06 July 2006

Baie De Cook

  • 06-Jul-2006
  • 17°30.1000"N/149°49.2000"E
  • Baie De Cook (Cook's Bay)
  • Moorea, Society Islands
  • French Polynesia
Greetings from Cook’s Bay in Moorea. And Happy belated 4th-of-July America!!

Amy and I spent the spent the 4th-of-July by getting up and jumping in the dinghy for a 4 mile ride inside the reefs to try to find the elusive rays that everyone who comes here swims with. We got lucky and followed the tour boats right to the spot. Just inside the reef in about 4 feet of water, are a huge group of rays that will swim right up to you. The rays are used to the tour boats that hand feed them.

I am not so sure that the tour boats were happy that we were there with our own dinghy swimming among their clients. But we did swim among the rays, and even had them bumping into us in the hope we had some food. It is a little freaky, as some are over 4ft long.

We then dinghied on a little further to a small motu where the tour boats take their customers for lunch. We walked around and snorkeled until they asked us to leave when they realized we were not one of their customers. We then dingied back to where the rays were. By this time all the tour boats had left and all the rays swam right up to the our dinghy looking for handouts.

We pulled up anchor and motored 4 miles east to Cooks Bay. We anchored where we thought was a great spot when our nemesis “night squall!!!!” hit us at midnight and pushed us up on a reef that comes out a ways from land.

Since the water over here is not as clear as our last anchorage, you cannot see the reef. So we started the engine, Amy pulled up the anchor, and we had to motor around the anchorage. None of the cruisers in the anchorage use their anchor lights, and the rain was blowing sideways. Anyway, all went well, and we re-anchored right in the middle of the bay.

The winds here are really weird. They will be blowing 20 knots in one direction, then all the sudden the wind will start blowing 20 knots in the exact opposite direction. This makes all the boats in the anchorage swing in different directions. So you really have to anchor a good distance from the other boats and hope any new boats to anchorage do not anchor too close to you. Otherwise you might have someone’s boat bumping into yours

We are anchored right off the the Bali Hai Hotel. The hotel allows us tie up our dinghys there and hang out on their facilities. It is a really low-key hotel/RCI timeshare that is “cruiser” friendly.

Yesterday, after much research, Amy and I finally got our Polynesian tattoos. We hitchhiked over to Roonui Tattoo where we had made an appointment and got “inked” up. Roonui and his wife run this shop. He is a world famous tattooist that only does native island Polynesian design tattoos in black. This is the original place were the first tattoo’s were done and witnessed by Captain Cook. People fly here from all over the world to have tattoos done by Roonui. There are other tatooists here, but he is the best in the whole South Pacific. That is why we waited to get to Moorea for a tattoo.

He is very unique. His wife asks you what ideas and interests you have. Then she draws up a rough outline of the tattoo all-freehand. Amy got a native island design on her right foot that has a Tiki (protector) and waves. Mine was a little more complex, as I wanted something that that has a lot of ink and went from the top of my shoulder to just above my elbow. Roonui went out to his front yard for about 45 minutes and drew out a sketch of a very cool Polynesian tattoo that he called “The Navigator”. It has a compass and waves, as the first navigators were the Polynesians. I am not sure if I really count as a "navigator" because we got here using electronic charts.

It took over 3 hours and was quite painful. But is really one of the coolest tattoos I have ever seen. He really did a great job!!! Not sure what his web site looks like, but check him out at www.roonuitattoo.com.

After the tattoos, we hitchhiked back to the hotel and saw a five dollar Polynesian dance show. We thought was going to be really corny, but it turned out to be really cool.

We then went back to Maria’s Café, were we had been last week, to see the band play again. They now play 1960’s American rock & roll. It is rather funny, as the lead guitarist is from the U.S. and the rest of his band is French. Their harmonica player just recovered from heart surgery after he had a heart attack. He was flown to New Zealand and this was his first show since surgery. Everything was great and nobody had to do CPR.

Today Amy and I rented a car for a tour or Moorea. It is a small, open, go-cart like car, but has a windshield.

Our first stop was the Rotui Juice Factory. We have been drinking this stuff since arriving in the Marquises. I have become addicted to it as it soooo good. I think they put something in this stuff so you cant stop drinking it. We even left the factory today with a case of it. There is nothing better than a Pamplemousse (Polynesian grapefruit) and rum. MMMMmmmmmm.

We then went around the island in the rain, stopping at all the tourist sites along the way. We even loaded up this small car with grocereries!

Our current plan is to stay here through the weekend and spend some time with our friends on S/V Sensei, which is supposed to show up tomorrow. Then we will start looking at the winds to see when we can leave for Raiatea, an overnight sail from here.

One note: Keeping the blog updated from our end has become difficult. We are having a hard time getting our shortwave SailMail system to connect because we are so far away from the antenna that gets our signal. It is in San Luis Obispo, California. Also, there is no WiFi here. So we are trying to keep things updated when we can find an internet café. So please stand by as we try to get everything back up to date.

Tom and Amy

Notes From Ron:
  • Roonui Tattoo's website is still under construction. Here are some photos of Mr. Roonue at work. Here are some photos of some of his tats.
  • Motu is a Polynesian word for an island made of exposed coral. The Tuamotu Archipelago, where they just left, is a collection of motu's. I found this explaination...
    In the South Pacific eons ago, volcanos erupted at sea, forming islands. Coral reefs were being born in shallow waters off shore. In time, the islands started to return to the sea, while their barrier reefs continued to grow, broke the surface and formed their own islands called Motu (in Polynesian). They are usually separated from their island mother by a turquoise lagoon.

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