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.