Quick Fix: 17° 32.16 S / 149° 25.83 W
July 28th
2013 (day 2,249)
Conditions:  Wind: 15/SE  Sky: Sunny

A Perfect Polynesian Picnic
Today we left Dream Time anchored in the lee of Point Venus, sheltered in Matavai Bay, and with local friends Gilles and Susie drove inland, trundling up the Papeno'o Valley in a 4x4 truck, deep into the rich, peaceful interior of Tahiti Nui. We stopped to hike, clambering through damp jungle and over giant moss-covered boulders to bathe in a clear pool under the Topatari Waterfall. Later Gilles found an idyllic picnic spot, a Zen garden of smooth volcanic rocks and soft black sand on the bank of the gurgling Papeno'o River. We spent a lazy afternoon eating crispy baguettes, roasted chicken and dim sum dumplings, sipping chilled Rosé wine by a fire, and watching white tropical long-tailed Phaeton birds ride thermals between the peaks - perfect.
- NH




 



Quick Fix: 17° 31.39 S / 149° 32.12 W
July 22nd
2013 (day 2,243)
Conditions:  Wind: 25-35/E-SE  Sky: Partly Sunny

Watching Waves
Dream Time is fully provisioned and ready to sail, but a huge wave of high pressure has brought thirty-five knot winds and fifteen foot swell to the area - now is not the time to begin a passage to the Cook Islands. So instead we rented a car and drove south, to see one of the most powerful and spectacular displays of hydraulics imaginable. It's literally at the end of the road, on the wild, surf beaten black volcanic shoreline of Tahiti Iti. Where the Tirahi River spills down through the ancient craggy folds of Mount Ronui and into open ocean. Over thousands of years the fresh water has carved a passage through solid reef, resulting in an awesome break known as Teahupoo. Surfers come from around the world just to ride this gnarly wave. We're more than happy just to watch. - NH







 

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Day 2,237 - Tahiti (17° 29.9S 149° 29.8W)
13:49hrs - July 16th 2013
Our Favorite Anchorage In The World (so far)

A week ago we waved goodbye to Fakarava, it was a particularly emotional departure for us because, since we left New York 2,237 days ago, we've spent a whopping 10% of our time anchored there, a total of 228 days to be exact. For a foreign-flagged cruising vessel this could well be a record.

Fakarava, much of which is uncharted, rests quietly in the middle of the South Pacific, lost amongst a network of hidden reefs and atolls avoided by early mariners. But for us, the ring of islands and reef that embrace this lagoon have been a sanctuary, and strangely, after sailing over 23,000 nautical miles we feel more familiar and comfortable in this remote atoll, than any other anchorage we've visited in the world, even those back home in the Long Island Sound. In fact, it's safe to say that we've spent more time anchored within Fakarava's sheltered lagoon than we have anywhere else in the thirteen years we have owned Dream Time.

Long before we setoff to explore the world by sea, when the life we're now living was a distant dream, one that seemed to exist only in fiction, there was a destination I imagined, one far removed from our busy, complicated lives. A remote paradise sheltered from the world's troubles, a quiet, peaceful place where time was marked only by the passing of sun and moon, and the slow, steady undulation of tides. And in my mind, although it didn't have a name or coordinates, this paradise embodied everything I was searching for.

We found it in 2009, in French Polynesia, during our first South Pacific crossing, and such was its appeal that, against winds and currents, we left New Zealand in 2011 heading east along lattitude 35 degrees south, and weathering a gale, thirty-foot seas and suffering a broken forestay, sailed over three thousand nautical miles just to return, and it was a decision we do not regret. In fact, now that we're heading west again, crossing the South Pacific for a second time, we're already considering doing it all over again next year.

So this isn't really 'farewell Fakarava', it's more like, 'we'll see you again soon'.

 
 

 
 
 

Two years in the dangerous archipelagoes, & thanks to Steiner's advanced optics, it's been clear sailing!
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Quick Fix: 16° 31.43 S / 145° 28.45 W
July 6th
2013 (day 2,227)
Conditions:  Wind: 18/SE  Sky: Partly Cloudy

If You Build It, They Will Carve On It
The old sun bleached planking we used to build a beach bar last month (see blog), already has eighteen boat names carved into its surface. The font styles and designs are as diverse as the characters who have traveled here, sailors from around the world - an assortment of cruisers who, like us, have recognized that this anchorage is special, that perhaps this is the paradise they've been searching for. Most nights, on this little uninhabited island in the South Pacific, dinghies line the pink sand beach as cruisers congregate around a fire to watch the sun set, share a few drinks, and swap stories. Ultimately we all move on, such is the nature of cruising, but maybe, by carving our names onto Sud Bar, at least a little part of us gets to stay behind. - NH




 



Quick Fix: 16° 30.94 S / 145° 27.82 W
July 3rd
2013 (day 2,224)
Conditions:  Wind: 25-35/N  Sky: Overcast/Squally

Local Knowledge
There are few places you can hide in an open lagoon when strong wind shifts to every point of the compass - at some point you'll be against a lee shore and in for an unpleasant experience.
We're in south Fakarava riding out gale-force gusts from the north, and while the three other cruising boats anchored nearby are miserable, pitching so wildly their bows scoop the tops off waves that sweep down the lagoon, we've found a little santuary, a sweet spot, mostly known only to the locals. Our bow is tied to a dive mooring, our stern is secured to an old ship's anchor, and Dream Time, surrounded by reef and islands, is resting comfortably. We've been anchored in Fakarava now a total of 223 days, we're practically locals, and even in these conditions, we still feel right at home here. - NH