Thursday, July 9, 2015

Raiatea and Tahaa, 4th of July and all that....

Hello Everyone,

I know it has been awhile since I last posted.  We are tied up to a mooring ball outside of Uturoa, Raiatea.  I hope you all enjoyed your 4th of July weekend.  We have left Huahine after enjoying an amazing week of sunny skies, clear waters, amazing sea life, and wonderful beaches...... and now we have been puttering around Raiatea and Tahaa for the last week.  Our first week here we went to Raiatea.  We have been organizing a boat haul out with the boat yard, visa extensions in order to stay and also trying to get all of the school work finalized and turned in.  To say the least we have been crazy busy and everything always seems to take longer with more frustrations than expected to get anything done.  Not to mention the weather system that has been hanging over us for a week now and is suppose to stay with us for at least another week.  

The kids from Shine and the Circus Tent in Huahine

Alina paddle boarding to shore on her own.. in a shirt and skirt mind you...

Raiatea hasn’t not been our favorite spot.  Granted it is amazingly beautiful just like the Marquesas with its deep lagoons, majestic mountains and an added bonus of a few motus that surround the serene lagoon.  With the squally weather hanging over us and all the issues that we have been having to deal with (especially the visa extensions) it has been a little bit of a downer... I think it is more of the mood we are in than anything else.  The weather to start with has been very limiting for us to be able to truly enjoy what the island has to offer.  There are quite a few things that you can do here but with the shear numbers we are and then you add 25 knot winds and rain on top of it... you don’t feel much like venturing to far from the boat.  When we first got here we did have a few amazing days of hanging out.... Blue skies, deep turquoise waters and tall shear rock walls lining the lagoons.  We haven’t seen much for seal life around Raiatea as of yet... but maybe we haven’t hit the right spots...  We have been able to go visit the sacred religious site, Motu Noa Noa beautiful waters but...(lots of mosquitos for us this time so we didn’t stay long), so we have filled our time finding things to do like, knot tying lessons for the little girls... Chris was having them race to tie knots behind their backs and now Amaia knows how to tie bowlane... We went all around Raiatea and then  decided to head up to Tahaa to go and see the sites on this island.  Raiatea and Tahaa are two islands connected inside the same reef... so you are able to sail around both of these islands without going outside the reef.  It is wonderful being inside the reef and having the waters still like a lake.  We have been grabbing the mooring balls as much as we can because most of the anchorages are either in deep lagoons (70 feet or more) or very shallow waters (we anchored with 1 and 1/2 feet under our keel) with coral bombs somewhat around us....  
Amaia Knot Tying

Motu Noa Noa

Sacred religious site

Alina's Selfie

We had a really great 4th of July in Tahaa.  There was an advertisement for a party on a deserted Motu in Tahaa.  We had passed by this motu and we know that it is on the Southeast side and with the miserable weather (coming from the south) that we have been having here we were surprised to know that they were still going to have it.  The party people had paid to fly in 4 DJays from Tahiti, fully stocked bar, and more sand was even brought in to make the motu pretty.  It is a beautiful motu with a wonderful reef all around, nice beach, great area for swimming, volleyball net was up... dance floor, stocked bar, security guard, and food flaming on the BBQ... (literally it caught fire and we thought for a sec that maybe the trees were going to go).   Our friends from Shine came over from Huahine that morning for the party and we all attended.  I think the only thing the people needed were more people.  There were probably 10 others on the island besides us and the people working the party.  It could have been an amazing set up... if the weather would have cooperated... we were literally in 25 knot winds with rain squalls coming down... I wasn’t sure how they kept power going but they managed.  After an hour or so the squall finally disappeared the sun came out, it was such a nice break to get out of the wet.  We sat on the beach chairs they had out... enjoyed our beer for an hour and then it was time to head back to the boat for a potluck dinner.  (and the squalls started up again)... Overall I am very thankful that we have our friends from Shine to help us keep our sanity and laughter through all this rain and wind, what they say about cruisers developing friendships for a lifetime is truly felt... I look forward to a life time of catching up with the Pelagics and the Shines and many more of our cruising families... 

Tahaa has some very special places... I especially loved the snorkel spot off of a some motus that has a shallow pass that runs through them.  This was a drift dive filled with so many fish you can’t even imagine.  I felt like I was in Finding Nemo.  All the fish were so friendly and curious about who was swimming in their pool.  A few of them even came up and nibbled on my swim shoes... (thanks Oma for leaving them).  It has been by far my favorite snorkel dive so far... minus the sharks, which I miss, but just spectacular. 

Thinking of you Kristie Darin.....

We have just received word this afternoon that we were granted a two week visa extension to get the boat maintenance done that needs doing before we leave.  So as of right now our check out day of French Polynesia is 7/22/15.  We are heading to Bora Bora for the weekend... I LOVE SAYING THAT BY THE WAY..... We will be there and then come back on Tuesday the 14th for our appointment with the boat yard on Wednesday.  

I hope everyone is doing well, staying healthy, hope you had a great 4th of July and hugs and love to everyone.


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