Papeete Marina 2018

2018 was a busy year in the Papeete marina in Tahiti. It’s interesting hearing people’s stories. A flow of boats, which were mainly yachts, arrived from North America, South America and from the Caribbean via the Panama canal. Many passed through Tahiti continuing a western route to places like New Zealand, Fiji and Australia. Some travel in the opposite direction, having pounded against the wind and current. More yachties than ever have taken advantage of the fact that a foreign registered boat can remain in French Polynesian waters for three years as a yacht in transit. This allows ample opportunities, to explore the vast area that makes up French Polynesia.

It hasn’t always been a happy time. For some people, ill health has shattered dreams, forcing the sale of yachts. Yachts have returned to the marina dismasted.

Others have hit coral reefs causing damage below the water line. A yacht based in the marina hit a container and sank, so never made it back. The owner was airlifted to safety.
One man sailed back to the marina from the Tuamotus where his wife had drowned.
Yachts have been towed into the marina and out of the marina with broken engines or steering problems.

It certainly focuses the mind. There is no room for complacency as a sailor.

Being in the heart of the city, the Papeete marina has become the obvious place to touch base on arrival or to return to for reprovisioning and repairs.

After a time at sea, hot showers, washing machines and the use of the Wi-Fi in the air conditioned marina sitting room, are greatly appreciated. Most boats are plugged into the electrics and potable water on their pontoon berth. The marina staff are happy to collect the marina fees.

It’s pretty normal to see someone high up on their mast or deep down in the bowels of their boat trying to fix a problem.

Washing, cleaning and provisioning are on going chores.

Many yachties zip around town on fold up bikes. Dinghies are usually redundant in the marina but often require attention.

Unfortunately, over the course of the year, there have been a spate of burglaries from a number of boats in the Papeete marina. Large boats and small have been targeted. No one has been caught.

The last group of five yachts left the marina on the 3rd of January this year. The boats were loaded onto a yacht transporter, an increasingly popular option for long haul sailing, if you can afford it!

This year, 2019, the marina building complex is being expanded. The area has been fenced off and construction work is underway. It will be interesting to see the results.

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Merry Christmas.

It’s that time of the year again. The Christmas holiday season is in full swing.

I think the shops and market have done well this year.

The military personnel on board “He Ping Fang Zhoo” a Chinese registered hospital ship, enjoyed a few days R&R in Papeete. Talk about “shop till they drop”. As it left the port of Papeete on the morning of the 24th December, I think the ship’s plimsoll line was almost awash due to the weight of Christmas presents.

Prior to their arrival two Navy ships from South Korea had decorated their vessels with lights and bunting, as had a number of cruise ships.

Super yachts arrived and departed all adorned with helicopters.

The Paofai Park decorations looked pretty.

Many holiday events have taken place in the grounds of the park including Children’s activities, Music and train rides.

The park itself looked beautiful with many trees in full bloom.

Elsewhere, people relaxed on the beaches, played boules and enjoyed ice cream.

Tonight is Christmas eve and families will be celebrating with a feast, the European way.

Tomorrow, we will enjoy our Christmas. We hope the weather will allow us to go for a cycle ride and swim. My new electric bike is pretty awesome.

Fortunately, it arrived before Christmas, so I won’t have to worry if Santa gets stuck in a traffic jam.

Under water wonders.

Moorea. French Polynesia.

Last week off the beautiful island of Moorea, wearing mask and snorkels, we swam with Whales. After a briefing from the professional duo, we quietly entered the ocean to watch the females interacting with their young. They would come up to the surface to breath, then go down to about ten meters to rest. When we departed on the boat, one mother waggled her tail in the air to say farewell. Beautiful mammals.
We then went inside the reef to see the rays and sharks. As I entered the water, I was enveloped by a ray the size of a dustbin lid. It felt like a soft, rubbery, velvet embrace.

We had an amazing day with these people. Check out their website

We have scuba dived for years and been in awe of the wonders of nature underwater. One of our pleasures is hunting for Nudibranchs and, OK, looking for slugs isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but these sea slugs are exotic and beautiful. We’ve been dissapointed to have only spotted a few minute, plain white nudibranchs whilst diving in French Polynesia.

Thinking nothing could compare to our thrilling experience watching the enormous whales, I was stunned to notice a tiny rare treasure on the pontoon pilon where our yacht Shiraz is berthed in the Papeete marina in Tahiti.

This needed further investigation.

The tiny animal was a few feet under the surface, it could have been a sea sponge but I was sure I could see gills on it’s upper body suggesting that it was a Nudibranch. This would be such a rare discovery. It required an underwater shot.

It was indeed a Nudibranch.
Next morning the animal was grazing on the pilon water line. We couldn’t believe our eyes.
With clear water, I snapped away with my phone camera.

I’m still trying to identify the species. John thinks there are others on the pilon. Truly amazing.

Yachtlings

With the sun lowering in the sky, it took a few moments to see the three little yachtlings emerge from the super yacht.

They fluttered their sails and after a few tense moments were ripping over the water.

And racing.

Competition was fierce, egged on by the yacht crew whose laughter filled the air.

As light was fading, they really had the hang of sailing.

I hope they made it back to the safety of their mother ship.

Back to school in Tahiti.

You can build robots as an after school hobby. How awesome is that.

On Saturday, more than 70 stands were set up in the alleyways surrounding the Cathedral of Papeete.

In this one area, parents could meet the associations offering a wide range of extra curricular school activities. Spoilt by choice, it must have been exciting yet difficult making enrolment decisions.

In my day, there wasn’t a lot on offer. I was a Girl Guide and a member of the swimming club.

Curious to find out more, I went along for a peek.

Dancing

Theatre

Music

I thought this was something to do with vampires! But it was for drum and percussion lessons.

Martial arts proved very popular.

Sports on land, not just football and golf.

Watersports

Scouts

Foreign languages

Japanese and Chinese classes.

Arts and crafts. I think the parents had as much fun as the kids.

Help if needed.

And of course sticky buns.

Having been a brownie, I had to buy some chocolate brownies of course. Delicious.