More about our memorable visit to Makatea on Wednesday will follow. But right now we are circling the dramatic south coast of Tahiti Iti, the peninsula of SE Tahiti.
We set off yesterday morning from Makatea with a perfect breeze on the port beam. But as darkness fell the sky clouded over and we has a frustrating night of wind from almost every direction, rain, black skies despite the big moon, and a very unsettled sea. Reefs in and out, engine on and off. With a crew of 5 now we had the luxury of only 2 hour watches. This morning, as so often is the case, the squalls have abated and we see blue sky ahead.
The island of Tahiti is green and mountainous, 2 volcanic cones (segmented by steep valleys) which are joined by a low isthmus. There is no road around the SE side of Tahiti Iti. Sheer bright green slopes fall down straight to the coast, with waterfalls cascading in the gullies. There is a reef fringing the shore, about 1 mile wide all around the coast. We can see waves breaking on the reef and white clouds of spume, warning us of the shallower water.
Now we have turned the corner of the southern tip and suddenly the motion of Tintin is much easier as we move with the swell and wind. Our plan is to navigate through a pass in the reef and make our way up to Phaeton Bay and anchor for the night in the shelter of the isthmus. Tomorrow we will continue to Papeete, 30 miles away on the NW side of Tahiti Nui (the larger part of the island) where we will rendezvous with the rest of the ARC fleet over the following few days. We are looking forward to catching up with crews we haven't seen for weeks. It will be our first marina berthing since Panama City in February, and a chance for us to tackle the list of boat maintenance jobs in a stable boat.