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Around 9:30 we were ready and went ashore for our hike to Maeva. We briefly looked at hiring bikes (or at least an extra bike as we already have two) but decided against the idea in favour of walking. The hike was around 6km to where the archaeological site is. A lot of the way was along the side of a stretch of water connected to the sea at one end called the lake. It was all very pretty. Along the way Ben set us a maths problem. We had to make the number 24 using just the four numbers (once each and only once) 1,3,4 & 6, the four standard operations (+,-,/,x) and parenthesis/brackets. It was infuriating but once the trick was found both Helen and I solved it.

The ruins were quite extensive and in a lot of places partially restored. There was a boat hut that appeared to have been reconstructed but it was out of bounds so we could not investigate further. Our guide book stated there should be a museum nearby so we walked into the town of Maeva but could not find it. We walked back to the ruins and up a foot path to find more of the marae – ruins. There were a lot of noisy school kids around the first set of ruins/banyon tree so we soon pushed on upwards to where we were on our own with a pleasant view over the sea to the north.

We decided against following the path onwards and headed back the way we came. Walking back along the road we soon managed to hitch a lift with a local lady who was singing along to French songs. In town we picked up some sandwich rolls from the supermarket which we ate going back to the dinghy. At this point we’d decided to leave the anchorage in the afternoon and head down south to where the snorkeling is supposed to be really good.

Heading back to the boat we noticed Renova had arrived. We went over to greet them and hand over a pair of shoes Naomi had left aboard our dinghy after the ride to the rays in Moorea. We gave them the low down of the land and soon had agreed to stay in the anchorage and meet them for Happy Hour.

As the afternoon wore on more of our friends arrived: Kamaya, Victoria, Dilan & Escapade showed up in the anchorage. We soon had a few more folks invited to Happy Hour. I spent the afternoon doing computer stuff still not getting round to work on the head sail.

We ate our dinner before heading out for Happy Hour. Another great time with friends was had on the waterfront. Back on the boat we watched a couple of episodes of 24 before retiring.

Today we definitely will head south and definitely might work on the head sail.

Feeding Time

Turned out there was plenty of interest to go and see the sting rays and sharks. Shortly after 10am we rendezvoused at the sunken tiki heads (about half way to the rays) with Steve & Dorusha from Scream, David & Suzie from Sidewinder and Jim & Brendan from Escapade. We were carrying Mike and Naomi from Renova. Snorkeling on the tiki heads was fun for most but soon we were back on our way to see the sting rays. It was not hard to find the spot as there were two tourist boats already there and lots of people already standing around in the water with rays swimming amongst them and sharks patrolling the perimeter.

Earlier in the day I had chopped up the month old skip jack tuna occupying a corner of our freezer and put the pieces in a container. In the water the sting rays were intensely interested in the fishy morsels. (Note – I would not normally feed wild animals but these have been fed for the tourists for so long I feel the damage is already done so we may as well enjoy). The rays would come up to us and try and take the fish from our hands. Holding them in our fingers was not so smart as the rays had tough gums and gave quite a nip if they caught our fingers. I was bitten twice and Ben once which caused a bit of bleeding.

Apart from that it was a huge amount of fun. At times we were blanketed in four or five rays each trying to find something to eat. They were so tame we could hold onto their edges and stroke their backs and bellies. I shared the fish around with our party although it took some some time to brave holding onto raw fish while surrounded by rays and sharks.

After a while everyone got a little chilly – it is winter here after all. Heading back three miles into wind was never going to be fun. We’d agreed to drop Mike and Naomi off so they could hitch a ride back to the beach near where we were anchored. Ben and I pounded the waves all the way back arriving soaked and colder still. The cold water showers on the boat felt warm and refreshing.

We stayed on the boat for the afternoon prepping for the trip to Huahine. The wind forecast suggested the wind was going to drop in 24 hours and we wanted to catch what we could. One of my tasks was to change the zinc on the generator. For a while I couldn’t get the new one back in leak free but in the end I succeeded. Shortly before 5pm we were off. As Ben has yet to have some recent practice sailing during the day we decided to sail with the head sail only. This would mean there was less to watch and less to go wrong. At some points overnight the winds reached 30 knots so this ended up being a fortuitous decision. During my early morning shift I raised the main once there was light to see. We arrived at Fare, Huahine around 10:30 in the morning.

We’ve already been ashore to pick up baguettes for lunch. Our guidebook suggests there will be lots of outdoor food choices available this evening so we plan to go ashore again then.

This afternoon we have a few things to do. First we all need a nap as none of us slept well last night. Next, we want to bring down the headsail, restitch a part of the sun cover and put some tape over some parts that look tatty. We also want to swim the reef which we hope will be more alive than the one surrounding Moorea.

Baie d’Opunohu

On Saturday our plan was to move over to Baie d’Opunahu. We had a few choices. One was to go inside the bay where it was cool but with great views. The second was outside west of the bay which would be isolated and nearer to where we could go and see the sting rays. The final choice was to go back and anchor off the public beach where we first came to Moorea with the Rendezvous nearly a month ago.

We’d heard Verner from Legend II on the radio nearby and as we wanted to meet him again we called him on the radio. We learned he was anchored off the public beach and was getting together a beach barbecue with a few others. That made our minds up. We also heard Renova and contacted them learning they’d be there too. They needed a beer pickup and as we needed to go ashore we agreed to collect some beer for them and keep it cold.

Ben and I did the shore thing picking up a couple of baguettes, some burger buns/sliced cheese and the beers for Renova. This being done we hoisted the dinghy and sailed around to Baie d’Opunohu using the headsail only. We anchored in 10ft very close to where we first anchored knowing we had good holding at that spot.

We relaxed around the boat for an hour or two after lunch before deciding to walk back to Baie de Cook to visit the Fruit Juice Factory for a second sampling of their wares. Unfortunately we found the place was open only in the morning on Saturdays so we only benefited from the exercise and pleasant surrounds. On the way back we bumped into the Renovas just outside the Hilton Resort. We all agreed to explore the resort which turned out to be very nice inside.

Heading back to the beach we took a diversion to collect some firewood for the evening’s fun. Back on the boat Helen cooked up some chicken to take to the beach. Verner from Legend II was taking his grill and gas ashore so we left our burgers until later. At 5pm we headed ashore to meet up with the rest. As well as Legend II and Renova we met Dave and Suzy from Sidewinder. They left the Galapagos around the same time as us but had to turn back with refrigeration problems and have since been a week or two behind us. We’ve heard them on the radio from time to time but never met them. We also met Jim and his son Brendan from Escapade which we’ve seen around.

Later in the evening Ben started the beach fire and soon had a blaze going. Helen had brought some marshmallows which pleased a couple of young children who were there too as well as many of the adults.

Today we’re off to see the rays and sharks. We may be making a group of it but hopefully not too large. It’s possible that this evening we’ll set sail for Huahine 80nm to our north west – an over night sail.