Nuku Hiva to Tahiti
September 23-30, 2017
Day 1 – Saturday, September 23, 2017
After spending a little over 2 weeks on the island of Nuku Hiva, I decided it was time to set sail and head for the Society Island, specifically the island of Moorea. I had provisions on board for the nearly 5-day trip. I was ready to go.
I plotted my course, which would take me past the atoll of Rangiroa, past Tetiaroa, and finally into Cook’s Bay, one of 2 bays on the north side of Moorea. The weather looked good for my voyage. At 5:15 PM local time, I raised anchor and headed out of Taioha’e Bay. The wind was light at about 10 knots out of the east. Once I was clear of the bay, I turned southwest and headed toward Rangiroa.
0328 UTC – 8º 58.943′ S 140º 8.819′ W
When I headed below at about 7:30 PM, the seas were fairly calm. After having been at anchor for more than 2 weeks, it’s going to take a couple of days for me to get back into being at sea. Luckily, I have good weather ahead of me.
Day 2 – Sunday, September 24, 2017
I awoke at around 4:00 AM. The wind had picked up over the night. I got side-tracked by breakfast and enjoying the ocean, not making my 12-hour position report on time.
1657 UTC – 10º 9.857′ S 141º 18.154′ W
Overnight, I had traveled about 100 nm, which is not bad, considering I was barely doing 7 knots when I went to bed last night. The ocean was rolling a bit more than last night, but it looked liked today would be an easy day of sailing. I have about 460 nm to Rangiroa, which is my first waypoint.
The day was uneventful, other than having a beautiful day at sea. By evening, I was making a steady speed of 7.5-8 knots.
At some point, another sailboat teleported nearby. I checked for the name of the boat. When I saw the name was Maggot Death and the captain had only 25 sailing miles, I decided to try to gain some distance. The boat started 1/4 nm off my starboard beam. I turned a few degrees to port until I was on a beam reach and was making over 8 knots at times. On the radar, I could see I was pulling away. The the boat teleported again to a few feet off my stern. I was not interested in being friends with anyone who would name their sailboat Maggot Death. I logged off for about 15 minutes. When I logged back on, the intruder was gone.
0257 UTC – 11º 5.34′ S 142º 15.83′ W
At a little before 6:00 PM, my position report showed I traveled 80 nm since this morning. I had been considering a stop at Rangiroa for a day since I have to be out of town IRL on Wednesday. At my current pace, I should arrive at Rangiroa early Tuesday morning. If it works out, I’ll spend the rest of Tuesday and most of Wednesday at Rangiroa before continuing to Moorea. At 7:00 PM, I left the helm on auto-pilot and headed to bed.
Day 3 – Monday, September 25, 2017
I was up at 4:00 AM and a check of the helm showed I was making a consistent 7-8 knots overnight. I recorded my morning position report.
1638 UTC – 12º 21.71′ S 143º 37.262′ W
At breakfast time, the wind was blowing about 15 knots, but by late afternoon, the wind speed was closer to 10 knots. The wind had shifted to mostly coming from the southeast, which allowed me to sail on a beam reach for a good part of the afternoon. With the wind just above 10 knots, the boat was still traveling over 7 knots.
0322 UTC – 13º 20.17′ S 144º 39.195′ W
After dinner, I checked the GPS and I had 87 nm to go until Rangiroa. Hopefully, I’ll be able to stop for a day and a half at Rangiroa. The sea was smooth this evening as I finished my check of the auto-pilot before heading below for bed. It was another peaceful day at sea, with absolutely beautiful weather.
Day 4 – Tuesday, September 26, 2017
I was up again at 4:00 AM. The wind was blowing just short of 14 knots and my speed over ground was 8.1 knots. With the wind out of the southeast, I was on a beam reach. The wind angle was perfect for maximum speed.
I was mistaken when I thought that I would be at Rangiroa this morning. My first contact with land in the Tuamotu’s will be Manihi Atoll in a couple of hours. Rangiroa will be next this evening. I plotted where I would sail through the reef to enter the lagoon. It should be a nice place to anchor for Wednesday.
1508 UTC – 14º 24.77′ S 145º 45.6′ W
I passed Manihi Atoll at about 6:00 AM this morning. As I passed the southeast edge of the reef, I turned to sail direct toward Rangiroa.
There is a second atoll southwest of Manihi, Ahe Atoll. As I continued to sail southwest, it became more apparent that I wouldn’t reach Rangiroa before dark. Trying to sail through a pass in the reef in the dark would not be a good idea. I looked at Ahe Atoll again and found there is one pass through the reef on the northwest side. I decided, since I would be gone the next 2 days IRL, the prudent decision was to head for Ahe Atoll and anchor in the lagoon for a couple of days.
I reached the Tiareroa Pass at about 1:40 PM. It was difficult because the wind was blowing directly out of the pass. I had to sail at an angle to make it through. The water was shallow, but I made it into the lagoon without any problems. Once inside the lagoon, I sailed south for a couple of minutes, then turned into the wind, dropped the sails, and set the anchor. The water was crystal clear and there were sea birds flying about. I was happy with my anchorage. It was not a bad place to spend a couple of days.
0000 UTC – 14º 27.8′ S 146º 21.5′ W
Day 5 – Wednesday, September 27, 2017
At anchor in Ahe Atoll lagoon.
Day 6 – Thursday, September 28, 2017
For the past day and a half, I have enjoyed being anchored at Ahe Atoll. This afternoon, I was finished with my IRL tasks. I checked the weather and found that the wind was quite strong. It was blowing mostly at about 20 knots. I checked the weather forecast and the wind will probably get stronger over the next couple of days. I decided it was time to head back to the open ocean.
At about 5:00 PM, I raised the anchor, set the sails, headed out of the lagoon, and resumed course for Moorea. With the increased wind speed, my boat was now making 8-9 knots. Tonight at sea will not be smooth. I headed to bed at about 8:00 PM, leaving the helm to the auto-pilot.
Day 7 – Friday, September 29, 2017
I was up again at 4:00 AM. Last night was not as smooth as it has been for sometime. The wind continued to blow at about 20 knots, with made for some moderately rough seas. After checking the auto-pilot, I saw that I had made my closest approach of Rangiroa at about 2:00 AM this morning. My next waypoint would be the small island of Makatea, which is on the southwestern edge of the Tuamotus Islands. It was looking like I would reach Makatea around 10:00 AM this morning.
1500 UTC – 15º 32.6′ S 147º 31′ W
By mid-morning, the wind speed was increasing. The wind was now blowing 20-25 knots off my port beam. I had to reef the mainsail one notch and my speed over ground was 9-10 knots. It’s not often that I get the Tahiti Dream to go 10 knots. The swells are big and I’m looking forward to reaching Moorea, 180 nm to go.
My IRL definitely interferes with my sailing life here. I have work tomorrow morning, which is just about the time I would probably arrive at Moorea, not to mention the fact that I would probably arrive while it was still dark. I decided I would sail as far as Tetiaroa, which is just north of Moorea by about 30 nm. Late morning tomorrow, I should be able to continue on to Moorea and it will be daylight when I sail into Cook’s Bay. Tetiaroa is an atoll and is best known for having been owned by Marlon Brando at one time. There is now a resort there, but not much else.
0332 UTC – 16º 40.13′ S 149º 3.68′ W
Throughout the afternoon, the wind speed continued to increase. By 7:00 PM, the wind was consistently at about 25 knots. I like the speed this wind gives me, which is close to 10 knots. What is not comfortable is that something could break because of the stress this wind puts on the boat. I realize the simulator doesn’t simulate equipment failures, but if it did, I would have cause for worry soon. The wind speed is forecast to increase to 25-30 knots tomorrow.
At 9:45 PM, I arrived at Tetiaroa and I dropped anchor on the leeward side of the southern-most land of the atoll. Even on the leeward side, the wind was blowing hard and I doubted my anchor would hold where I placed it. Tonight will not be a good night for sleep because I will be on constant watch for a dragging anchor.
0745 UTC – 17º 2.78′ S 149º 32.91′ W
Day 8 – Saturday, September 30, 2017
As I suspected, I didn’t sleep well last night. The anchor dragged about a mile south of my original anchorage. I didn’t have anywhere to go because it was dark and I wouldn’t have wanted to try to sail to either Moorea or Tahiti in the dark.
At a little after 8:00 AM, I raised the anchor, turned south away from the wind, and headed away from Tetiaroa. As much as I would have liked to stay there for a while, it was just too windy to be comfortable at anchor there.
As I headed to open ocean, the wind was still 20-25 knots and the swells were, at times, half the height of my mast. Because of the somewhat narrow passage through the reef at Moorea to enter Cook’s Bay, I decided I would sail to Tahiti first instead. I can enter the breakwater at Papeete on the north side and it should provide me with a good anchorage until the wind dies down. It would also be nice to be able to buy provisions in Papeete, which would be more difficult if I had decided to call at Moorea first.
At about 8:45 AM, I got my first glimpse of Tahiti and Moorea when I would crest a swell. My GPS said I had 23 nm to go and the ETA was less than 3 hours.
By the time I turned into the harbor at Papeete, the wind was blowing over 25 knots. I had to furl the Genoa to drop my speed. The water was still rough just inside the harbor, but it calmed the farther I got in. I dropped anchor on the north side of the point at Papeete. I’m going to need a minimum of 2 days to recover from my sail over the past couple of days. It’s nice to be back in Tahiti.
2237 UTC – 17º 31.737′ S 149º 34.286′ W