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Sailing the Society Islands
- Tahiti, Moorea, Huahine, Raiatea, Tahaa, Bora Bora -

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Click Here for Chrissi's TEXT about the Society Islands

It's about a 250 mile trip from Ahe to Tahiti - as the crow flies. It's southwest to Tahiti, so you would expect it to be a nice off-the-wind sail, expecting the normal southeast tradewinds to usher you quickly and easily into the embrace of Tahiti's fine harbors. But if you seriously entertained this expectation, it would reflect your ignorance of the South Pacific where the "Tradewinds" are not so reliable and where the weather goes through incessant evolutions due to the constant passage to your south of High and Low pressure centers.

That said, we ended up having to beat and tack into the wind for about half our trip from Ahe. But it was well worth it, because Tahiti is spectacular!

Approaching Tahiti.
What mysterious wonders lie hidden in that amazing valley in the center of the photo?

Most boats no longer tie stern-to in Papeete in the long-accostomed pattern here.
Crime in the downtown area has led to too many incidents of theft from the boats.
So nowadays most boats go west from Papeete, around past the airport, and anchor
in the Maeva Beach area or across from the Taina Marina: there are magnificent views
of Moorea and the water is crystalline clear. This area also has the wonderful advantage
of having a huge French hypermarket - the Carrefour. And it's just a short bus ride into the city.

Typical of the South Pacific, the anchorages tend to be either too deep or too shallow,
but there are some good sand patches on the scenic edge of the reef -
just don't trust your anchor in them if the wind comes up strong!

In Tahiti's downtown Papeete market:

She likes them BIG! But is it the breadfruit or Jack's fruit she's smiling about?

It gets COLD in Tahiti at night! Be sure to have your blankets available.
It's only 17 1/2 degrees south of the equator, but there's nothing between
you and the antarctic! The South Pacific is much colder than we
Caribbean sailors had expected.

The air in Tahiti can be so fragrant with flowers it almost hurts!
The island is high, and in the evenings the cooling air descends the
slopes bearing the scent of millions of flowers. Unique and unbelievable,
we've never enountered anything like it anywhere.
It's a wonderful place, even if it is partially in the thoes of development.


Here's a racing canoe in the sparkling waters off the Taina Marina.

You see beautiful outrigger canoes everywhere in French Polynesia.
Racing them is very popular and people take great pride in them.


Moorea is just a scant 10 miles or so West of Tahiti.
It's a beautiful view from the Taina anchorage and it makes for
some amazing sunsets as the sun descends through Moorea's mountains!


Chrissi doing her thing in Moorea's spectacular Opunohu Bay.


Up in the lesser known and lovely island of Huahine, this typical workaday canoe
is less elegant than the racing versions. But, unlike their elegan breathern,
these working outrigger canoes can be easily home-made from locally accessed woods.
This one rests beside the owner's home, waiting to go back to work.


Onward from Huahine, we arrived off the boatyard in northwestern Raiatea.
A number of multihulls call this area home, including this 45 foot Newick trimaran.
Racing canoes again: single place and six place outrigger canoes like this one
can be seen practicing hard in all the waters of Polynesia at the end of every day.
You can just make out Bora Bora in the distance to the right of the trimaran.
That sky shows the first signs of the South Pacific Convergence Zone (SPCZ).
As is typical of these zones, the SPCZ brought rain for days after this picture was taken.


Traditional manner of "dress" in French Polynesia consisted of little more than tattoos.
Tattooing like this seen in Huahine evolved to a quite high art.


More outrigger canoe racing - this time in Bora Bora.


Click Here for Chrissi's TEXT about the Society Islands



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