Fast ferry.

For months there’s been talk and speculation of a new fast Aremiti ferry replacing the old one which shuttles between Moorea and Tahiti.
The Aremiti 5 has for the last 15 years provided transportation primarily for workers and school pupils, between Moorea and Papeete, the capital of Tahiti.

With three rotations a day, it was quite a fast service taking about 45 minutes dock to dock.
People were quite emotional at the thought of loosing their old ferry. It held memories of their school days. Some travelled daily, getting up at the crack of sparrows and getting home late, others were weekly boarders.

Complete with boom boxes the teenagers gather at the ferry dock for their trip home.
The new Aremiti 6 described as the jewel of the Degage Group was built in the Austal shipyard in the Philippines. Without much fanfare, it arrived in Papeete on the 26th August, did a few spins, then tied up longside the container dock.
There was a bit of controversy over tax duty and competition with the Terevau Vodafone ferry but once sorted, it was ready for action.
The new ferry can carry up to 550 passengers plus 5 cars or 30 two wheelers, which is the same as the Aremiti 5.
Boasting a faster and more efficient service, the Aremiti 6 is under pressure to perform.
With 7 rotations a day, it must rotate between the two islands in 25 minutes. This includes embarkation, the channel crossing and disembarkation.
I wondered how they could achieve this without breaking the Port control speed limits of 5 knots.
The sea was a bit rough for the inaugural crossing on Friday September 6th. An enthusiastic traveller noted that the first channel crossing from the Papeete pass to the Moorea pass took just 18 minutes.
On Monday 9th September the Aremiti 6 went into service leaving at 5am from Moorea, where it is now based.
The last trip of the day is at 17.30 from Tahiti.

From the start, it was pretty obvious that this new high speed service would be problematic. In the Papeete marina, we are shaken in our beds as the yachts rock and roll at 5.30 am heralding the arrival of Aremiti 6. We are rolled around by the huge wake as the ferry storms into its loading dock, breaking the Port’s 5 knot limit by as much as 10 knots. It might be a great new experience for the Aremiti 6 crew and passengers but it won’t be long before the flimsy marina pontoons fall apart. The marina staff have made a complaint to the Port authorities after just two days in service.

It will be interesting to see what happens next.

Meanwhile, we say a little farewell to the Aremiti 5. Her last emotional trip was on the 8th September.
Unfortunately there are no buyers, we hope she won’t be left to rot at the Papeete ferry Dock.
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Ferry trip.

Recently on a bright sunny day, we decided to have a change of scenery and visit Moorea which is Tahiti’s little sister Island.

Along with our bikes, we boarded the ‘Aremiti 2’ ferry from the Papeete ferry terminal in Tahiti. It’s a short journey, taking less than an hour.

I was pleased to have “Vertigo” my electric bike. The first challenge of getting up the steep ferry ramp was made easy, I felt quite chuffed that I didn’t have to push it up there.

John’s a fit cyclist, who speeds along on his road bike, so I was able to set a reasonable pace along the road on Vertigo.

We stopped at various places to admire the beautiful sea view. We have anchored our yacht around some of these areas.

It was lovely to join local families and bathe in the warm, clear water. Quiet and peaceful it was not. We had picked a day when the holiday kids club was organising a trip to Moorea as well. The air was filled with joyous shouts and laughter of the youngsters enjoying their day out. Wonderful to hear.
After a lovely day, we peddled back to the ferry. On the return crossing, over 200 young children were singing their hearts out. It was delightful singing. The children’s faces lit up as they were each handed a small cake by the group organisers. It’s the little things in life that make me smile. I thought it was all rather lovely.

Ferry leaving Papeete Port

Ferry going through the Papeete pass.

Ferry in the distance approaching Moorea.

Perfect day in paradise.

Moorea is Tahiti’s little sister island.

On Thursday, we entered the Vaiare pass, dodged the ferry and joined a couple of other yachts in the anchorage area inside the lagoon.

We are quite close to the Sofitel . The hotel prices are horrendous. The beautiful public Temae beach extends way past the hotel grounds.

Sofitel bungalows extending out over the reef.

Near the hotel inside the lagoon is a large coral garden. It is protected by the PGEM (Le Plan de Gestation de l’Espace Maritime) The area’s gorgeous to bimble around with a mask and snorkel.

Hanging up the suit to dry after a long snorkel through the coral gardens.

Sunday morning was so relaxing. Sunny weather and crystal clear water.

More boats arrived. Locals and visitors took to the water and had fun.

Fun and laughter from the kids on the nearby yachts. Even an Eagle ray swimming past.

Local families out and about.
Tahiti in the background.
Hire boat
View towards the pass
Dive boat with holiday makers.

Kind friends had been to the supermarket in their dinghy and bought over a couple of baguettes, marvellous people.

I doubt there will be many days so perfect as this.

Jitters

Folks in the sailing community around Tahiti and Moorea have the jitters. Huddled groups with serious faces discuss the weather and only a token few are British. It’s the cyclone season. Meaning our little bit of paradise called home, could be at risk.

A couple of weeks ago, a number of Papeete Marina pontoons were badly damaged and some boat fenders burst when the swell came in.

The recent grim weather forecast for lashings of wind, rain and swell have driven folks out of the marina. Preferring to seek refuge in known boltholes in the lagoons around Tahiti and Moorea. The marina was eerily quiet over the weekend.

Empty berths in the Papeete marina

Just one yacht here

Predicting the effects of the weather, particularly with a convergence zone, is notoriously difficult. It follows no pattern; a bit like me and my map reading skills. We then have to decide what effect the conditions will have in the marina. With John’s skilled knowledge, hunched over the computer deciphering the weather, we opted to stay in the marina.

Most yachts are tied securely to the pontoons.

It has poured with rain for days. I’ve checked on the welfare of the solitary Muscovy Duck who also opted to stay in the marina. Poor thing has been so wet, bedraggled and miserable, plucking out feathers in despair. I don’t like the idea of a wild animal becoming dependant on humans but in time of need… Some rustic whole meal bread, seeds and grain have been gratefully swooped on, with an appreciative little tail waggle. From the duck not me, I hasten to add. I ignored the raised eyebrow from John, as he compared his bland subsidised baguette to the duck’s wholesome delicacy.

The poor Muscovy Duck

Last night the wind was due to peak and head straight into the cockpit. Lucky for us, in the evening, the cruise ship “Marina” appeared. It was 12 hours earlier than scheduled and formed the perfect windshield for us all.

Early arrival of the “Marina” cruise ship. Happy days.

By morning the wind had dropped off and changed direction. The rain had eased a little. The smell of kippers for breakfast wafted across from the cruise ship. The Polynesian dancers, were braving the elements to greet the guests. The place was noisy and vibrant once more.

We are not complacent. It’s the swell that wrecks the pontoons and brings along with it tree trunks and debrey. We have yet to have that event. Our fingers are crossed.

Day 5 “Connect” Tag your photo.

The Instructions

Be sure to tag today’s post — and your posts in general — appropriately.

I visited the Papeete Market in Tahiti early this morning. I love the vibrant atmosphere. Despite the rain, everyone was in a jovial mood.

Inside the Papeete Market.

The Sunday market is always special as it’s the Farmers’ Market. It connects the people from the many French Polynesian Islands together for a good old chin wag .

There’s a the core of regular stallholders who operate inside the market complex on a daily basis. At 4 am, the rest of the traders set their stalls up in allocated spots along the streets which surround the market building.

Produce from the Marquesas
Cucumbers any one.
Home grown and carefully prepared products for sale.
Families visit the market early in the morning.

Tahiti has a large Chinese population whose presence has been here for a number of generations. There are many stall holders of Chinese and Polynesian descent. The community is interconnected.

I always buy my herbs from these lovely people.

I realised as I lugged my cache back to the marina, that I had bought far more fruit and vegetables than I intended. The produce was all so fresh. Everyone was so happy, friendly and connected.

Fabulous fresh fruit and vegetables. Pineapple from Moorea, Citrons and Pamplemousse from the Marquesas, Avocado’s, Courgettes, White Radish, Cucumbers, Tomatoes,Passionfruit, Bananas, basil from Tahiti. All from the Farmers Market in Papeete

Day 3 “Water” Image orientation.

The Instructions

When composing today’s photo of water, experiment with both horizontal (landscape) and vertical (portrait) orientations.


Today I had fun playing around with my Galaxy S8 phone camera. I took landscape /portrait photos using different water themes.

Some photos were quite pretty but it was difficult to decide whether I preferred the landscape or portrait shots of the image. I think this was because the photos were too busy.

In the end I deliberately selected an unattractive scene.

Landscape Image

I actually quite liked the landscape, horizontal image. It showed the rocks in the foreground, the river estuary and nautical feature in the mid section, with the sea leading out to the Island of Moorea in the background.

Horizontal image of estuary. Moorea in the background.

Portrait Image

There was a lot of sky and foreground rocks in the vertical image. The background was insignificant.

Vertical image of estuary.

So Which One

Both photos could be used, each portrayed a different message.

Not sure what any one else thinks?