Monday, July 02, 2018

Passage to Tahiti & Hanging about at Point Venus

[Kyle]We left Rotoava on Fakarava at the same time as three other boats, which made me think for once we had all converged on the same time for high tide. It must have worked because we all got spat out of the lagoon by the current before the standing waves on the outside got too bad. We then all diverged on our respective courses.

The sail to Tahiti was just about the nicest one we’ve had in ages. There was enough wind to push us along, but not enough to have to be worried about needing to reef. The seas were mild enough that we barely had any motion other than forward. The skies were clear the whole time and there was just enough of a breeze to take the edge off of the sun’s heat during the day. Oh, if only every three-hundred mile stretch of ocean could be this way, crossing them would be a piece of pie!

Arriving in Tahiti for Sunset

As we approached the island, the party ended and the wind started freaking out like a wild animal that has just found itself trapped inside a small room. Our last hour turned into six and we arrived fed up and exhausted.

We decided to go the other way around the island this time around and anchored off the beach at Point Venus, Tahiti’s northernmost point. We couldn’t make out any bottom features as we nudged toward the beach. It looked like it could be mud, coral, weed or rock. The chart said ‘sand’, but we’ve noticed it says that a lot, presumably because it sounds more definitive than ‘other’. The ‘sand’ region was vague and seemed to overlap with other vague areas of ‘coral’. What to do? We decided to drop our anchor and hope for the best.

It WAS the best! When I dove on it later, I found an unbroken expanse of fine black sand. Our anchor had disappeared completely under it. We just found our new favorite anchorage in Tahiti.

We stayed at Point Venus for a couple of days. We rowed ashore for the requisite shopping expeditions, met other cruisers, enjoyed the park, walked the beach and ate at food trucks. We were there for a holiday weekend, so the beach was packed with families all doing beach stuff. The thing here, instead of building sand castles, seems to be digging bathtub-sized holes to sit the kids in and then waiting for the tide to come up and fill them.

The big event of the weekend was a series of va’a (outrigger) pre-races in preparation for the Heiva. We had front row seats as the fast trimarans raced through the anchorage. They have crews of three, one steering and two paddling, as well as a big sail. They paddle like hell even when the sails are pulling and they are REALLY fast. When we last saw them, they all meandered around the anchorage for a while and then lined up and headed in the direction of Bora Bora. I don’t think they were going to Bora Bora, because that’s two hundred miles away and it was late in the afternoon, but that’s the direction they were going. We figured they had some sort of mark out there they were going to round. They disappeared over the horizon within a few minutes and we never did see them return. Maybe they went out to do a lap around the nearby island of Moorea.

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