After the delights of Huahine, it was time to get back to Raiatea and Tahha once again. Our sail across to Raiatea was with Sunny our spinnaker up. It was a great sail, although we ended up in the most southern pass Teavamoa. This was because the kids get nauseous on a boat. Being this far south is not an issue, it just meant a beautiful cruise in flat water inside the reef, including a swim stop along the way, back to the northern end of Raiatea. It seems the churches here are the most well kept buildings and stand out a long way. Once again we passed a beautiful church on the coast.
We went straight to the site of the Norby, the wreck sunk in 1900. Annika and I took Maja for a dive. It was the first time Annika had dived the wreck as she didn’t dive when we went last time. Visibility was still poor but it was still a fantastic dive in a wreck so old. Annika had the camera down and got some great shots. Some of them didn’t even get the photoshop treatment that most photos get. They were perfect the way they were. The GoPro struggled with the lighting once again. Next time I really want a proper video camera with good lighting to capture just how good the under water world is.
We then went to the public wharf so the family could go shopping with Annika. I stayed on the boat to look after it, due to the reputation of boats being boarded in the area and being relieved of goods by the locals. It’s an unfortunate thing that the islands are suffering from a downturn in tourism and hence people are turning to crime to make ends meet. Whilst waiting I took some rubbish over to the bins and as I went past 4 older gents sitting on the bench they invited me over for a beer. Being an Aussie, who am I to say no! We talked about the French and how they hated them taking over from the Polynesians, talked fishing and how little there are and then I asked their names to find out that one of them was called Dauphine, French Polynesian for Dolphin. I didn’t believe him till he pulled out his license.
That evening we anchored off the Uturoa Marina again next to a Kiwi boat called Sagitta. In the morning Justin, our American friend off Antares II, joined us at the anchorage and we caught up with Simon off Sagitta. He had been sailing single handed for quite some time. Some 6 months ago he had actually been 1500nm from Brazil and had a stroke. It took him several days to recover however he made it to land. His recovery has been excellent and he is perfectly able now, a very lucky man I think. It is believed that because he had to stay active to keep the boat going, it actually helped his recovery. Needless to say he hasn’t been sailing solo much since, his wife is joining him more and more.
After breakfast we went and dived the Norby one more time so that Justin and Joakim, now a qualified diver and starting his advanced dive course immediately, could go and have a look. You always see something new when you dive a site and this was no exception. I actually saw a spare anchor inside the hull next to the chain all heaped up. I am still a little stunned that a boat that has been underwater for over 100 years can have so little growth or degredation of the steel. They don’t make boats like they used to I guess.
That afternoon and it was back up to Tau Tau island to show the family the Aquarium. The ladies stayed on the boat to do some washing whilst Joakim and I took the kids to the snorkel site. The first run was fairly quick however the kids loved it. They wanted to go again and again. The water was moving quite quickly and the visibility was quite ordinary but they liked the water rushing along. I also showed them my Nemo which I have been trying to make into Fish TV. This time there was only one of the two there so they must be having a domestic!!! The following day we stayed at Tau Tau and did the snorkel a couple more times when the water was moving a lot slower and the visibility had returned. I really have no idea how you work out the tides in this place. You would think an incoming tide would create a faster flow through the site but on the incoming tide the water was slower, and it picked up again on the outgoing tide. It makes no sense. So if you head there, just give it a go, if it isn’t good, try another time.
We only really managed to explore a small section of Raiatea and Tahaa in the times we were there. You could easily spend weeks cruising around this chain and see new things however we needed to get to Bora Bora for a flight and hence the next days’ plan was to get to Bora Bora for a few days before they flew out. This time we’d be chasing manta rays, one of the most majestic creatures in the ocean. Would we find any or had they all been chased away? Stay tuned for our next edition to find out.
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