Much has changed on Slick since the last blog post and I apologize for the length in between updates, and the length of this update (so I have headed each island). The biggest and hardest change has been the departure of Nathan. He headed home from Tahiti shortly after my brother Sean and nephew Zach arrived for personal reasons. We are certainly missing him and his sailing ability. Slick may lose her rocket ship title is he doesn’t return soon.


We stayed in Tahiti for about a week after Sean and Zach arrived, leaving on a Tuesday, June 26th. Tahiti was a good introduction to the South Pacific for them since it was not too different and big enough to find things, which is what we spent the whole time doing. The agency gave us a rather terrible map and we tried to find the hardware store, Sean and I walked all over downtown Papeete only to find that the map was marked incorrectly and the two Ace Hardware Stores where across the street from one another. Another difficult item to find apparently anywhere is Type F ATF as we are slowly leaking it from the reversing gear and I am now out. We went out for my birthday too, the guys from Ardea came as well and we all went back to the microbrewery with the good cheeseburgers, only this time the burgers where pretty bad. It was a nice time though. Axel from GudwenV brought me a small wooden tiki and now it gets hidden about the boat in plain site. But we wanted to see more of Tahhhhhiti. On Saturday I “reserved” a car as I would in the outer islands. Sunday we came back and it was taken by someone else. So we decided to go to the museums because they were supposed to be open. When we asked the cabby to take us to the Polynesian museum he replied “Why?” Turns out that the previous month or something they decided to close them on Sundays. Thanks for the info, internet. At this point I had had enough big city so we left for Moorea, but only after discovering a small crack in a chainplate.


The sail over to Moorea was uneventful and my new crew decided to go take naps while I handled the boat. I found this odd, since they had come all this way to see the South Pacific. Anyway, we pulled into Cook’s Bay (Pao Pao) and anchored all the way in, close to town. I went in and got some gas with the newly functioning outboard (Thanks for fixing it before you left Nate). We had a nice evening on the boat, in the quiet bay, after taking 4 attempts to anchor in what was marked as great holding. The next day we went for a hike to try to find an 8 mile loop trail. We missed it but ended up at a small waterfall. Sean and Zach’s first. It was pretty small, but a good introduction. We then hiked back from the Belvedere (which is just a lookout), so we only did half the loop trail. It was great through the forest, and we came across an escargo reserve, which I had never heard of before.

The next day we went to Opuono Bay, but anchored at the top, right by the reef. Sean finally got to teach Zach to snorkel and we met Gypsy Heart again. Zach and I ran into town and the outboard started to act real flaky. We couldn’t figure it out, but basically it acted like it was choking out. Damm, we had the car for like three whole days of function and then no more. Plus the store didn’t even have any Oeufs (no where does but everyone uses them, and there are chickens everywhere). Anyway, the snorkeling was great and so was the company. We went on a monster hike that we had heard rumors of from Ardea and a few others. Basically we started at the Bali Hai hotel and found a small trail, but it stopped before penetrating the wooded brush. We asked and the maintenance man told us to bush-whack up there and eventually in 50 meters or so we would find the trail. Well about 250 meters of vert later we found a lava fall and climbed up the pillow basalt until we did, in fact, find a “trail”. We were told this hike was pretty intense at first but short, so we as usual where wearing sandals and had about 1.5 liters of water per person. Well, It was very intense and up the side of an old volcano we went. We reached some pine trees that came out the side and climbed their roots where we took a much needed break. We though we were at the top, but this was only the start of the spine of the crater rim. Sean and Zach stayed at the trees, I should have sent them back to the boat but taken there water. I went up the rim for another hour or so. I ran out of water and it was really hot. I made it to the last false peak, out of water and already getting a headache. I ran into Chris and Robbin (I think) from Ladybug on there way down from the summit. They gave me some water and said it got real nasty real fast, and I should turn around, especially if I am already dehydrated to the point of getting headaches. Damm, beat by another mountain I wasn’t prepared for. This was tough for me as it was the second one in French Polynesia. The views were great though…


The next day, July 1st, we left for Huahine in the afternoon for an overnight sail. The moon was not quite full and there was pretty much no wind. Without Nate, I put Sean and Zach on watch at the same time, figuring that between the two of them they could figure out any problems. No worries, it was an easy night and on the morning bite, just off Huahine we brought in a 25 lb-ish Skipjack Tuna. He fed us, and others, for awhile. When we got to Huahine there was a 10-15 foot swell running and breaking across the reef. We tried to anchor downtown in Fare, but the current was too much. So we made our way down the coast, and just kept trying to anchor places, but it was either 90 feet deep or 4 feet deep and we came close to running into shallow reefs several times. Eventually we ended up in anchoring in Hapu Bay for the night and the southern anchorage was very peaceful. The next day we moved to the south end of the island, near Hotel Mahana. This was a great anchorage, but the snorkeling was not near as good as we had hoped since the current was pushing so much crap in the water. But we met some new friends from a boat named Obelisk. We told them of the rudder that I saw on Kauehi, and it turns out they new they guy it belonged to.

We rented a car the next day and drove the entirety of the island in about 3 hours. There were some pretty cool sites, but the marea here are different and there are no Tikis. We came across a place where these sacred blue eyed eels lived. We couldn’t exactly find them in the ditch, so I asked the lady at the magasin and she sold me a can of spoiled mackerel and sent me to a tree. There were probably at least a hundred of them ranging from 2-5 feet. They liked the mackerel and certainly had blue eyes. Later we toured a pearl farm and while the pearls seemed overpriced, they had some pretty amazing pottery with the glaze colored from the mother of pearl. I bought a small pitcher. We drove through Fare and did some shopping as the store was very well equipped. There was also a weight lifting competition going on, but these huge guys were only lifting maybe 185 lbs. Perhaps this was just the warm up and later would be the real power lifting. In any case we left the next day after a fish fry on Sherpa.

Raiatea and Tahaa

We came into Passe Iriru for Raiatea, hoping to anchor in Bahia Faaroa but we couldn’t really find anywhere shallow enough but not too shallow. So we continued up the coast, and eventually ended up at the town, Uturoa. This is the second biggest town in French Polynesia, apparently. We had no idea where to anchor, but we found a bunch of yachts tied to a quay, and it turned out the the main cruise ship quay was no longer used and yachts could tie up for free, So we did. We met some new people on the docks, and some of them were from Walla Walla, near where Sean and Zach came from. They ended up trading us a dinghy anchor (I really needed one) in exchange for Sean taking back some mail for them. So I thought this was great. We rented a car and drove around the island. This took about 5 minutes. But we did get to see Tapotapotea, the most sacred marea site around. It was pretty big and there was a festival going on, while we were there the bocce tournament was happening. These people love their bocce. If there is a patch of sand, there is a bocce game. That night Sean and I went to happy hour at hotel Hawaiki Nui, a short walk from town. The hour was followed by a Hula show at the hotel. When we left that we caught the last 15 minutes of the main hula show in town. There are dance competitions here that ended on Bastille day, so the show is not really for tourists, but for the dancers. In any case, it was pretty incredible. Not just the shakabilty of the dance but also the magnitude of the performance. I will try to post some video later.

The next day we found the one hike you can do in Raiatea which is something called Les 3 Cascades. We walked there and got picked up for the last 2 miles or so. At the trail head, we followed some bottles tied in the tree. This took us up river, but only to a small cascade. We blazed some trail but found nothing. On the way back, we found another trail that ran shortly up to a bamboo forest. This was incredible and we went through it for some time, but still no amazing waterfalls. We headed back and we found one last trail and decided to try it, 4 hours after we set out. Well, about half an hour up the trail the woods were pretty incredible and after an hour or so we came to some smallish waterfalls. This satisfied Zach but the trail kept going. We found the first one and it was pretty magnificent. We then had to climb up some ropes coming out the cliff, this brought us up to the second two cascades and they were set perfectly in the mountains. Zach swam a while and it was a nice freshwater shower. There was also a very friendly eel of about 3 feet in the pond, but he didn’t have blue eyes.

We provisioned a little in Uturo, it was cheaper than Tahiti for sure. I bought a spin casting rod to use in the anchorages and also finally obtained courtesy flags, even though I have been here for 2 months or so. Still no eggs though, and no Type F ATF. I did however fix the windlass, finally.

We left for Tahaa on the 8th on the word of a coming blow. We didn’t want to get slammed against the quay as it was fairly unprotected. We basically drove all over the island trying to find someplace to anchor. After about 20 miles we put the hook down in 20 feet of water just north of Passe Toahutu, 3 miles from where we started. The snorkeling was excellent though and we stayed for two nights. But we wanted to get to Dos Boras before the blow arrived.

Bora Bora

We left Tahaa and came out the Passe Pai Pai and so far this was the worst pass yet. Sean calls it the hobby-horse express. It was really rough and there were some big standing waves as the weather was building. We jib sailed to Bora2 without much issue and came in the only pass here. It was an easy one. We tried to hail the BBYC but no answer. Someone from the Maikai answered though and invited us in. Turns out moorings were free till Bastille day and they had a happy hour. We have been here since! I can’t say enough about the hospitality of Teeva and Jessica, the proprietors. They even stopped and gave us a ride when we were lost hiking. While we have been here though it has been blowing pretty hard, seeing as much as 37 knots blow through the anchorage and tons of rain too.

We only go to snorkel once and it was pretty good. We also went on a hike to two belvederes which are really radio towers in the south of the island. But the view is great. We took another hike to see some guns from World War II that were put here by Americans for defense. They were hard to find and we asked some local kids and they took us there, blazing trail up a hill then down a 4X4 road. They crazy part was not that they took us there, that was nice, what was funny is that they were not wearing any shoes and going through the forest. The boy kept stopping to give us food he was finding. The best was green (very unripe) mangoes, they tasted like sweet crab apples. We found some Thai Peppers and Sean ate one and they freaked out.

The food here is fantastic too and we got Shanghai’d by Teeva and Jessica to march in the Bastille Day Parade dressed as pirates with the Maikai. I think this was the first time I have seen a parade where no one watches it because everyone in town is in it. I finally go the outboard fixed though. It turns out that the old stop switch wire was getting wet and semi shorting and also that when the engine would rev up the barrel connector for the new electronics was coming loose. So I fixed both of those and had a fully functional car for about 5 minutes before the throttle cable broke. Oh, and do you think I can get one of those for a 1985 Johnson Seahorse here? No, of course not, so I drilled a hole in the side of the case and use the remaining wire to sort of adjust the throttle. And, today is Zach’s birthday. Anyway, I think we will try to move soon as the sun is shining and the wind is dying and we only have a few days before we set out for Rarotonga.