Pan-Pacific Adventure 6

Our final days in Tahiti were fittingly humorous. With just one day left on
the schedule be bode a teary farewell to Marina Taina and all the yachts and
yachties to make the half hour paddle up to the customs dock in Papeete
proper. After successfully “Tahiti tying” (stern to w/ anchor out bow) to
the freeloader dock we promptly fell asleep as our carefully planned
check-out and quick provision strategy was foiled by the stark reality of a
town that shuts down at 4 o’clock. So, on the morn, at the customs dock, we
agreed w/ the port Captain to leave by 1000 hrs and stated that we had not
used electricity nor power. By 1100 hours we were still happily tied up with
the hose and power cable streaming out onto the dock when the port Captain,
bless him, comes charging down the sea-walk yelling “HAIL ZULU!! YOU GO, YOU GO NOW!!” He looked like a bit of a Zulu warrior himself… needless to say
we cut loose double time and puttered off wondering what to do now that we
had been officially kicked out of the country. Well we did what any prudent
and sensible mariner would do: We looked at the unfavourable winds, heard
the beckoning call of Tahiti again, and went round the corner to drop the
anchor.

Now after a lovely last snorkel on the reef and a final run around the
village for vegetables we went to sleep with the full intention of leaving
the next morning. Morning comes, I head to the bow and start the anchor
windlass; the anchor chain seems to be getting heavier and heavier… what
could it be? Have we snagged a rock? Picked up a log? Or hooked a neighbours
line? The sickening truth rises slowly to the surface like one to many
tequila shots; we had, on our CQR a 21/2 inch power supply cable that appeared to be under a decidedly unhealthy amount of tension. We lost our boat hook messing around with it and finally drew straws to get in the water and attach a trip line. I got the short straw. Anyways we got it off and were finally able to
leave Tahiti with each one of us secretly looking over our shoulder, waiting
for the port Captain to come chasing us down, “ZULU, You go now”!

After a speedy 32 hour crossing we arrived in Rangiroa. Well oh my god this
one huge atoll – Tahiti herself could fit inside it. With a lagoon so
vast one cannot see the far side, and only two little navigable channels the
tide rips pretty hard. No worse than Polier on a big flood though. We were
only there for 2 full days but it was a incredibly rich experience. The
highlight was of course a snorkel trip around Passe de Tiputa where we swam
with a solitary dolphin in this expanse to total blue. Skin diving to 25+
feet with a mammal bigger than you is not something you easily forget. A
friend I had met in Tahiti happened to be there to we invited that party
over to Zulu for cocktails. I actually took the dinghy and all its 4
horsepower 5 miles in 3′ chop to get groceries and almost got sucked out the
pass in a 4 knot ebb current. I did finally manage but the whole thing was a
bit of a production, especially when you have to dodge coral heads while
coaxing the stupid thing onto a plane… I look back on all this fondly
though as Rangiroa have faded away over the horizon like some great dream.

We are back at sea and stepping into the SE trades as I type this. Bound now
for Hawaii I guess another chapter of this adventure has drawn to a close.
Already we have been through a fully developed electrical storm/squall and
caught a 65 lb Wahoo. I am now the resident sushi chef and no less
suspicious of lightening, especially when it forks down out of the sky
slamming into the sea less than 5 miles from what is essentially a 65′
lightening rod, at the bottom of which is, well, me.

All is well though as we thunder along at 7+ knots on what may be the
longest starboard tack of my life. I can’t wait to see you all but I am also
pretty thrilled at the prospect of crewing throughout the 2 week Hawaii
cruise, which is just around the corner… hope all is well in our home and
native land.

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