We are stunned by the sight of so many cars, planes and buildings and immediately notice the noise and smells of a city sailing into Papetee. It’s a stark contrast with the remote Tuamotus where we spent the last month and had such an amazing time. The snorkelling, diving and swimming was spectacular. We got used to having reef sharks around the boat and even started swimming again (always with someone on shark watch). We had cosy campfires on the beach at night. The boys had daily adventures ashore and became expert coconut pickers. We all miss those beautiful atolls already.
Our passage from Tahanea takes us three days and three nights, which is longer than expected. There is not quite enough wind to keep the average speed up and we have to slow down on the second day in order not to arrive in darkness in Tahiti. This results in a slow rocky motion and for the first time in a year I am properly seasick. It lasts twenty-four hours. I still manage to do my nighttime watches but not much else. The boys are absolutely fine, no complaints at all, and play with their toys and ask regularly for snacks. Our stores are low so we eat pasta, pasta and pasta. And some baked beans.
Tahiti is surrounded by coral reefs and there are several naturally formed passes to get in through. Arriving at the Taapuna Pass in the morning, there is strong ebb tide running against us. Full power on both engines is needed to make headway. There’s a bunch of surf dudes floating on the side of the reef waiting to catch that perfect breaker, there are plenty of big waves coming in. We manage to follow the channel in and anchor just outside Marina Taine.
As soon as the anchor is kedged in we go ashore and find an Italian restaurant to indulge in a filling meal and after lunch we hit the Carrefour supermarket to buy some essentials. It’s the best stocked up supermarket we’ve been in since the ABC islands and I’m happy to find some familiar products from back home.
A good night’s sleep and then it’s back to school. Seathan is organising the work that needs doing and we need to find some time for sightseeing and fun too. I’m sure that won’t be a problem!