Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tahiti-Moorea Sailing Rendezvous

The penultimate event of this year's cruising season was the Tahiti-Moorea Sailing Rendezvous, a get-together for all the boats that have crossed to Polynesia, from Panama, the Galapagos, Mexico, Hawaii, and even a few that came direct from California. Normally Vicki and I avoid large groups, but we decided to make an exception this time, and we are glad we did. It was a very fun 3 days with a lot of the friends we have made over this past season, even though several of the boats we most wanted to see did not make it to the rendezvous.
Here is Mark with two of our favorite cruisers, Don and Deb from s/v Buena Vista.
The kick-off event was Friday evening at the downtown Papeete quay. We decided to tie up at the city's downtown yacht moorage so we wouldn't have to travel far. The city charges about $0.80/foot to med-moor to a float with a locked gate for security. There are extra charges for water, power, and garbage, and there are no facilities (bathrooms, showers, laundry) provided. But no one comes to French Polynesia expecting much value for their dollar, or much in the way of cruiser amenities, and it was fun to be in the center of the action (and noise) for a day, and only a 2-block walk to the public market.
The Friday evening kick-off included a traditional Polynesian "blessing" of the fleet,
and some wonderful music and dance from a talented group of young people who used this event as a rehearsal for the upcoming "Heiva" competition.
They even got all of the skippers into the act.
Afterward we enjoyed dinner at the "roulottes" with Don and Deb.
Saturday morning we assembled outside the harbor entrance for a very informal 20nm race to Opunohu Bay on the neigboring isle of Moorea. Winds were gusting into the mid- and upper 20s and seas were large and confused. Even nearby boats literally disappeared into the troughs between wave crests.
Despite an extremely poor start (we decided at the last minute to hoist the main instead of just running with the jib), we caught up with at least part of the fleet, and had an exciting sprint for the finish line. We came in just behind Bright Angel and Convivia.
Saturday evening we made an ill-fated decision to attend a shoreside festivity. When we got there, it turned out to cost more than we thought, so turned right around and headed back toward the anchorage. Even though we had not imbibed any alcohol, we had a slight accident in the darkness. The dinghy got hung up on a reef, and when I got out to push it off, the reef collapsed under me and I went plunging into the shallow water. My pinkie finger took the full brunt of my fall, and is either fractured or dislocated or jammed. At any rate it is swollen, discolored, and throbbing with pain. Sunday was a full schedule of fun events on the beach, at what has to be one of the world's most beautiful anchorages. It started off sunny, but most of the day threatened rain.
Even with my mashed finger, my favorite event was the 6-person outrigger canoe race, in which we teamed up with Brian and Terry from Off Tempo, and 2 Polynesian paddlers who did all the directional control. We only finished 2nd out of 4 in our heat, but it was a real rush.
And at least we didn't flip the canoe like this group!
Other events were pareu tie-dyeing,
pareu tying,
a fruit-carrying race (in which I fell, skinned my knee, and developed some kind of infection),
and coconut husking.
Here's Vicki practicing the ancient "sport" of rock lifting. Guess that's how they got people in shape to build the maraes!
A great group of musicians kept us entertained all day long.
There were other activities and an award ceremony, but we crashed and burned before the day was over, and had to head back to the boat for a nap! That evening, the rain finally arrived, along with 40-knot winds. Several of the larger boats dragged through the anchorage - fortunately none of them were near us. We learned next morning that several boats had sustained considerable damage. Crowded anchorages and high winds are just a recipe for problems, so we were glad to head out to a more isolated spot the next evening.
We had also anchored here the previous week, on our first trip to Moorea to catch up with our friends on Estrellita. Here we are enjoying a drink with them. We had hoped to see them sometime in the Tuamotus, but never caught up with them.
Carol and Livia took us to swim with the stingrays at "Stingray City", and this was a real highlight of our time in Moorea.
Sadly, this weekend marked the effective end of our cruising season. Now I am just nursing my various wounds and afflictions, and counting down the days until haulout. Oh, and I am back at work teaching online classes as of this week!

1 comment:

SV Estrellita 5.10b said...

Great to see you in Moorea!