Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Arrival in Tahiti

We were sorry to have to leave the Tuamotos as they tick so many of our "ultimate destination" boxes: Not crowded, calm anchorages, swimming, walking, snorkeling, temperatures around 28c and stunning scenery and great sailing but we have to keep moving west so that we can arrive in Australia before cyclone season around early November. 

Having checked the weather for our 250 mile passage to Papeete, Tahiti we decided that Saturday would be a good day to go - winds forecast to be in the 12-15 knot range on our starboard quarter and seas around 2m. If we left it any later the the high pressure system making its way from New Zealand might give us winds in the 30knot range and seas above 4m, a bit more than we like. We awoke early, ship-shaped the boat (stowed everything securely) and made our way from Hirifa, SE Fakarava to the south pass of the atoll where we had a good exit with about 3knots of current against us through the pass and flat seas.

Once out of the pass the winds were 17knots out of the SE, with a reef in both sails we cleared the island and made a rhumb line course for Papeete. Over the next few hours the winds built to 22-25knots and a wind angle of about 155degrees and seas 2-2.5m. We poled out the headsail and prevented out the main and got ready for nightime. We made excellent time, probably our best ever downwind passage as we averaged 7.6knots on the whole journey sometimes briefly reaching 9knots going down the face of a wave.

Downwind sailing at its best - fast and flat
 We rounded point Venus on the north east of the island in the dark and opted to go straight into the marina rather than anchor in a bay close to point Venus. Normally we have a rule not to enter a strange harbor in the dark but our friends on Enough advised us that the harbour is clear and well lit so in we went and sure enough, pardon the pun, our friends were there waving a light towards a slip next to them in the new marina. We were glad to tie up to a dock as its been nearly 4 months since we were last tied up to a dock.

We are now all looking forward to exploring the island and going shopping for fresh fruit and vegetables and other things we have been missing like chocolate. We are also looking forward to seeing Jude's sister and niece who arrive here in Tahiti on the 25th!!!!        

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