Passe de Teruaupu, Moorea

Friday 7/5/2013 18:00 17 28.868 S 149 48.816 W Passe de Teruaupu, Moorea Posting by Dennis: We left Papeete on 7/2/2013 and sailed to Cook Bay on the island of Moorea, actually we motored most of the way. Once we made it through the reef we anchored just inside the reef in about ten feet of water. After anchoring we all jumped in the water and snorkeled around to look at the coral. The coral here looks pretty sick and there are not a lot of fish to look at. In the Tuamotu atolls if we threw any scraps of food over the side, the fish came swarming to eat it up. Here in Moorea if you did that nothing came at all. The coral seems to lack all the bright colors we had gotten used to seeing. After a couple of hours of swimming around we got out of the water and had a quick dinner and were in bed and asleep by 7:30. The next day we set off in the dingy heading deeper into Cook Bay, as we got farther into the bay the rain started to come down. Soon we were all totally soaked and we were just laughing at the waves and spray that was coming over the bow. Once we got to the base of the bay we brought the dingy to shore and walked down the highway to the store where we replenished our coffee supply and got a couple of baguettes. We walked back to the dingy in the rain and started heading back toward the boat, by now the wind had picked up and we were getting pretty cold. As we rounded the point and were about to climb on the boat Barb said that a guy on a neighboring catamaran was waving us over. So we went over to investigate. A very scared French kid of about twenty came scurrying to the ladder and asked what to do because the anchor was dragging. Apparently the “captain” of the chartered catamaran had left to go to shore and left this poor guy alone on the boat; he had no idea how to do anything on the boat. By now the wind was really howling, with gusts reaching close to fifty knots and the anchor would drag until it would reach the next coral head. I dove down and checked to see if he was hitting any coral, which he was not at that moment. I suggested to him that if he had another anchor we could then run out with the dingy and I would place it somewhere where it would hold by diving down. Just when we were about to put the anchor in the dingy the main anchor let go and the boat started flying backwards. Pat and I both started yelling that he needed to start the engines and slow the boat down or else the anchor would never catch at all. He did, but now the center board was hitting on a coral head as it swung past in a big arc. I climbed onto the boat and asked him what he wanted to do and he said he wanted to pull the anchor and motor out of the coral. So I went forward to run the windlass and pull the anchor, as the anchor came up we began to inch forward against the wind. I went back to the helm and told him he needed to give it more power but he pointed to a little label that the charter company had put on the consul “Do not exceed 2000 RPM”. I yelled at him that if he didn’t give it more he was going to end up on the reef. He gave it full throttle. We got him up to the edge of the channel and I put the anchor down. Then all of the sudden he did not like that spot and insisted that he had to move. So I started to pull the anchor up again then a huge gust hit and swung the bow hard to the starboard jamming the chain in the feeder for the windlass. I climbed out over the front, against Barbs advisement, and kicked the chain feeder which un-jammed the chain. I just got the anchor up when I looked to the starboard and we were drifting toward a couple of boats at anchor. I ran to the helm and asked what was happening and he said that the one engine had quit. I told him to put the other engine in reverse so he slammed it from full throttle to full throttle in reverse. It did not kill it but I am sure glad it was not my boat. It was enough to spin the boat so that we flew right between the two anchored boats with only feet on each side. I then yelled at him to get the other engine going which finally started. He started motoring back out of the coral ridden area. I could hear the center boards scraping on the coral. He did not seem to have enough power to keep the bow into the wind and we were getting farther and farther into the coral field and closer to the reef. So I suggest he just anchor and wait for the captain to return. So we put out the anchor and it caught. We told him to throw out the extra anchor and just wait it out. The kid was scared to death. I am sure it will be his last sailing experience. We had to leave him there as we needed to get back to our own boat that was heeling badly in the 50 knot winds. Once the captain returned they sent out a mayday and a couple locals went out after the wind eased and drove it out of the coral field. We fared out ok. The boat got tossed around a bit but the anchor held. The dingy did flip over as soon as we climbed into the boat but Pat, Barb and I managed to quickly flip it back. Pat and I got to spend the afternoon taking the outboard apart and cleaning the salt water out of it. That night in the middle of the night, when the wind piped up again, I ended up climbing into the dingy with a bucket and filling it half full of water so it would not flip again. All in a day in paradise.

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