Sunday, July 22, 2018

Raiatea & Taha'a

[Kyle]From Fare in Huahine, we had a slow trip over to the next island, specifically we headed to the southeastern side of Raiatea. As we left Fare, we found ourselves right in the middle of their va’a races. We stopped to let them by, and then they turned and passed us again. They are faster than we are. We stopped again, but some jerk motoring the other way with his mainsail flapping like a flag plowed right through them (despite Maryanne’s frantic efforts to signal them to slow down). Several of the racing canoes had to swerve and stop to keep from getting t-boned by him. Nice guy!

Departing Huahine among the racing

Heavenly anchorage in Raiatea

We anchored just behind the reef on the southeastern side of Raiatea in just under two meters of sand and enjoyed a leisurely couple of days of solitude punctuated by cooling swims. When we’d had enough of that, we upped anchor and headed for the main village of Uturoa.

Uturoa is supposed to be the second biggest settlement in French Polynesia, behind Papeete. I’m not sure how they came up with that figure. Perhaps much of the island is within its incorporated limits. We walked from one end of the built up area to the other and were back at the boat in fifteen minutes. Geographically, it seems way smaller than Hao village, Taiohae in Nuku Hiva or Viatape in Bora Bora, to name a few. The place has kind of a bad reputation for security, but we found it quiet and pleasant.

Uturoa Town

We were sharing the wharf with a big, four-masted cruise ship that has been popping up most of the places we go. As we got there, the last of the passengers was going back aboard and the town was closing up. We did some shopping at the two groceries there and while Maryanne packed everything away, I went to take out our trash and recycling. By the time I was on my way back, the village seemed to fill with drunks all getting caught up on their public urination. Okay, maybe we won’t stay the night!

We untied from the wharf and then carried on a few more miles in our original direction and found another quiet, sandy spot to spend a couple of days near the pass at Taha’a (a different island but in the same fringing reef system as Raiatea). The best thing about our spot was the view of Bora Bora in the distance, looking like a giant sombrero.

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