Saturday, September 29, 2007

September 15, 2007 - Hotopuu Bay, Raiatea

After weeks of cleaning and polishing, Mata'irea is in boatshow condition. She hasn't looked this good since before Sten's mom arrived for her visit last February. The impetus for the scrub down is my dad's arrival today for a week long visit. We'll be moving around a lot the next few days to try to fit in as many of the highlights of Raiatea and Tahaa, which share a barrier reef and lagoon, before a midweek daysail over to Bora Bora.

After picking dad up at the airport in Raiatea, we headed back to Mata'irea for a late breakfast. While Sten whipped up breakfast, we sorted through all of the loot that Dad had smuggled in for us. Our care package included homemade zucchini bread and sundried tomatoes from my parents' garden, steak and pecans. He also brought loads of spare parts for the generator and a new keyboard for our laptop. But the most exciting deliveries were the 12 pounds of DVD's that Alena copied for us, a pile of recent issues of the Economist and the latest Harry Potter. We now have more than enough entertainment material to keep us occupied on the long passages ahead of us.

After breakfast, we went to raise the anchor, only to find that it was firmly hooked on an abandoned length of chain. This was a first for us, and we had to figure out a way to get our anchor unhooked. The solution involved our snubber, the spinnaker halyard, and some sacrificial line. I tried to convince Dad that we had stagged the incident to display our problem solving skills and teamwork, but I don't think he was buying it.
The anchoring drama continued at our next stop, Hotopuu Bay. After trying, and failing, get the hook to set in a shallower part of the bay, we ended up anchored in 110 feet of water. After a quick lunch, we set off to see Marae Taputapuatea, the most important religious site in the Societies. As we pulled up to the beach, we met a man from Easter Island who was dancing a prayer over his fishing net. Through a combination of French and Spanish, he explained that Raiatea was the center of the Polynesian triangle. He, along with representatives of the rulers of the rest of Polynesia, had just spent a week at the marae, praying, celebrating and building up mana. We were bummed to have just missed experiencing such an event.

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