Welcome to the Maunie of Ardwall blog

This is the blog of Maunie of Ardwall charting our adventures as we sail around the world. The boat is now on the east coast of Australia while we spend a summer back in Britain.

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Huahine surfin'

We’ve had two nights anchored at the very southern end of the island of Huahine, protected from the big southerly swell by a large encircling reef onto which the surf crashes spectacularly. We were in Avea Bay and at 16 degrees, 49 minutes south, 150 degrees 59 minutes – if you get a chance, have a look on Google Earth to get an idea of the place.

We motored down from the village of Fare at the north-west of the island, following a well-marked channel inside the reef to find this nicely sheltered and picturesque anchorages. After a very good lunch ashore yesterday we took the dinghy, along with Peter & Heidi, right round the southern tip of the island along a very shallow dinghy pass over the coral for a coffee stop on the white coral beach of a small island. 




On the way back we were treated to the sight of a couple of big canoes racing past us and the surf rolling onto the reef.





This morning we headed back up to Fare to restock on fresh food from the very good Chinese-run supermarket; we’ll stay here tonight then head across the the neighbouring, larger island of Raiatea tomorrow. Stormvogel have already left to go across there today but we’ll no doubt catch up with them again inn one of the islands in the next week or two.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

The Law of Sod - or not?

We started the day of departure from Cook's Bay with a long list of things to do, which is the norm before setting sail (and it always takes longer than you think to get the boat ready for sea). It soon became clear that we were not alone in grasping the weather window (between the heavy winds of the past week and some big southerly swells forecast for Sunday) and moving on as three other yachts from our morning net were preparing to go as well as our sailing partner, Stormvogel.

So, back to the list! The generator was running to ensure everything was powered up for an overnight sail (the sun wasn't shining brightly enough to rely on the solar panels for once) and Graham headed ashore to top up the water supplies (remember, we're still minus a water maker). As he started the dinghy, the generator changed its tune and Graham spotted that there was no cooling water through-put at the exhaust. On board, Dianne switched it off immediately, hoping we'd caught it in time before the engine overheated. The list had another item added, and not a small one: to mend the generator. Graham found the problem - a faulty and damaged impeller where the rubber vanes were intact but the central boss had become detached so was spinning without turning them. 

The law of sod started to intervene when checking the two spare impellers  which came with boat when we bought her, they were the wrong size. Were we to be faced with a ferry trip across to Papeete to search around the chandleries? First a VHF call around the boats in the anchorage to see if anybody by the remotest chance had a spare to fit. Other skippers kindly offered to have a look but we weren't holding out much hope. Within ten minutes, Graham returned with a spare from Chris on Yindee Plus and it  was, miraculously, the right size. Then we had a call from Andrew on Sirius who'd found one that didn't fit his generator but was perfect for ours. We thought all our Christmases had come at once (you should remember that such spares take on a new value out here!) So Graham got the generator working again with the added bonus of being able to give our wrongly-sized spares to Sirius as they fit their generator. So maybe it wasn't time for the law of sod after all!

We completed our list of preparations, including wolfing down a huge lasagne followed by fruit salad, and were ready to set sail along with Stormvogel.

On the way out of the lovely anchorage, we chatted to Matt & Charlotte on Gallinago who had just arrived and thanked Patrick & Amanda on Egret for hosting sun-downers the previous evening, then headed out through the reef. Here we spotted Arii on his Va'a (a racing outrigger canoe and this one was particularly smart). As we motored past, he paddled immediately to sit in our wake and then effortlessly paddled to remain there, staying with our 6.5 knots. 



We think he would have followed us all the way to Huahine if given the chance but the offer of our boat card with our blog details on it and the promise of appearing on the website brought him alongside. So we hope you like the photos, Arii!

After that we left Moorea behind us and sailed off into the night towards Huahine, some 90 miles away.


 It was quite a rolly passage at times but we made good speed in a steady Force 5,  arriving off the island as the sun rose over the hills and dropping the anchor at 9 am this morning. We may need a little sleep before going ashore to explore.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Weather-bound and The Heaviest Tandem in the World

Normally when we're anchored, riding out bad weather, it's a pretty uncomfortable affair. Not here in Cook's Bay, though; the water has been mirror calm for most of the time so that it's been very hard to believe that out at sea things are anything but calm. 



Looking out to the reef, though, we can see the surf crashing and we've been hearing from other boats on the radio net who are not having such a relaxing time of things. A few are still out in the Tuamotus atolls and are pinned into relatively uncomfortable anchorages with reef passes too rough to allow them to leave (one, Voyager, has even been unable to leave the boat for several days as the waves are too bad to make a safe trip ashore in the dinghy) so are just acheing for a change in the conditions. Another boat, Mahili, got fed up with waiting in Bora Bora to the north west of us and set off for Suwarrow, a small atoll about 3 days' sail away; they reported waves of 4.5m and winds of 30-35 knots yesterday morning. Not nice.  

So, all in all, we're very happy to be here and we've been enjoying the chance to explore the island some more. We visited a fruit juice factory which takes pineapples and grapefruit from about 60 farmers on the island (plus mangoes, passion fruit and papaya from surrounding islands); it processes about 45,000 litres per day and lays on good tours for the visiting tourists. It reminded us of Yeo Valley's Cannington dairy in its earlier days; there are just two tetrapak filling lines and the place employs 47 people. During our visit they weren't processing fruit but the filling line was running.




Actually as we walked in to the plant to look down from an overhead walkway the First Law of Sod came into play as the entire filling line was stopped due to a problem with the automatic box-filler;  a hapless engineer was trying to fix it under the gaze of 30 visitors whilst the tour guide padded and filled like a royal correspondent standing outside a maternity wing.Eventually it all restarted and we had a good tasting session at the end of their alcoholic fruit punches.

Yesterday we decided that we were ready to face some more cycling and hired a tandem to cycle the coast road all the way around the island. The bike was, officially, The Heaviest Tandem in the World (we're sure that its steel frame was inspired by the Forth Railway Bridge and it probably had extra lead ballast in it for additional stability); it also had wide mountain bike tyres which gave it the rolling resistance of a lorry. 



Anyway we set off clockwise around the island, stopped for an excellent shared pizza on the east coast and continued to complete the circumnavigation. Luckily there were no big hills on the 70km cycle (which included a detour to drop off and collect laundry at the beginning and end) but the bike took about three times the effort of our own Dawes tandem at home so we were pretty exhausted at the end. It was great to do the trip, though, as the southern end of the island is particularly pretty and relatively deserted. As ever, the churches we saw were all incredibly well kept.

 Looking towards Tahiti



Today is a bit of a recovery day, with a few trips ashore to collect water in jerry cans and some boat maintenance jobs plus some swimming. The wind is forecast to reduce tomorrow but we'll watch the swell carefully as it'll take a day or two to calm down after the wind has reduced. All being well we'll be away on Saturday or Sunday.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

It's a boy! (apparently)

World news does reach us here in Moorea, though sometimes in a curious manner. Take, for instance, the news of the Royal Baby (we gather it might have merited a couple of minutes of air time on the news yesterday). A British boat,  Yindee Plus, 'dressed overall' (signals flags, in a strictly prescribed order, were hoisted up the fore and back stays – we did, of course, dress Maunie overall on Sunday for Bastille Day) prompting an Australian boat Tutto Bene to call up on the VHF to ask what the occasion was. Chris on Yindee Plus relayed the happy news of the new baby. We then received an email from one of Di's Monday Night yoga class, Wendy, whose description of the media frenzy surrounding the whole event had us chuckling. We hope she won't mind if we quote some of her email to share with our blog readers:
 
"Yesterday morning, we were greeted with the news that Catherine had gone into labour at 6am. Of course labour is a rather lengthy affair but the imminent arrival of the third in line to the throne is not only national news but is, apparently, also international news. There must have been 1000 reporters, photographers and camera men/women/operatives/executives (whatever they call themselves) camped outside the entrance to the private wing of St Mary's hospital. They were there ALL DAY, repeatedly having to fill up air time with the news that Kate was in labour. They repeated themselves endlessly, interviewed each other, interviewed random tourists, interviewed anyone who would say anything as long as it filled up air time. It kept getting funnier as the day went on......
 
...Then, at about 8.30pm (yes, they kept the press waiting for 4 hours), the announcement was made via social media and e-mail. A few minutes later, the press secretary appeared, ran down the steps to give the notice to someone in a waiting car, then ran back inside again. Words such as 'drama' and
'theatre' could not be used in this context.....
 
.... After The Announcement, the reporters really started scraping the barrel. The 'What if it's a girl?' rug had been pulled from under them. They reported how other reporters were reporting the news, they went back to interviewing each other, they went to Buckleberry to get the reaction of the
locals from the place where Catherine grew up - which inevitably involved going to the pub. We were also treated to some serious ham acting by a woman who had probably never met Catherine (but possibly has a neighbour who knows someone whose daughter went to the same school). My favourite of the day was the news that the bell ringers in Buckleberry had planned to ring a peal but one of them was on holiday so they didn't."
 
We're just sorry that we don't have satellite TV aboard Maunie (as apparently UK  Gold was showing The Magnificent Seven yesterday).

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Pondering the weather forecasts

We remain in Cook’s Bay as we study the weather charts for the week ahead; those reading this in the UK are probably doing the same, wondering when the heat-wave will end! Here the conditions here changed markedly yesterday, starting with a brilliant rainbow across the anchorage and some persistent rain in the afternoon.



The wind increased dramatically, with big gusts rolling down the valley at the head of the bay, so we decided to set a second anchor, for peace of mind. This was probably totally unnecessary as our main anchor is very good at keeping a grip on things but it was an excellent practice exercise for really bad weather and it also made Graham study the state of the second anchor’s rope and chain and replace the rather chafed splice between the two. As it happened last night was very gusty so the extra anchor stopped us worrying, though neither of us slept well due to the noise of the wind in the rigging.

Anchor deployment completed, our neighbours on a Brixham yacht Yindee Plus we about to come aboard for early evening drinks when we got a call from Stormvogel approaching the entrance to the reef pass. They’d had a very brisk sail across from Papeete, in up to 35 knots of wind, so had decided to come back here rather than risking an overnight passage to one of the islands to the north west. Just at a crucial moment, the ‘engine overheating’ alarm sounded and they turned away from the pass, making 4.5 knots under bare mast alone. Peter and Graham had a quick comparison of ideas over the radio and then we stood by, ready to motor out with a tow rope if necessary, whilst Peter undertook the fiddly job of replacing the water pump impeller (which had been renewed as part of the engine service only a week before). He discovered the old one had disintegrated, having somehow been starved of water supply, but we were all relieved when the new impeller restored the engine and Stormvogel anchored near us just as darkness fell. This morning Graham helped Peter and Heidi with the engine; the bits of broken rubber impeller were still somewhere in its cooling circuit and had to be removed so they used Maunie’s dinghy pump to push water in the reverse direction round the circuit to try to flush it clean. All were very happy when the bits were neatly caught in a sieve by Peter as they flowed out of the oil cooler and the engine is now back together and running.

Today the wind has dropped again but the outlook for the next week doesn’t look too friendly – the synoptic chart shows stronger winds with some rain and early next week looks particularly rough:


This is the chart for Tuesday (you can click on it to make it larger) and we are at around 17 degrees south, 150 degrees west. The yellow patch approaching from the south west is making us a bit twitchy.

We are therefore in something of a quandary as the anchorages in the next islands we want to visit, Huahine and Raiatea, are deep and not brilliantly sheltered. So at the moment it looks as though we’ll hunker down here for a few more days, knowing that the anchorage is secure and that there are things to do ashore, rather than risk some uncertain nights of anchoring in unknown territory.



Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Exploring Moorea and meeting Pixel

We are really enjoying our mini-break in Moorea; the anchorage has remained calm and we've had time to explore, both along the coast and up into the mountains, and to meet some new people.

Not all of the exploration has been entirely successful, mind you. We went by dinghy along the coast (but remaining inside the reef) on Sunday morning to see if the Bastille Day Tahitian Events advertised at the Hilton Resort lived up to their advertising. They didn't -  the staff clearly hadn't been briefed that the event was open to non-inmates so we got a rather icy reception at the beach-side cafe and a security guide ostentatiously followed us as we left the dinghies on the beach and told us we'd have to move them (all beaches in Moorea are public so he had no legal right to ask us to do so). We voted with out outboard motors and left but got soaked as we headed back into a choppy inter-reef channel so all in all it wasn't a great success. Anyway if you're thinking of booking a holiday at the Hilton Moorea Resort, don't.

Stormvogel headed back to Paeete on Monday morning for the last chapter in their SSB radio installation so we had a day aboard doing boat jobs and collecting water from a tap near the landing stage. We'd chatted to the crews of two neighbouring boats, Portal and Alliance, so invited them aboard for 'Sundowner' drinks. At our request, Charlie and Lilly   on Portal brought along Pixel, their 14-month old cat (a gorgeous Maine Coon cross) who enjoyed exploring Maunie. 


They have been sailing with Duncan and Jess on Alliance for a few weeks and have had their share of adventures - they are mad keen cyclists who between them have more of less cycled around the globe so they manage to somehow cram two full-size bikes onto their 30ft boat. Duncan and Jess come from Devon and Cornwall but bought their 40ft boat in the States. We had a very enjoyable evening and Pixel took some persuading to return to her own vessel.

Talk of cycling made us decide to hire bikes to explore the island this morning. The heavy Korean-built mountain bikes promised an interesting experience:


Certainly after 30 miles of wishing we'd brought our padded cycling shorts, Graham was certainly experiencing a surrealistic feeling but couldn't detect any tidal current effects.

We toiled up into the hills to get to the Belvedere viewpoint which looks over our bay, only to find that you need to be there before 10.00am to get decent photos of the view before the sun moves round to shine into the lens . Still there were great walking trails in the forest and some ancient monuments and settlements that were the subject of a big archaeological expedition in the 1960's.






We returned via Opinohu Bay, just to the north of Cook's Bay, and saw the megayacht 'A' anchored there - this is the one with, according to Wikipedia, a $20 million annual running cost budget so it was good see they were economising for a few nights of free anchorage.


Before dropping our bikes off, we treated ourselves at the famous* Allo Pizzeria (*made famous on the excellent Soggy Paws website - Soggy Paws is a circumnavigating yacht whose crew have pulled together a brilliant compendium of information for other boats to refer to). And like all the other recommendations on that site, ranging from anchorages through eateries to walks and views, we certainly weren't disappointed.

We'll stay here another day or two and so are beginning to focus on the long-term weather forecasts - a big low pressure is heading our way in about 6 days' time so we need to ensure that we're in a safe anchorage when it comes through.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Cook's Bay, Moorea

As we left the southern pass of Tahiti the surfers, paddleboarders and kayakers were poised at the edge of the reef, waiting for the perfect wave. It's slightly disconcerting to be navigating a yacht within meters of huge surf but we managed fine.


We had a rather rolly motor across towards Moorea until we cleared the substantial wind shadow cast by Tahiti and then we had a brilliant Force 5-6 downwind sail around the north coast of Moorea. This island also has a low coral reef protecting it so we found the well-marked pass and headed in to Cook's Bay, a deep, well-sheltered inlet that is said to have been one of Captain Cook's favourite anchorages. It's certainly beautiful and we had a grandstand view of the canoe racing yesterday.



 
  
The island has a population of 16,000 and no real towns, just small villages. Its proximity to Tahiti and its natural beauty make it a tourist haven and so there are plenty of hotels and resorts along the coast. Today (Bastille Day) we're heading round to one of them to see the celebrations.


Friday, 12 July 2013

Catching up with friends

Last night was a very sociable one as we met up with lots of newly-arrived boats, many of whom we'd only previously met via radio. We went to the 3 Brasseurs micro-brewery where we had the table-top nine pint dispenser of the Blonde lager which was excellent. The Stormmvogel crew were very happy to have completed a long list of jobs (see their blog for details) and the boat is looking very shiny with new antifouling paint and a polish to her topsides.
 
After a busy few days we have also ticked off lots of maintenance jobs so we feel that we've completed a 10,000 mile service and given Maunie a good clean and polish too (the proximity to those superyachts rubbed off so Graham was to be seen polishing stainless steel and fibreglass like the pros). Christian the Fridge Man has performed some magic so we have two working fridges once again, hurrah. However, it hasn't all gone to plan – our watermaker has been stripped down by Gilles the Watermaker Man who has been advised by the manufacturer in Italy that they will send out some parts made of a different material. This suggests that that we are not alone in experiencing problems in warmer waters and this suspicion has been reinforced when we met Matt and Charlotte on Gallinago yesterday (we first met them in St Lucia) and they have exactly the same problem on the same model.
 
So we'll leave Tahiti today without the watermaker, which Gilles will rebuild, once the parts arrive in a week or so; he'll then send it by internal flight up to Bora Bora. This means that in the meantime we'll have to be more careful with our water usage and collect fresh water in jerry cans wherever we can. Luckily the last time we had the sewing machine out we made a rain-water catcher so if the wall to wall sunshine breaks we'll be ready to direct rain straight into the tank.
 
Next stop is the neighbouring island of Moorea – only 20 miles or so – where we'll anchor in Cook's Bay (one of Captain Cook's favourite anchorages, apparently). A few other boats are heading there so the social life should be good and there is said to be good walking ashore so we're looking forward to the exercise.
 
 
 
 

Monday, 8 July 2013

Counting the Satellites

After a few days at anchor we've gone all posh and moved into the Marina Taina with some very large neighbours opposite; more on them later. Actually we've been pleasantly surprised at the cost of a berth here (about two-thirds that of a typical British marina) and we have the benefit of our own tropical fish aquarium just off our stern.  The side of the concrete dock is being colonised by coral and is teaming with little brightly-coloured fish.


Maunie to the left, superyachts to the right

The reason for moving from our free anchorage is that we have made contact with Christian the Fridge Man who tells us he'll be here at 8.30 in the morning to look at our poorly aft fridge. This isn't the one that Patrice the Fridge Man (no relation) upgraded to water cooling back in Martinique; that's still doing fine. So we hope we'll get the aft fridge fixed and the watermaker will also be handed over to Gilles the Watermaker Man tomorrow for a service.
Whilst we are here we are within easy walking distance of Carrefour and, of course, have the usual marina luxuries of electricity, water and a good set of loos and showers ashore. 

Our dock is also the temporary home to about ten superyachts, both sail and power, and there are more up in the town quay (see Stormvogel's blog for his photos). 





We can confidently predict that the charges the boats opposite us are facing wouldn't be described as 'pleasantly surprising' but, then, normal values don't apply to these awful things. Don't get me wrong, some of them (the sailing ones at least) are stunningly beautiful boats, but they are such in-your-face demonstrations of "I've got so much money I don't care" (particularly as less than a mile from here there's a shanty town where families are sleeping in shacks) that it makes you want to shout rude words at them.

This would be pointless of course, as the targets of our ire - the billionaire owners - aren't here.  Instead the large and well-paid crews go through the daily routines of polishing the bits that they polished the day before, checking the systems and recoiling the beautifully coiled ropes before they knock off at five and head to the bar. They look bored out of their minds (and stop for very frequent fag breaks) and much just ache to take a boat like Erica XII (yep, the owner want us to know he's already had eleven of theses toys) out for a blast under full sail.


Erica XII

There's clearly a sort of arms race going on with owners wanting something bigger than the opposition but we've also noticed that there's some kind of one-upmanship going on with the number of satellite domes that each boat carries. Now on Maunie we are very delighted with our little satellite dome which unfailingly locks on to the nearest Inmarsat satellite and allows us to send emails and voice calls from the middle of nowhere (and, most importantly, receive vital weather forecasts and safety bulletins), even when the boat is pitching and rolling like a demented thing. 


Maunie's satdome (and onions)

It also will provide (slow) broadband internet but at a price - we're on the 'economy' tariff (about £65 per month) which allows us no more than 5 Mb of data transfer each month and we work very hard to stay within this limit; this is why our email automatically strips out any incoming attachments such as photos and we access these when we have shore-based wifi. So one dome does all this and why, you might wonder, would you need any more? 

Okay, of you're a Russian billionaire you might need to be able to stay in touch with your dubious empire for the one or two weeks a year you actually spend on the superyacht so perhaps a second dome as a back-up might seem a worthwhile investment. And if you must access satellite TV in places more beautiful than any TV shot can convey, maybe you need one of the bigger TV domes as well. But honestly, some of these shiny toys have more domes and antennas than NASA:


 3 domes and 2 radars and to hell with the weight and windage aloft

4 domes, 2 radars and all sorts of little pointy bits

We think that some are just empty dummies rather than working units. We have certainly heard of some superyachts having beautifully painted and polished but engineless old helicopters strapped to their decks for show so it's entirely possible that the displays of arrogance and wealth opposite us have a few extra bits of IT bling fixed to their masts just to make things look a bit more symmetrical. Then again, with the budgets these boats have, why not just spend the extra £100k and have a real one, just in case? Bah! We need to get back into the islands and villages as soon as possible; in the meantime must get one of these signs for Maunie:



Friday, 5 July 2013

Boat maintenance in extoic places

The proximity to expensive marine engineers and chandlers seems to have had an effect on Maunie as bits that have been very reliable so far have just started to go wrong. However the good news is that we managed a full fix on the generator's oil (and water, it turned out) leak without calling in the expensive local engineers.


It transpired that the vibrations of the engine (sewing-machine smoothness isn't an attribute of the Faryman one-cylinder diesel motor) had caused a couple of bolts in the oil sump to work loose. Getting at them involved levering the engine out of the bottom section of its soundproof box - Dianne inserting a hammer handle at the required moment -  which also allowed us to clean all the dirty oil up. A messy job, but we also discovered a minor water leak and we're glad to report it's all running fine now - a satisfying fix.

Next jobs before we leave are a full service of the watermaker which still trips out occasionally - there is a Schenker service agent here so we have taken the unit out and he'll do it, hopefully under warranty, on Tuesday - and, we hope, a fix for our aft fridge which has suddenly decided it's bored with cooling things down. We're trying to find an engineer for this as it's  beyond our capabilities.

So we'll be in Tahiti longer than planned but it's not a bad spot

Thursday, 4 July 2013

From Force 1 to Force 9 and back again


We are regularly reminded that 'normal' weather conditions (from a European perspective) don't apply out here in the Pacific. Our experience of torrential rain and flash floods in Hiva Oa was one example but today we've experienced a frankly rather scary, prolonged wind event which transformed last evening's tranquil anchorage into a white-frothed maelstrom. (Random fact No 27, incidentally, is that Graham once sailed through Maelstrom in the Lofoten Islands of Norway - it has an impressive tidal whirlpool and gives its name to sea conditions you'd rather not experience).

So this morning, after a leisurely breakfast and a Skype call to Di's sister, we inflated the dinghy and were about to go ashore to the supermarket. However an intense black cloud to windward made us wait, thankfully, and ten minutes later the wind had increased to over 30 knots (Force 8) and all the boats were straining at their anchors or mooring buoys. It's a pretty unpleasant situation in a crowded anchorage as you worry about (a) whether your anchor will hold and (b)  whether the anchors of the boats to windward of you will hold. 

Unfortunately such was the speed of the transition from calm to (unforecasted) gale that several boats had their crews already ashore and two empty yachts either side of us dragged their anchors and slid past us. The VHF radio was suddenly alive with warnings and three people climbed aboard Annaconda and managed to let out more anchor chain to stop her moving further whilst Sierra Echo stopped of her own volition when her anchor snagged something on the seabed. Another yacht about a mile away was less fortunate when she broke free of her mooring and ended up on the rocks and a couple of other boats saw their furled headsails break free to be whipped into shreds by the wind.

As the gale increased (we saw a gust of 42 knots on Maunie) the swell outside the reef began to break heavily on it and inside the reef the wind-driven waves grew to nearly one metre in height, making life aboard very uncomfortable.


Finally, after about 7 hours of this misery, the wind began to drop and the local canoe teams came out for heavy weather practice (we did say they take their sport seriously!). Now, as dusk falls, the wind has dropped to less than 3 knots and once again the anchorage is calm. 
So it's been a bit of a day for us but at least Maunie has remained firmly anchored and we are undamaged. We've felt very trapped aboard but have been reasonably productive; Dianne has been adding information on treating bites and stings from 'sea critters' to our medical files and Graham managed a few maintenance jobs and, unfortunately, discovered an oil leak on the generator which will probably need professional help if we can track down a local engineer and spares... Never a dull moment on Maunie!
   

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Tahitian sunset


This afternoon we left the city-centre moorings in Papeete and motored about 3 miles down the coast (remaining inside the protective coral reef) to a much more peaceful anchorage. After a brief but heavy rain shower we were treated to a wonderful sunset, with a couple of racing outrigger-canoes charging past us (they take the sport very seriously here).


From here we have a clear view of the mountainous profile of Moorea, Tahiti's much smaller sister island. We're planning to visit there on Friday for a few days. Meanwhile we'll launch the dinghy in the morning and land at the marina as there is a large Carrefour just around the corner; it'll probably be the biggest shop this side of Fiji so we'll do a stock up for the coming months.