With Annika’s best friend from her school days coming to visit us in the Society Islands, we wanted the family to experience all the islands with the downwind version (east to west), much more comfortable for guests. That meant we had to make our way back to Tahiti so we departed Bora Bora and knowing we would have an upwind slog, we went just to Raiatea the first day, then spent 2 nights there before heading off into a 10-15 knot head wind all the way back to Tahiti. It would take us 22 hours to cover the 96nm as one of our lower shrouds broke a wire meaning we had to depower the rig to make sure we were safe. The trip, well let’s say the following week I felt like James Bond, my beers stored in the front cabin were shaken, not stirred!!!!
Arriving into Tahiti at 0400 and it was raining. We needed to do some washing but the rain was quite annoying that day so we ended up having to do it in the machines at the club. We did some shopping, and even put our gas bottles in to be filled, it would take 5 days to get them back being a Friday. We also had the lower shroud replaced. We even caught up with Justin, our American friend again and decided on a dive in the pass just south of the Taina Yacht Club. It was meant to have sharks, turtles and lots of fish. Well we saw none of those but we did see our nappy fish again, lots of tyres, plastic bags and it literally looked like a tip. It was a disgusting dive and no we didn’t dive the outside as the current (meant to be incoming tide) was once again flowing out. We really should give up on these pass dives, they are not like the Tuamotus passes.
Maja, Joakim, Irma and Melker arrived on the Sunday morning. The day was quite relaxed with a bit of shopping and for them, a bit of jet lag recovery, it’s a long way from Sweden to Tahiti. We also introduced the kids to snorkeling which they seemed to love immediately. The following day we rented a car and toured the island to see all the land sites, something we hadn’t done previously. Hopefully the land would show us some positives. Well it seemed our luck with Tahiti was all bad. We went to Teahapoo, one of the world’s most famous surf breaks, to find no waves. We weren’t allowed up to one of the lookouts as the road was closed and then the 3 cascades waterfall site was closed as the bridge was being fixed. Luckily the blow hole was open and working, but wouldn’t you know it, the rain started tumbling down just as we got there. We did however find a nice beginners surf beach called Venus Beach which had black sands and a little wave for people to learn to surf. We wish we had taken up Justin’s offer of taking the surfboards. The family loved the water as the sunset over Papeete.
The following day we spent in the water. Annika was going to teach Joakim how to dive and Maja hadn’t dived for over 10 years so they took off to the shallows near the moorings to do some skills training leaving me with Irma and Melker. Irma is 10 and she loved the water and then you have 8 year old Melker who, well he is a fish. On the boat I started teaching them to dive head first off the back deck. They both did really well. Then we went to the bow to start doing pin drops and Melker dives in head first. It was pretty cool to see. I know adults who won’t dive head first off the deck of a yacht. As the adults returned I had the kids on the bow and Irma pulls off the perfect pin drop and Melker launches into a dive. The judges scored them perfect 10’s.
The following day and it was time to leave Tahiti but not before a dive at the wrecks on the way out. Justin joined us once again and the visibility was a lot better with less rain recently. The plane wreck was once again impressive and the amount of fish around the boat wreck seemed to have increased. Needless to say, even though he couldn’t dive amongst the wrecks due to depth restrictions for beginners, , Joakim, on his first proper dive, had a pretty good dive swimming over the top of them. We then took off to Moorea, this time we wanted to see the sharks and rays.
The sail across was once again slow and sloppy. We arrived back into Tareu pass and dropped the anchor before sunset. A quiet night and a good forecast meant there was not need to take off again the next day. In the morning we shot over to western most pass and whilst we had been told you can’t anchor in there and that we should take a mooring in front of the resort, we couldn’t find a way through to that mooring with our draft so we dropped the anchor to the west of the shark diving site. It is pretty obvious where it is as you come in, there are boats on it pretty much all the time, but it is in shallow waters on the north side of the channel about 1nm from the entrance, probably not even that.
We quickly jumped in our tender and made our way over to the site and dropped our anchor in waist deep water. Dropping over the side and you are quickly surrounded by stingrays and sharks. They are fed here so they think every boat has more food. It is quite an experience swimming amongst them and at one stage I found a piece of tuna and held it out and the rays would slide up your body onto your hand to get the food. The bigger tourist boats off the cruise ship in town were feeding the sharks and every time this happened there would be a feeding frenzy where the rays would stir up the bottom and the sharks would be swarming all around them. I got in the middle of it on several occasions and it was hard to choose which direction to look, let along point the GoPro. The family all loved it and it was hard to drag them away. We got talking to one of the locals and he said that 2 of the rays know him personally and always go to him when he is there, whether he has food or not. Seeing rays hug a human, is something else. It was a pretty awesome place.
That afternoon we went back to Tareu pass and anchored again and explored the land. Not much around, just nice beaches and palm trees. Annika saw a huge German Shepherd, just like she has at home. She was in love. Moorea is a beautiful little island and the rays and sharks are exceptional. Once again, I don’t have a problem with them feeding them in the wild, it is their choice to be there or not, they are not captive like the dolphins in the resort there which have no choice in the matter, they can’t come and go when they please. Seeing the animals in the wild is such a better option and so much healthier for the animals themselves.
The next day we had a mission to get to Tetiaroa, a little island 30nm north of Tahiti. Formerly owned by Marlon Brando, it was meant to have great diving so we looked forward to another adventure. Stay tuned for that story and our next visit to Huahine, Raiatea and Tahaa in our next edition.
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