Maupiti
SOCIETY ISLANDS
 

Aug.14, 2002                                                                                       

Log: Bora Bora to Maupiti 26 nautical miles       

Heading west 270 Wind 6kts from SW

We are watching the weather carefully as there are a couple lows and bad weather headed for Rarotonga.  Boats are evacuating the tiny island of Niue both in the directions we will be headed.  S/v Star has left for Rarotonga, Nyathi for Tonga and we have decided to hang back and head for Maupiti.  Charlie's Charts make it sound difficult to enter and exit through the reef and once inside we could get stuck there for several weeks if there is a SW swell.  We leave for Maupiti with a bit of apprehension but with  the thought that we can always return to Bora Bora. 

 

11:45AM we haul in the 200 feet of chain plus 30 feet of rope we used to anchor in the deep water off the yacht club.  Motoring out of the Passe Teavanui. One hour out the wind is up to 10-14kt with 2 1/2 meter long rolling seas.  Main, mizzen and jib are up as we continue to motor 6.5kts .  Our arrival time into Maupiti is crucial to enter  over the sandbar with the tide.   We are already a bit late.  At 4:15PM nearing the GPS waypoint we should have the cut in site but all we see are a continuous line of huge breaking waves.  The island looks like a huge face looking up into the sky while mist is rising over by the wild crashing surf.  Just as the captain is deciding to give this island a miss Gayla insists we go just a few feet further until the GPS hits the exact latitude and longitude.  Just then two dolphins surface off our bow then turned toward the island.  Using the C-Map chart we realize we should head toward the range position at that exact time.  The captain turns starboard and following the dolphins we look up to see the cut with huge crashing waves on either side.  We head toward the cut at 004 True from waypoint 1629.4 S  152 14.77 W then just followed the range markers in as the dolphins veer off. 

Passe Onoau is a very narrow pass but plenty of water, about 15 meters deep.  There is a 3.5kt current against us.  4:29PM boat speed increased to 2200RPM's going 5.1kts.  4:31PM  boat speed 3.6kt.  4:32PM boat speed 3.9kts.  As we pass Motu Pitiake on our port and Pointe Tefaratapu on starboard we can see the reefs just under the surface but it is a well marked channel.  A bit daunting with the crashing 2 to 2.5 meter surf on either side of the entrance and inside the channel very choppy water but further in .....a beautiful quiet lagoon.    We have finally arrived in a truly spectacular S. Pacific paradise!

We anchored in front of Pension Papahani on the north end of Motu Tiapaa in 8 meters of water.    Small children wave then quietly stand and watch unobtrusively.

The water is a clear turquoise blue as our bow swings toward the 380m high Mt. Teurafutata, the current holding us with stern into the wind.   The mountain looks like a miniature of the mountain on Bora Bora without the clouds.  

                                                         

We move s/v Ariel over to a new anchorage in front of the main village of Vaiea and Farauru, two villages which run together, on a nice cement road no more than a mile long and the only paved road on the island.  The circumference of the island is only 10 km. There is a small bakery in town where we purchased fresh bread every day for 43CPF. 

                                      

                     

The locals were very laid back and very friendly although often times very shy.  On a hike several children approached us and offered to guide us to old petroglyphs which had been altered with chalk. Their houses were mainly new MTR buildings (Maison Territoriale de Reconstruction) brought in after a hurricane in 1997.  But many native thatch houses were still preferred.

  

One day we took a lazy dinghy ride over to motu Tiapaa, hiked along the shores and across watermelon fields to the windward side. There, the little village of  Kuriri is nothing more than a small pension with a meditation platform looking out to the coral infested shallow lagoon, several thatched ramada's ,a library and a tiki god statue.  This is the Bora Bora we were looking for and found on Maupiti.  Perhaps this will be the new Bora Bora one day.  We hope not!

      

After days of exploring the island we were surprised with a visit from s/v Pale Fire.  Ryan, the captain, is a rock climber from Colorado and Matt a surfer from California.  We had met them back in the Marquesas and always had a crazy wild time with them.  This would be no different. 

                                           

Next day bright and early we made an assault on the mountain behind the town.  First to the saddle then over to the peak at the most southern point of the island.  The views were spectacular and a bit frightening as we saw  the coral heads and shallow water we had sailed through.  And we still had to sail out of the lagoon!!

  

The next day the 'boys' were off for a day of rock climbing then snorkeling with the black tip sharks.  Gayla made a meal while they were busy falling off the rocks (Ryan fell 31 feet) and getting a bit banged up then returning without any fish for dinner.   At least they were not dinner FOR the fish.  Toward evening another boat entered the cut, s/v Anja K with a family of four and crew of one. 

              

                                                                                       

Along with Ryan and Matt, a bit hung over from the highs of climbing, Bo and Libby with their two children Angus and Kelcey and there crew Jack, joined us for an impromptu dinner aboard s/v Ariel.  Shortly after Bo and Libby had taken possession of their own 43 foot catamaran 'Bear Cat' it was sunk in a 75kt. wind off the coast of Turkey just one anchorage away from their final destination.  A storm came up in the night, the wind caught under the jib which had been secured.  It billowed out in an hourglass configuration above and below the ties and sent the boat out of control, dragging anchor and washed up on the rocks.  They were now on a delivery with s/v Anja K.

To end our perfect stay in Maupiti the next night we were invited aboard s/v Pale Fire for an evening 'drive-in movie.'  It was an unusually calm night in the lagoon.  Under a red sky with an eerie anticipation of leaving the next day we set up the computer in the cockpit and watched the movie 'Apocalypse Now'.     

The next day we set sail back out through the cut following the reciprocal course on our GPS.  A SW swell was running, not to our advantage.  The boys on s/vPale Fire shot ahead through the reef.  As we watched their 37' steel boat, with the rock climber Ryan at the helm, climb up the steep swell.   We closed in.  With a crash, our bow dove into the wave then rose up.  Then along with Matt, one of California's most daring surfers, we found ourselves surfing down the wave and shooting out into a calm sea, our last days in the Society Islands. 

 

 

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