From Le Capitaine | October 17, 2012

Position: 17°28’ 51.2S, 149°48’ 12.7W – Moorea, by the pool

I've just been beaten badly at cards by the First Mate, and my punishment is to do a blog post.
That was 2 hours ago, and so far I've only written one sentence but spent 1.5 hrs googling marine maintenance. Very interesting but the First Mate is on my case again, so best persevere...

30 mins later, i've got this far...

Leaving Auckland. Do it. Do it now.
We left in Spring (September) but as it turned out, spent most of the time running with following seas trying to go as slow and controlled as we could while maintaining enough speed to surf with the swell instead of being pushed about like a hockey puck.
The first week was tough. Average wind speed was 25 with regular gusts of 30+ and the sea built up accordingly.  Each hour we'd monitor the average and gust speed by staring at the instruments hoping to see a 1 or 2 as the first digit but be disappointed by seeing a '3' and occasionally a '4'.

There is a Sweeney in there somewhere.
Flying the Mayo colours for Sam. Shame.
First customer at Salon de Miley
The day the sun came out
6 knots with just a hanky up.
First night in Papeete harbour
Tucked up in Marina Taina

A summary of the trip from Auckland. Based on route planning information and reports from others, we had two choices for sailing to Papeete. Leave Auckland in Autumn / spring and have an 'uphill slog to windward'  Or, leave in Spring and have a slow passage with light winds.

Out of 23 days at sea, one day was becalmed and of the remaining, we only had full sail up for 1.5 of them. The conservative approach paid off and we thankfully didn't have any damage to the sails, steering or hull. We arrived two days ahead of schedule into Papeete after three final days of magic sailing due north slowing down to arrive at day break.

Arriving in Papeete, Tahiti took a bit of planning. The island is surrounded by a reef, and so we had to negotiate our first reef pass. These are safest just after low tide when the lagoon inside stops rushing out to the open sea. The harbour is confined and so the harbour master keeps tight control on traffic in and out of the pass. Then, once through the pass, there was a lot of confusion about where we go to do the relevant jobs of 1. park the boat, and 2. clear into the country. This is normally a one stop shop, but the Tahiti officials have somehow split it across four different offices & officials.

I'm beyond useless at French, but luckily for me, it turns out the First Mate  is quite handy at it. Ever since we lined up for the approach to Papeete, I've taken a back seat and done as directed by Madame Eithne. While it's been a welcome break from the skippering responsibilities, I've been a little frustrated playing the role of a hapless mute while Eithne babbles on with all the locals. I've progressed from " j'ai un petit peu francais" to "francais pas tres bien" and finally to " mon francais- c'est terrible" to which the gentlemen at customs replied "oui". Every time I try to speak French I get a noun or two out then all the rest is in Chinese. Eithne has been awesome at getting all the formalities and repairs organised as well as taking control of all the radio work. Meanwhile I've really improved my mandarin.

After a hectic first week ashore, we're finally on holiday at a beautiful tropical island. We've slowed right down, rested and gotten lazy. It's nice.


  1. Great keeping up with the blog posts and Bon Voyage! (Myles, you can get Eithne to translate that last bit).