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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Apataki atoll to TAHITI, French Polynesia - Day 61-67

Weather caused us to move to the northern end of the Apataki atoll. 30 knot winds, gray overcast skies and frequent downpours turned our daily water world excursions into afternoon movies with popcorn on board. We wait for a comfortable weather window to sail to Tahiti. We want to time our departure during slack tide so that our exit from the atoll is uneventful - it would be wonderful if we had a sunny day so that we have a clear view of underwater obstacles, and once we've departed Apataki a comfortable point of sail to Tahiti with perfect wind would be divine. Is that really too much to ask?

Getting parts ordered is our #1 priority once we reach civilization. That seems to be the case with many cruisers out here. Unfortunately, we just learned from UPS that shipping to and from French Polynesia has become a bit convoluted and very, very costly. Once a relatively easy and painless process, now you are required to hire an agent. So, regardless if you have a $20US part or a $5,000US part it will cost about $200US just for the paperwork and processing... that does NOT include the cost of shipping.

Sailmail became problematic – the Manihi station went down. Sending and receiving became a tedious process, many times we had to start over after our connection dropped us. Winlink was no better. Making contact became a headache.

The night before our departure from Apataki, Carolyne asked if Cassidy could accompany us on the voyage and we agreed. So with 2 teen girls in tow we headed out for the 2 night crossing. As luck would have it, our weather was so benign that we had to motor sail. The perk of that is we caught another... skipjack tuna. It was a fatty, so we kept him and bled him out real well. The next morning I dropped a cedar plug in the water and we hooked a dorado! This is the first dorado we have had on the line in ages... and as we got him to the boat and Jim began to gaff him, he slid of the hook and disappeared. The fish fairies got a good laugh at that. I felt depressed. We tried again and again but caught nothing else.

Night crossings with 2 teens girls in the cockpit giggling until 11pm, painting their nails all afternoon and giggling, and during meals... more giggling. They really are too cute!

Arrival to Tahiti! We had to call the Harbor Master for permission upon entering, had to call again 5 minutes from the airport canal and then had to call again 5 minutes before exiting the airport canal into the anchorage near Marina Taina. We debated upon getting mooring ball at $40US per week, but couldn't find one so we dropped the hook in the very crowded anchorage. Turns out that prices for the mooring ball increased July 1st to $80 per month so we are very happy to be anchored for free.

Tahiti is beautiful – green – friendly, friendly people... and very, very expensive. New and exciting!

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