sailing box, as we barely got a thank you.

Finally the wild wind abated and we moved next door to Opunohu bay. The boys had a quick dive to ensure the water was still crystal clear as there is no river coming down the valley and we enjoyed a calm night at anchor.


083115_0416_Collisionav6.jpg

083115_0416_Collisionav12.jpg

Corals are tagged and here are some new to us variety of fishes,

With beautiful bright colors.

083115_0416_Collisionav8.jpg

083115_0416_Collisionav9.jpg

083115_0416_Collisionav11.jpg

083115_0416_Collisionav7.jpg

Happy birthday to Letitgo: Third Year end cruising.


Morning of our third year celebration is not as picturesque though impressive with the winds!

We are the 28th of August which means the celebration of one more year on the water, passing the three years cap is a significant one in any relationship. Even when the gusts are mean, you have to pinch and remind yourself that you are in Moorea doing something magical after all. We have seen 40 knots if not a little more in the last three days, but thanks to mud and sand we are snugged in.

As tradition dictates here are the summaries of our expenses. You will find the last three years for comparison, the total amounts are similar around $22K average. The difference is mostly how it is spent and on what month, it seems. We are keeping Letitgo in tip top shape and don’t spare any expense on it. The insurance is agreed value and fairly expensive as Letitgo is still big asset for us: our home!

 

2014-2015 Central South and French Polynesia (our exceptional road trip in Peru Bolivia was not included in the running total but the Ecuador one was)

 

Food total

Eat-In

Eat-out

Docking

Fuel/Prop.

Maintenance

Transport

Entrance fee

Health

Comm.

Insurance

Perso. Items

Official

 

29%

28%

1%

3%

2%

16%

1%

0%

3%

2%

26%

18%

1%

     

Tacos we miss you

 

Ave engine time 3.07%

All in the last month with a new water heater and spare parts

       

Pacific Crossing

Ecuador Trip

 

2013-2014 Mexico and Central/south America

 

Food Total

Eat-In

Eat-out

Docking

Fuel/Prop.

Maintenance

Transport

Entrance fee

Health

Comm.

Insurance

Perso. Items

Official

44%

21%

13%

4%

6%

28%

3%

1%

1%

3%

13%

6%

1%

       

Ave engine time 13.12%

Panama haul out, purchase of a new 2HP outboard engine

             

2012-2013 US West coast and Mexico

 

Eat-In

Eat-out

Docking

Fuel/Prop.

Maintenance

Transport

Entrance fee

Health

Comm.

Insurance

Perso. Items

Official

42%

31%

11%

6%

7%

14%

3%

1%

1%

1%

12%

10%

1%

       

Ave engine time 14.3%

Haul out and Prop

             

Fruit juice of Polynesia

After walking passed all the pineapple plantations yesterday, we were curious as to where they were all processed. The Rotui’s juice factory is located at the end of Cook’s bay where you can visit and educate yourself on the whole process. They are not only producing juice but also syrups, jams, liquor and wine. It is a rather small building but fully equipped with modern machines/centrifuges to achieve and extract a product of quality. Unfortunately there was a funeral service for one the employee and all his colleagues went to church, we were still able to see and understand how the assembly was functioning albeit a full section closed. High season for juice extraction of the pineapple is from Mid-October to December, and fortunately for the second round we will visit again and enjoy the spectacle. For those interested visits are opened from Tuesday to Thursday from 9:00am and 2:00pm, there is a tour for 100XPF with a tasting at the end. It was a great way to spend a day that was not so sunny.



Here is the assembly line of flavoured water as they call it, which was running. Flavoured water: Meaning water sugar and a little bit of juice, agua fresca perhaps?

They have three levels of quality of juice they sell.


There is also a sweet wine, which was a wonderful surprise and a sparkling one that we didn’t try both made from pineapple.

Moorea love at first sight.

We are in Paopao’s bay, needless to say it is gorgeous here and the surroundings are even more astonishing, for our second day in Cook’s Bay we let the weather decides for us. And morning brought us a beautiful day with clear blue sky it was then time to put on our walking shoes on “en route” for the Pineapples’ road. Which is located opposite of the “Super U” follow the sign “la route des ananas” (pineapple’s road) the fire station will be to your right. You will cross fields of pineapples plantations and see the various stages of growth, keep on that route until it becomes a dirt road. After one hour you will reach the main intersection from the other bay, turn left and climb another hour and you are at the Belvedere. The lycee agricole offers you a chance to stop on the way for a fresh juice, just after the archeologic site awaits.

From the view point, cross the parking lot and take the left path toward the three pines. After 45 minutes you will be rewarded by the best picnic spot, now just come down from the front or back path and you will be back in town for 2:00pm fresh baguette will be ready at the boulangerie.

Sending love to those I love and miss so dearly

Des coeurs pour mon petit Coeur Emma

Pineapple plantation.

Cook’s bay with different lightings

High school phys ed in action Polynesian style.

Unfortunately you don’t hear him, but he must be exhausted at the end of the day from shouting…

Tiare delices

And greens!

Green galore onboard Letitgo

Almost there? Or so we thought…

The end is near, the supermarket Carrefour helped us refresh our stock and Letitgo is in an amazing shape. Better than it’s been in over two years, when our parts will arrive in November we will be 98% complete in our projects list. And this time around unexpectedly we even splurged for a new water heater, as it is not something you can bring in your luggage discreetly… With the isotherm 40 liters we shouldn’t run out of hot water, in any case it looks of a better quality than the Quick original equipment on Letitgo. It was still a pain to install and of course being a plumbing task it required the mandatory trip to the hardware store. If you ever do the change, we would advise to change the flexible connection automatically; it is not worth the trouble. Not that we had problem but it is a good idea to first link the cooling system and then test before filling, dumping the content of one of those in the bilge, is never a fun sport to clean…

For information, the chandlery around here rarely stocks anything in 110 volts (ours was a shipping mistake, lucky us) and also very little in 12 volts (French boats use 24 volts).


Note: there is an optic illusion; it actually doesn’t touch the isolator transformer. Undoubtedly someone will see it and question the wisdom!

Now our last crazy purchase? This one was not on our list but it became available to us out of nowhere, 300 feet of 3/8 BBB anchor in a fairly good shape at the right price. We had mentioned to a friend that we were thinking of changing ours next year and had just started to gather information. Truly another boat learnt the hard way that here you can only find 10mm chain (or bigger) and there is no gypsy for windlass in anything else than metric. Thus if you need to change your windlass, you will need to replace the chain as well! Hence this new chain was looking for a new owner, and after a quick visit to the boat we struck the deal in the afternoon.


In the morning we rafted up with no wind, which was an ideal condition to perform the transfer of 250 kg (500 lbs) of metal.

What did we do with our old chain?

Well it went with friends directly in their dinghy to a new home, a real chain feeding ladder at its best.

No photo of that one sorry, we were a little busy!


So, for our reference this is a 300 ft 3/8 BBB. Our chain didn’t like our stay in Bahia de Caraquez: The twisting from the tides and the growth killed a 100 ft in the middle of it, making it jump in the windlass.

Raising the anchor became a rather painful experience which is not the best especially in the deep anchorage of the Society.


Beautiful PaoPao Bay in Moorea by the afternoon.



 

Moorea

You would think that being back in a big island and so close to Tahiti would make internet life easier but it in truth it doesn’t. It turns out the re-seller Hotspot-WDG hasn’t paid the shop owner where his antenna is located for a while and rightly this one decided to simply unplug the modem. As for cell phone services it shows 2G, and as soon as you start using it “Edge” is what you get. So our faithful Ham Radio will have to do the trick to bring you some news.

What is going on in our world? Last Sunday we left Papeete and honestly after three weeks time flew by but we got what we came for and more. After the exchange of chain maneuver we made our way to Moorea and are now anchored in Pao-Pao Bay or wrongly named Cook’s Bay. A beautiful island green with dramatic peaks and filled with legends; so far we have enjoyed nice long walks up the hills and more have been on the program but for this you will have to be patient to read the details we want to keep you alert after all!

These last few days, the wind has been piping at a rather impressive speed at time so we stay tucked in Paopao and wait until the wind dies down which should enable us to leave and anchor near the reef for some exploration.

What are we up to in Tahiti.

Weeks are passing by very quickly and thankfully our “to do list” is shrinking! We are doing our best to stay on task for two reasons: One to keep our budget in line and not start wondering in stores aisle after aisle to buy things we think we need when in fact we can do without… Secondly, to get out of here before we become too comfortable in the city and only to realize in two months that we haven’t visited the other islands. So far our shopping for Letitgo is done the rest will arrive from France in November with our visitors. Spare parts wise prices seem to be 2.5 to 3 times the price of US, when you can find it for example a pump sold for US$120 here it is $218, a water maker membrane US$197 here $470.

Our list of work is also dramatically reduced, making us feel good. Our technique is to have on the navigation table a constantly running “to do” list we have been keeping for the last year and it is paying off, but let’s get to the inevitable tale of the tinting film application.

Well apparently, we need a bit of spice in our lives and for that we have the perfect activity. We discovered after we purchased Letitgo that all her windows had tinted films applied; which in fact makes a huge difference in the cabin temperature and brightness indeed friends on another 380 had always their curtain closed. When we inquired we then realized how fortunate we had these in place. Fast forward 3 years and now the sun has taken its toll, pushing us to do something about it.

So, while in Panama we purchased some new tinted films but never had the “time”, or was it procrastination? Or was it simply to be honest that we had no desire to incur stress. Truly these things are notorious for being a total pain to apply properly and when in the last couple of weeks we had two windy days with nothing else on the list damned it… We knew we had to get down to business! Now with my level of patience, well known to be lower than one of a mouse with cheese in from of them, we have redone 85% of Letitgo panel of glass. The atmosphere was tensed but we all have a team building exercise once in a while and this one doesn’t require fancy coach or guru… Someone did a lot of “zen breathing”…


While others are perfecting their knowledge in getting to know their collection better and we will take this opportunity to apologize to all pearl shop owners as our son has questioned them for hours about every detail and nuance of the finish product. Coming back with stories such as a $175 000 necklace that took twelve years to finish in order to have identical color and luster of pearl.