Sunday, July 3, 2011

Tahiti Moorea Rendezvous - Day 2

Saturday, June 25, 2011

We left Tahiti Yacht Club at 8am Saturday for a 9:30am start off the main channel going into Tahiti Harbor. We opted to exit out of the TYC mooring area using the entrance to the west, which turned out to be very tricky. It wasn't bad for us--we had a good chart and good light behind us, but I would choose the other channel (on the east end) in other conditions. Two other boats followed us out (baaa... like little lambs). Fortunately, even though they didn't stay close enough to really follow us, they managed to negotiate the hairpin turn with a little cross current with no problems, and made it out safely too.

Because of organizational issues and (I think) wind conditions, they announced after we had dropped the mooring that the start was delayed until 10am. So we hung out off Tahiti and finished our breakfast. Unfortunately, what we thought was going to be a nice downwind sail in reasonable winds, turned into a beat in 5 knots of wind. (Local land effect combined with generally light air). There was a huge starting line, but one end was about a half mile closer to Moorea than the other, so the start was a zoo with about 25 cruising boats trying to cross the starting line in the same 2-boat length area (and not sailing well because of the very light air). We decided to be safe and just cross the line on the other side of the committee boat--not technically starting, but who cares. But the committee boat--which was not anchored--because it was over 400 feet deep--obligingly stretched the line to include us too.

After an hour of drifting around and obviously not in any contention for the lead, we turned on our engine and motored the rest of the 18 miles to Opunohu Bay, Moorea. Only 9 boats out of the 42 registered actually sailed the whole way. The wind finally filled in some in the middle of the channel, but died again as the boats approached the finish. The boats that sailed finished around 4pm.

As we approached Opunohu Bay, we said "Holy Moley, look at all the boats!" But there was still plenty of room and we eventually had about 50-60 boats anchored there. We made our way to the very head of the anchoring area, where the water was very shallow (9' deep). We knew that most of the California boats (which are the real cruising newbies out here, and also 7' draft) would not venture into such shallow water. We got a lovely anchorage, away from the crowd, inside the reef, in 9' sand and good holding. If the wind picked up--no one would drag down on us. Eventually (2 days later) the wind did pick up and 2 boats dragged through the fleet--they had anchored in 25' on short scope and not set their anchor.

Since we motored in early, we missed the welcoming canoe race that was supposed to start at 3pm--when all the boats were SUPPOSED to be finishing. But we got there in plenty of time for the music and drinks on the beach. It was fun meeting lots of people we had been talking to on the radio, but hadn't met in person yet.

They put out the signup board for the activities the next day, and we signed up "Team Paws". We recruited Kathy from Endorfin to be our fourth person.

Andy Turpin in his welcome speech the night before had mistakenly said that there would be dinner on the beach on Saturday--but the handout didn't mention dinner. So we were hoping for dinner, but I also took something out of the freezer just in case. It turned out that no dinner was forthcoming as part of the Rendezvous, but we were tired and ready for showers and the quiet of Soggy Paws by then anyway.
In French Polynesia til August, then west toward Tonga
At 7/1/2011 10:54 PM (utc) our position was 17°34.42'S 149°52.13'W

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