Sunday, July 27, 2014


Well, it finally happened, we are back in the real world in Arizona. We decided to take a break from our cruise and return to civilization for a while. Starshine is on the hard in Raiatea in French Polynesia and we are now looking for work (ugh, that 4-letter word). Our French Polynesia visa was up and we couldn't decide whether we should continue on West or head back to the states via Hawaii so we decided to stop and take a break. It was an amazing experience and we hope to continue on someday. In the meantime, if anyone needs a good program manager or contract manager, give us a call!! :)

Here are a few pix from our snorkeling in Bora Bora. The sharks are circling!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Bora Bora

Bora Bora - we have arrived. Actually we have been here for over a week now enjoying the beautiful blue green waters of the lagoon. Snorkeling is a must here and Dave is loving the ability to swim with the sharks and sting rays. Gail prefers to watch those from the dinghy! However, yesterday we saw quite a few angel and zebra fish along with a good sized parrot fish and a very large barracuda. The most interesting though was a very large black moray eel. Thank goodness he did not travel too far from his hole!

So for the last week we have been doing the usual exploring, eating, and swimming and really appreciating our last few days here in Paradise. The Heiva festival has been ongoing throughout all the South Pacific islands. We had the chance to view the dancing, singing, and copra contests. I would like to see the rock lifting contest but haven't found it yet. And then there are the javelin, mini marathon, and canoe racing contests.... The locals definitely stay busy around here. As usual, the pictures tell the better story so enjoy!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Moorea - Cooks Bay Part 2

We are still enjoying the beauty here in Cooks Bay at Moorea. The original idea was to spend the first half of the week in Cooks Bay and then move over to the neighboring Opunohu Bay for the second half of the week, but we can't tear ourselves away from this amazing Cooks Bay. We have decided that it is the best anchorage we have ever been in and it is hard to leave. The anchorage itself is far enough inside the bay which is surrounded by the reef so that it is calm and easy to forget we are even on the water! While the depth is a little deeper than what we like at 50 feet, the mud makes for good holding and with the calm water there is no concern about dragging. The bay is large enough that there is plenty of room for the approximately ten boats that seem to remain here (seems cavernous after the hundreds of boats at Tahiti). Add to all this the most spectacular beauty and views of the lush, green mountain sides and we can easily see why Captain Cook and the rest of the world was (is) so captivated by the place!

Yesterday, we rented a scooter and toured the island. First stop was the view from Belvedere where we could see both bays at once with Mount Rotui in between - amazing! We stopped at the Tiki Village where Gail bought yet another pareo (where is she going to wear them in the states?) and the village also had an exhibit of the Paul Ganguin paintings who portrayed Polynesian culture through his artwork. Also had another amazing view towards Tahiti by To'atea Beach. Speaking of the beach, apparently the French enjoy their topless beaches in France and when we stopped by the beach, Dave got an eye full from the very young 10 year olds to the young in spirit 70 year olds. Enough said! We also toured the Mo'orea and Manutea Tahiti Juice factory where we stocked up on such exotic juices as banana vanilla and pineapple coconut and also some of the best vanilla beans. Last Sunday we attended the Protestant church (there is no Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, etc. - just Protestant and Catholic churches) and although we could not understand the sermon, the music was beautiful and inspiring. Many thanks to Matu who came and sat next to us and attempted to interpret for us!

So we are very much enjoying Cooks Bay.... However, the plan is to spend a least a night or two next door at Opunohu Bay before departing Sunday for Raiatea and boat maintenance such as bottom cleaning and head cleaning. But in the meantime, let me enjoy my few remaining days here in the most beautiful island so far in the world.....

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Moorea - Cooks Bay

Friday we escaped the clutches of Tahiti and arrived in Moorea which took us about three hours and what a difference! The anchorage in Tahiti had hundreds of boats and the anchorage here in Cooks Bay at Moorea has only about ten boats with gorgeous scenery! Last night we discovered a Happy Hour at a local hotel with Polynesian dancing which was so much fun. After, we had a lovely dinner with friends Jerry and Gail at a fish restaurant. Note the picture where the owner was convincing us on the freshness of the Mahi Mahi. I had the coconut parrot fish entree which I had never heard of before (it is a reef fish) and it was amazingly delicious! We plan on renting a scooter later this week to tour the island so more to come on this delightful place, but I've posted a few pictures of our initial impressions.

Monday, June 9, 2014


We have arrived at Tahiti, island of dreams for many and I can certainly see why as the island is so beautiful. Congratulations Dave - you made it after 40 years in the making! Actually Dave has done an amazing job of getting us here as the Tuamotus atolls with their many narrow passes and pounding reefs were not easy to navigate. Dave was constantly researching and questioning the local tide tables for slack, low, and high tides as well as incoming and outgoing currents to determine the best time to make the pass through the narrow cuts in the reefs. And all that needed to be timed on when we would arrive at the next atoll as we did not want to arrive at night, so Dave had his work cut out for him, but like I said, he did an amazing job and he is actually still sane! So he has thankfully put that task behind him as we have now left the Tuamotus and are now officially in the Society Islands which include Tahiti, Moorea, Raitea, and Bora Bora along with others. Personally, I believe the Society Islands are the best of all as they encompass the dramatic lush mountain tops with sheer cliffs of the Marquesas along with the shallow beautiful blue lagoons of the Tuamotus.

The last two days have been spent sightseeing. Friday we spent the day touring the town of Papeete which included the municipal market and a pearl (not pearl farm) museum. This is a long weekend for the locals since tomorrow is a holiday (Pentecostal Monday) and Friday afternoon traffic was unbelievable - rivals LA traffic as we crawled along the one main road back to the marina! Yesterday, we toured the entire island by car (10 hours!) courtesy of a local guide. Corrine was wonderful as she grew up on this island and her ancestors go back many generations. She was so informative and provided so much local knowledge and legends. Thank you Corrine for your many stories and the view from your home! We now feel as though we have explored Tahiti and have a better idea and feel for this beautiful island. Of course, Dave and I think the best part of all is to watch the sunset every evening over the island of Moorea from the cockpit of our boat. With all that being said (and since I have internet), I will go ahead and let the pictures tell the story....

Saturday, May 31, 2014


We are currently visiting and exploring the delightful atoll of Rangiroa - the largest one of the Tuamotus and our last one before heading on to Tahiti in a few days. Although it has been rainy and gusty here, we were able to dodge squalls yesterday and do some sightseeing. We rented bicycles and rode along the main road of about 10 miles round trip. We stopped and had lunch at a pizza restaurant and had first rate view of the water. Seems like in forever that I have had a pizza, and considering where we are and that is was made by a French man that did not speak English, it was quite good. We also visited another pearl farm, Gauguin's Pearl Farm, which was very informative. After visiting several farms in the Tuamotus, I recommend this one for the best value, friendliness, and large selection to choose from. Sadly, we did not get to visit the world's most exotic winery, Tahiti Wines, since the owner was in Tahiti and apparently it is quite a boat expedition to visit that must be prearranged. The reason that it is the most exotic winery is because the grapes are grown in the coral here. We were able to pick up a couple of bottles though in the local "magazins" (grocery stores). One bottle is said to provide the hint of "coral" or "rocks" along with the aromas of honey and papayas. We have not tasted it yet, so will have to weigh in on those claims later.

The prior day, we were finally able to do the drift "dive" or snorkel through the Tiputa pass here at Rangiroa. Dave and I took the dinghy to the pass, jumped in while holding the line and the strong current brought us in through the pass while we viewed the varied sea life below - amazing! The water is so crystal clear, we were able to see to the bottom and along with the coral saw quite a variety of fish. Dave even saw a black tip shark! Thank goodness Gail did not see it or she probably would not have gone again and again and again... And did I mention that the water here is 84 degrees - perfect for Gail! It was quite an amazing experience. Just make sure you go during the incoming current or you would very quickly get washed out to sea!

We are taking lots of pictures, but still searching for internet. We thought yesterday that we finally found some restaurants with WiFi, but then was told internet is down for all of French Polynesia for the next three days. Apparently, the internet cable from Hawaii is being repaired this weekend. Oh well, maybe in Tahiti. The things we take for granted in the US! Who needs internet anyway when one is in paradise?

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Monday, May 26, 2014

Taking Life One Pass at a Time

It is amazing how different the Tuomotus are from the Marquesas. All of these islands are atolls with a large lagoon surrounded by a coral reef. The lagoons are fairly large and free of any swell as this is dissipated by the fringing coral reef. There can be some wind waves and even some moderate chop, however, as the fetch inside the lagoon can be up to 30 miles. Most of these atolls have one or two passes from the ocean into the lagoon and it's all about timing the entrance or exit with the tidal current. Even though the tide is pretty small, less than a foot typically, there is a large volume of water passing through a small cut which can produce a significant current, up to 6 or 8 knots. If this current is then opposing the 20 knot trades then some boisterous conditions can result. We saw some fairly large standing waves in one of the passes as we were entering on a rising tide and it was quite a ride. Add to that some of these passes are fairly narrow and it makes for some exciting times!

We spent several days relaxing in Fakarava (transiting the Garue Pass) after our crossing from the Marquesas, including an expensive visit to a black pearl farm which was well worth it! We then went to the atoll of Toau and spent one night inside the lagoon (Otugi Pass) at a gorgeous, picture post card South Pacific anchorage and two nights on a mooring in Anse Amyot, actually outside the lagoon in a "false pass". The next day we came to Apataki and the Pakaka Pass with it's amazing turquoise water and crossed the lagoon to Motu Rua Vahine. We have been here two nights and are now planning to head up the inside of the lagoon to the North Pass and then on to Rangiroa. After Rangiroa it's on to Tahiti and the Society Islands (Moorea, Raiatea, Bora Bora) ...

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