WIDAGO is on the move again, this time heading direct for Fiji.
After two awesome months in French Polynesia, we have weighed anchor and set a course for Fiji. Unfortunately we will miss the Cook Islands, Niue, and the Kingdom of Tonga, as we are jumping ahead of the fleet, giving me a window of time fly back to the States to be with family. Bummed to miss those spots, but glad to have a chance to see my folks & sibs.
Brief review of island hopping through the Society Islands:
1. Unless you have unlimited time, or a time machine, or you plan to stay in the South Pacific for several years, pick your stops wisely. There are literally thousands of little islands, atolls, and individual spots, anchorages, bays, and villages that are all incredible. Too many to see in a lifetime. We chose fewer stops with longer stays, because that works best for our crew. Nothing wrong with moving everyday, but that can be a punishing schedule.
2. Tahiti. It’s a launching point, not necessarily a destination. We stayed in Papeete at the main city docks for almost two weeks. I think it rained, deluge downpour, 11 of 14 days thanks to our buddy El Niño. A good spot to reprovision – there are a couple large Carefour markets to restock your freezer and pantry. If your are a wide cat like us, it is one of only a few places in all of the South Pacific to get hauled out of the water. Raiatea is another option for hauling out, but services are much more limited. Food Trucks in front of the Tourist Center are fun, but for a great French meal our favorite was The Sully. Don’t miss.
3. Once you get yourself organized, leave Tahiti ASAP. We made stops in Moorea and Huahine prior to meeting WARC fleet in Raiatea. The southernmost anchorages, if your boat can manage shallower drafts, were awesome for hanging out on the hook. Great shark/ray snorkel just past Intercontinental in Moorea. Once I get a good connection, I’ll post the video. Ridiculous visibility. Huahine had a nice looking surf break at the pass entrance (be courteous to locals), and a surprising large grocery to top off your freezer or if you’re lucky, some fresh veg beyond cabbage.
4. Raiatea. We didn’t stay long, as the birthing situation and weather were not great. We were lucky to grab a mooring ball on the north side. Not my favorite island, however we had the BEST CAESAR SALAD and THIN CRUST PIZZA in months. Can’t remember the restaurant name, but I’m pretty sure there is only one Italian restaurant on the island. Not in main town, but closer to northern end. Be sure to call for reservations. Chef lets the kids make their own pizza. Very nice.
5. Bora Bora. Without a doubt, our absolute favorite place (so far) on the world circumnavigation. It is hard to describe water, except that it was way beyond my expectations. We only draw about 5 feet (1.5 meters), so after a night on the west side (deep, and on a mooring ball) we went over the top and around the eastern side, almost to the southern tip. We sat on anchor in 7 feet of turquoise water for days. The boys finally got to play on the ISUPs behind the dingy, Guyon brought out the drone (hence the awesome overhead photo), even a hike for me. FYI don’t expect to get access to any of the tiki hut over the water resorts. We only found one place (Intercontinental) that offered a day pass. Definitely not worth it for us, as it didn’t give access to the pool. Can’t say’s I blame them, as we would have come in like a typhoon and disturbed the honeymooners’ tranquility. On the east side, be sure to eat at St. James (shrimp curry yum!) as well as Maikai Marina YC (say hi to Jessica her hubs Chef Teava). Also there is a fantastic pastry/deli take away right behind the St. James. Citrus tarts, leek quiche, and freshly made chicken cutlet wraps set us up for our 12 day passage to Fiji.
So now we are just over a third through our passage to Fiji. All is well on board with the exception of Big Blue. Last night at about 2:30am (why? Always at night?) in relatively moderate winds (18-20kts), she did done blow out again. Mother scratcher! We spent today and tonight motor sailing with Genoa, dodging squalls, but making good progress with the help of some westerly current. Once we get to Fiji, I reckon Ahab will bust out some duct tape and bubble gum to see if he can patch up ole Whomper. In the meantime, Black Beauty will move to the starting position as we find the trades and head downwind to Fiji.