We passed out of the reef surrounding Bora Bora at 1700 hours and “sailed into the Tahitian sunset”. A group of canoe racers escort us out of the channel. As the sun left us we settled into our night watch schedule as Rita and company prepared a great dinner and we dined under the stars. With six now aboard the watch schedule is very relaxing. We formed teams of two with the more experienced teaming with the less. We encountered the only vessel we would see on this passage the first night as Greg altered course to keep a large, well lit fishing boat out of our 3 miles zone.
The weather was as predicted by the GRIB charts with quartering winds under 20 knots for the first day and tapering off to under 10 the rest of the trip– great power boating conditions for sure. We kept our prearranged SSB radio contact schedule with the SV Mary Powel but as before we transmitted well but had poor reception, still good to know they were OK and have some contact in the open ocean. The only life we saw were the four large Dorado that Rita hooked. We landed two and had great BBQ for two nights–the planned for spaghetti taking a back seat to fresh Mahi Mahi.
I had planned out departure to make for a day light land fall but the favorable current added .5 knots most of the way so we wound up having to “bleed” some speed off by doing a zig zag course after i reduced the throttle to 800 rpm, any lower and the alternators would run too slow and not charge adequately.
We pulled into Avatiu Harbor, dropped the hook and backed into the quay Med style. After a while the parade of officials came by, all very friendly and no hassle at all. I then checked into he harbor master who had been told by my good friend John Neil that we were coming. Seems a powerboat arriving was a rarity so we drew quite a crowd. There are two quays, one is more protected and used for resident commercial craft. The resident one has a tough access to shore and some swell. The harbormaster told me if i could find a fishing boat owner who would rent me his slip i could move. A bit of “good ol boy” chatting and i made just that arrangement.
Rarotonga is a protectorate of New Zealand and inhabited by a combination of Kiwi’s and natives. It is good to hear English again!!!! Again the locals are extremely open, generous and really fun to know. We make new friends at a high rate of speed. I find a Kiwi who has a rustic machine shop and is a motorcycle guy– it is good to just sit in a garage and talk bikes!
We are back into he land of decent pricing!! everything here is about 40% less than Tahiti, the food is scrumptious and everywhere. We all dash to the fish and chip stands as it is a national dish here. We all attend the huge Saturday market, one of the best i have every seen–rivals Ganges! The ladies shop while i eat my way from stand to stand. The finale is another great dance/music shoe. The Rarotongans are as into traditional dance as the Tahitians. They won the competition in Bora Bora so many times they are no longer invited.
We are here just in time for the total We are here just in time for the total eclipse of the sun, Sunday 0820, Rarotonga is about 50 miles north of the “Zone of Totality” so we will have almost the total eclipse and for just under 4 minutes tomorrow morning–if the sky is clear. Many people are here for this rare event and we are looking forward to it. So tomorrow will see the eclipse, go to the church to hear angelic music then do a hike through jungle winding up at a blue lagoon for a swim–as we say, just another ho hum day in paradise!