Good mid-morning, it’s Sunday morning at the top end of Opunohu Bay, a brilliant sunny day, the wind has been up and down and right now it’s down. Plus the clouds and drizzle and rain have gone away, this is the perfect morning.
Last night was a bit of excitement. We had the gang over for sundowners (Shindig, Cinnabar, Maluhia), that was lots of fun – Beetle was an impromptu snack-stand and bar with indoor-outdoor seating for 7-1/2, depending on the state of rain at any particular moment. More good stories around, and I learned courtesy of Tom how to convert my French Polynesian Vini phone card to talk to me in English; if I can do that then I might understand why I have never been able to place a call that actually connects to anyone.
Well after dark everyone headed home, and Kristen was watching the metal-hulled 40′ hard chine sailboat anchored upwind of us. The further one goes into the bay the shallower it becomes and the more gooey the mud is. Kristen was hoping the fellow up front wouldn’t drag towards us… and then the wind started to whip through the cuts in the valleys to each side, causing the boats to alternately rotate left and right in the oscillating wind gusts and often presenting a full broadside to the next gust. I had just gone to bed when Kristen, displaying the uncanny ability of an anchor-dragger-spotting blood hound, called out to me, ‘You need to get up here!’. And sure enough the metal boat was noticeably moving towards Beetle’s bow, now a boat length from his transom. A quick hail on the radio brought no response, I handed the spotlight to Kristen (and it’s a reasonably bright light) and she was able to point it through the open companionway of the offending boat and light up the interior. That brought up the singlehander on board. He had by now halved the distance between us as I fired up Beetle’s engine and retrieved some larger fenders and delivered them to the foredeck. It took the singlehander a fair bit of time to up anchor in the wind and still control his boat; my concern was the possibility that when his hook came free he would spin back towards Beetle and drift rapidly our way. He was pretty good and ran back and forth to manage the engine RPM, pointing the boat, run to the bow to operate the windlass and get the chain and anchor on deck. When all was done he motored way up towards the shore and dropped again, and that’s where we found him this morning.
Sylvia on board Cinnabar heard the racket over the radio and got up to watch, then turned on their radar and spent quite a bit of time monitoring boat positions to see if anyone else was dragging. Apparently the Outremer 45 next to Maluhia dragged yesterday as well (though I missed that) and had laid out more scope to get the anchor to set properly. For my part I watched the metal boat for an hour, then went to sleep with my alarm set for 1 hour – got up and checked everything, went back to sleep with the alarm set for 2 hours given the wind had dropped way off, and at that check all was well, so I went to sleep for the night.
Boats dragging anchors are no fun, especially when you’re downwind of them.
Yesterday Kristen and I hard a very nice dinghy tour of the West side of Moorea, running around past the sharks’ snorkeling area we continued on to a wide wide sandy reef extending out to the breakers beyond the hard coral fringing reef. The wind did pick up as we got around and started to see the wrap-around coming up from the SE, so we wandered back along the marked channel to a calm lagoon set in between two motus and dropped the small dinghy anchor. The snorkeling there was nice, especially with the calm water despite the drizzle and rain passing through as the squalls moved across Moorea.
We’ve been doing a fair bit of time in the water, and have seen some interesting fishes. There’s a spot on the western side of the pass that the first-timer scuba people use, so we visited that on the assumption there ought to be interesting critters there. And there were – lots of ‘Christmas Tree’ worms in the coral with their spiral brightly-colored fronds poking out into the water flow, yellows and blues and purples – maybe even some green ones though I would have to look at my pictures to be certain about the green. And found a large moray eel hanging out in his lair beneath a large rock covered in coral. He had a nice nook from which to poke his head out and observe what was going on around him. We spent a good 20 minutes just watching the moray, and he was quite happy to just watch us. Neat animal.
The weather forecast is improving for a shot over to Bora Bora. The original thinking was to roll Monday (tomorrow) morning, and the latest GFS model run and forecasts call for good winds Monday and reducing Monday night into Tuesday. So we’ve backed up the departure to Tuesday morning. I listened to one of the boats describing their departure from Tahaa to Bora (a short downwind run in the lee of the islands) and he described 30 knots of breeze in Tahaa and slightly less on the way to Bora; he didn’t make it sound like fun, so I’m glad we’ve been able to continue hanging out here in Moorea especially as we have good company in Tom, Sylvia, Rob, Jeff, Dave, and Kim.
This morning was a complete strike-out as regards connecting to the internet; Kristen has to manage some hotel accomodations and there’s a time element to it – if they are not canceled by tomorrow morning she gets charged, and as she doesn’t need all four it would be no fun to be charged for them. I have a HotSpot-WDG login that requires being relatively close to a WiFi antenna belonging to WDG. Such an antenna is in the east anchorage here, so we dinghied there – but, antenna is turned off and the mom & pop-operated family store failed to open today (normally they would be open 6AM – 11AM). We then tooled along to the Hilton resort nearby, yes, they had WiFi and yes, normally non-hotel folks could purchase WiFi access – but not today. This is not so good. We dinghied back up to the anchorage and discovered that Maluhia has a pay-as-you-go Vini Data card on one of their iPhones. This is an alternative to WDG WiFi and will have much longer range and reach given the pervasive nature of the Vini cellular phone system on the islands and the distance that cell phone signals will travel; of course it’s also significantly more expensive, somewhat slower, and data-limited as compared to WDG WiFi – maybe I should look into the Vini Data option as well. Kristen is over on Maluhia at the moment and they are helping her get on the Vini data access. Turns out that the cellular system has been upgraded and now runs at 3G speeds, which is nice.
Plans are afoot to have a dinner on Cinnabar tonight, Sylvia is making up pasta bolognese (spaghetti and meat sauce), hopefully everyone else brings something to suit. That should be fun!
All is good at this end!