Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Leaving French Polynesia for Now

We have been preparing ourselves and the boat for the end of sailing this season. We will return to the boat next May/June. Last weekend we went back to snorkel in Thai’s and today we hiked Mt. Temehani in Raiatea.

We rode our bikes 3 miles to the trailhead and hiked 1400 vertical feet to get a gorgeous view of the lagoon, mountain and surrounding islands.  You can see Bora Bora in the distance.

Spring flowers abound on this hike!

It’s definitely spring here as everything is in bloom!

The ubiquitous red hibiscus flower provides protection from "evil spirits" in French Polynesia. The lagoon makes a pretty impressive background for this gorgeous flower.

Gorgeous wild orchid

That's all for now...

First Mate Kate

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Two weeks in the Leeward Islands: Jerelyn’s Visit

We had an amazing two weeks with Jerelyn on Pangaea. Jerelyn and I have known each other for over 30 years and she has known Mike for almost 10 of those. We are besties from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
We visited 4 islands in two weeks: Raiatea, Huahine, Bora Bora and Taha’a.  Each island had its own special story, but here are the highlights:
We picked up Jerelyn in our dinghy from the airport. As we were heading in her flight flew right over us and she saw us!

We sailed from Raiatea after doing a fuel and provision stop in Uturoa. We arrived in Fare mid-afternoon after a bit of a sporty sail and took the dinghy into town for a visit to the museum at the La Pita Village Hotel. We stayed for sundowners and dinner. It was a gorgeous night!

From Fare we headed to Avea Bay to wait out some weather and for Mike to get in some kiteboarding.

We did some great snorkeling in Avea Bay and decided it should be renamed Anenome Bay because of the rich supply of anenomes and anenome fish!
We sailed back to Raiatea for the evening and then on to Bora Bora the next morning. We had an amazing downwind sail all the way there, and a little boost of extra wind from a squall at the end (without getting wet!).

We spent the first day in Vaitape and did some provisioning and exploring. The next day we sailed to the southeast side of the island and stayed there for two lovely days.

We had some great snorkeling here in Bora Bora, including a drift dive off the reef that left me a little scraped and bruised (got pummeled by a couple big waves). Ouch.
The next day we decided to head back to the other side of Bora Bora and were able to get a mooring outside of the famous Bloody Mary’s.

Since we were in the neighborhood, we thought we ought to go for happy hour and dinner at Bloody Mary’s.

After a day of biking and exploring the shops in Bora Bora, we headed to Taha’a.

Every trip we take we buy matching souvenirs. This trip was a silk wrap with a Tahitian pearl from Tahia. The color is lagoon and very true to its name.

Jerelyn and I were both Hoofers at UW-Madison. Here we are showing our Badger pride with the Hoofers burgee.
Once again, we had a great sail! What made today special was a whale show just outside the pass. There were two sets of mama and calf humpbacks delighting the tourist boats. We saw the second set which was actually a mama and twins! The mama was in great spirits as we were treated to 6 breaches, a fin slap and a tail slap. It was amazing. No footage, sorry. No one dared to leave the experience to get a camera.

We arrived in Taha’a just before sunset. We sat down for a sundowner and out of the corner of my eye I saw something in the water right next to the boat. It was two manta rays! Minutes later we were visited by a hawksbill turtle! Very cool.

I woke up in the middle of the night and walked outside. The sky was clear with radiant stars and within minutes I had saw 4 shooting stars. We had some Luci lights on and I looked out in the water on the port side of the boat and the Manta Rays were swimming in th light right next to the boat. I was mesmerized by their dance. What a gift!
The next morning we did a snorkel of the coral gardens.

The gardens were beautiful! It was like snorkeling in an aquarium! Jerelyn saw an orange and brown octopus!
We set sail mid-day back to Raiatea. We had dinner reservations at the Raiatea Lodge with Kate and Alan (Itagime).
We took the dingy to dinner just in time for a spectacular sunset complete with dolphins swimming in the bay!

We returned Jerelyn to the Raiatea Airport in the dinghy for a full circle departure back to Papeete. We miss her already!
What a fabulous two weeks! Thank you, my friend!
First Mate Kate

Friday, September 28, 2018

Toau, Tuamotus

We sailed to Toau after spending a week or so in Fakarava. We needed a protected place to spend an upcoming Maramoo wind event and we wanted to see a new place.

It turned out to be a perfect place! Gorgeous and plenty of sandy beaches to walk and from which to kite.

Our friends Kate and Alan on Itajime joined us in Toau. We had a fun time exploring together!
 On one of our hikes we discovered that there were pigs on the island so we saved all of our organic scraps and brought them to the pigs on the beach. They were very happy to see us!

Mike got some kiting in, although he got a bit tossed around in the strong wind gusts.

We did have a break from the wind and were able to do some paddling.

Fun was had by all!
First Mate Kate

Monday, August 20, 2018

Fun in Fakarava: Kathy’s Visit 

My dear friend Kathy a.k.a. Mamma Goddess came to French Polynesia for a whirlwind visit! She flew into Fakarava and the adventure began.

We started out in Pakakota after a pickup from the airport from Matthieu from Pakakota Yacht Services and a drink at La Paillote.

We watched a gorgeous sunset from here.

After a stunning sunrise we sailed to the south pass. We got in a quick snorkel in the anchorage and took a walk on the beach.

We decided to go to Hirifa because the weather was cloudy and not ideal for diving the pass. We got there in time to go for a hike and have a margarita on the beach at sunset, complete with beach puppies !

The south pass of Fakarava was next on the agenda, with a drift dive or two in mind. The weather ended up cooperating beautifully; we had two stellar days to dive the pass and adjacent coral gardens. Kathy seemed pretty uneasy about diving with blacktop reef sharks but she did it!

We ended the week back at the north end of Fakarava. We had a great dinner at Chez Elda and then took Kathy to the airport in the dinghy the next day.

Thank you, Kathy! We had so much fun!
First Mate Kate