Friday, August 31, 2007

August 30, 2007 - Moorea

Today we answered the age old question - "How far would you walk for free booze?" The answer, apparently, is 8 clicks. We are anchored 4 km from the local juice factory, which has a tour and a tasting room. At the tasting room, they don't offer samples of any of their juices, just their alcoholic products, which were, I'm sorry to say, awful - but hey, free booze.

The free booze has been the highlight of our stay here. The trip over was a mixed bag of no wind, lots of swell, swell against current, rain, then lots of wind, sun, no wind again, followed by crazy mixed up seas and gusts up to 30 knots. At this point, really the high point of the day (please read with the dripping sarcasm with which the statement is intended), we were chased away from a cable laying ship by the local gendarmarine (coast guard). We were at least a half mile away from the thing, reaching up the coast of Moorea. But apparently that wasn't far enough, as they herded us farther off shore onto a close reach, causing us to slam into the sharp chop. The only redeeming part about it was watching them get launched off of the waves in their little aluminum boat. That warmed my cold, cold heart.

That was the low point of yesterday. The low point of today arrived at fifteen minutes after midnight, when we dragged onto a reef. We were both bolt upright awake at the hull's first shudder. Sten hit the windlass breaker as we tumbled up on deck. I pulled in anchor chain with my legs doing the full Elvis from the adrenaline dump. After much dithering about whether to stay put or drive around a strange anchorage in the dark, we ended up re-anchoring at 2am in 125 feet of water - our deepest anchorage to date, behind the mega yachts. Mata'irea is fine, she just lost a little bottom paint off of her rudder. I however, awoke with a case of the mean reds - thanks to a mosquito buzzing in my ear at an ungodly hour this morning. Sten, who spent the night in the cockpit waiting for the anchor alarm to go off, wasn't faring much better. As soon as we make a few phone calls back home tomorrow, we are out of here.

Perhaps I'm giving Moorea short shrift. It really is beautiful. See, eg:

But the coral reef is fried, the anchorage is crowded and the public transportation might as well be non-existent for all the frequency with which it rolls by. If I step back, and try to be more objective, I would have to acknowledge that the unsettled weather - with really high gusts of wind, which caused us to drag last night and just snapped our anchor snubber (the line that acts like a shock cord for our anchor chain) - is playing a big part in our negative experience of this place. The real problem here, is that we just came from paradise in Teahupoo, and nothing, in comparison, would be quite up to snuff.

Enough griping - I've got to go help Sten get the new snubber set, so that he can get back to the important work - making the dough for our pizzas tonight.

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