Avoiding some weather and diving

We’ve been struggling a bit with time and bandwidth to get more posts up and we know you are eager for more updates about our adventure. We’ll have more updates for our travels through the Society Islands, but I think you’ll like some fun dive photos first.

We made our way from Tahiti to Moorea to Huahine, when it looked like some strong winds and weather were headed our way. Take a look at the system from our PredictWind weather app:


We are just west of Papeete in the red area with 25+ knots of wind. We crossed from Huahine Saturday morning July 7th and tucked into Faaroa Bay on Raiatea. It looked well protected from the wind and has one of the few navigable rivers (really creek) in French Polynesia. As we set our anchor, a local man James paddled up in his kayak and encouraged us to come down the river and see his family plantation. Everyone was hungry for lunch, so we made some sandwiches and lowered the dinghy.

After lunch, we hopped in as James paddled over again and guided us through the shallow spots and twigs down the buggy river (oops, we forgot the bug spray again) to the plantation. At this point, we didn’t know if he was trying to sell us some fruit or something else, but he seemed friendly enough and knew the way. We passed several homes and arrived at a concrete ramp near another old boat and a pile of coconut husks.

James guided us up the hill, pointing out pineapples, guava, orange, and a particularly smelly noni fruit that is popular with some locals supposedly.  It looks enticing, but trust me it smells awful. We’re not sure if it was a bad specimen or this is normal. None of us were willing to try a bite after smelling it.


Anyhow, James continued the tour and told us the local legends of the islands and mountains and how they came to be while showing us the rest of the gardens spread across the hills of his family’s property. He even brought us a branch of some tiny red peppers that turned out to be very hot and very good in our Thai coconut fish dinner and picked some oranges from the trees for us. We returned to the river where he opened and shared several coconuts with us and thanked us for coming. We were very grateful for his generosity. He was a happy guy who likes to paddle around the bay and show visitors the land and how they live.

There wasn’t much else to do in the bay, it the wind was predicted to come around to the south-east and shoot straight up the bay so we eyed more protected anchorages in north Raiatea or Tahaa. Buddy boat Manna had tucked into Faaha Bay on Tahaa, but let us know the wind was coming straight in, so we decided to head around to the northeast side of Raiatea to Marina Apooiti for the best protection.

This turned out to be a great decision. While the water is 80+ feet deep around the marina, they had at least 8 moorings available for rent as well as space on the guest dock. We picked up a float as we didn’t want to worry about security or slapping water at the dock.  The marina is also home to the comings and goings of Tahiti Yacht Charters, Sunsail, and the Moorings. We have a feeling we’ll be back someday. They also have WiFi, a laundry room, and a dive operation, Hemisphere Sub. Things were looking up.

While the weather rolled in and we sat in our rainy, but protect anchorage we took care of laundry and email, all the while eyeing the dive boats heading out every morning and afternoon. I also pulled out the folding bike and rode two miles into town at Uturoa to get some fresh bread and investigate rental cars. Finally, with a few chores out of the way (they are never done), we decided to get a rental car for an island tour on Tuesday and book a dive for Wednesday. We’ll talk about the island in another post someday.

Kyra wasn’t interested in diving this time, so I, Satin and Camille signed up. Wednesday morning Camille had a bit of a cold so she decided not to go after all. We met at the office at 8 am to gear up and head to the western reef between Raiatea and Tahaa. Both islands are enclosed by a single reef system. Despite the stormy weather, the conditions were nice around the reef with good clarity.  We saw sharks, bright coral, coral fish, and many other cool sea critters.  Check it out:

After returning they let us know the next dive would be a wreck of the 3-masted schooner the Nordby around the corner from Uturoa. Satin decided not to go, but I can never turn down a wreck dive. It was directly off the bungalows from a shuttered resort and unfortunately, the visibility wasn’t so good.  But there was still plenty to see, and we got to swim through the hull and get close up views of more cool sea life.

Overall we had a great stay in Apooiti and fun diving to go with it.  We can’t believe our stay in French Polynesia will be over soon and we’ll try to catch up on posts during our passage to Rarotonga next week.


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