Back to City Life in Papeete after Sailing to Tahiti Island from Fakarava Atoll

Outdoor Event, Tahiti Island, French Polynesia

(July 11 to August 2, 2023) As we were getting out of the south pass of Fakarava Atoll, we faced strong winds of 20-30 knots and waves reaching 6-12 feet, making it an uncomfortable sailing for me. We set up the downwind pole and sailed at an average 6.5 knots to Point Venus, north of Tahiti Island. It took us 39 hours to cover the total distance of 252 nautical miles. Our plan was to arrive at sunrise, but we ended up reaching our destination at midnight. The sky was clear with sparkling stars, but the moonrise time was at 2:10 AM. It was pitch-dark.

Before crossing the Pacific, John bought a thermal vision/night goggles. He was proud of identifying other boats and objects through his night goggles, while searching for an anchoring spot for the night. The next morning, we motored to Papeete on Tahiti Island, French Polynesia’s capital city. Tahiti is a volcanic island with peaks in 2241 meter (=7352 feet) of height.

There are two marinas and multiple anchorages in Tahiti. We called the downtown marina (Marina de Papeete). It is a first-come first-served basis. We were lucky to find a dock space at a marina. It allowed me to have easy access to all places on foot, directly from the boat.

It is time to visit the Tahiti Customs Office to finalize our arrival and the Biosecurity accounting desk to pay the import fee for our cat. We couldn’t pay earlier as credit card payment was not accepted. On the way back to the marina, we stopped by most of the marine stores and a grocery store in town. John found his favorite Spanish Jamon, cheese, and baguette. Later, I explored various types of local food and often bought fresh tuna. Sushi-grade tuna is always a good deal on the island.

In the Southern Hemisphere, daylight is still short at this time. In addition, people start their day very early. Before dawn, city workers empty the trash bins, water the plants and grass, and steam clean the boardwalk and streets. Most stores close early, even before 4 PM. On Fridays, it closes even earlier. On Sundays, the fresh market opens at 4:30 AM and peaks with local people by 6 AM. Most places are closed on Sundays except churches.

I went to the Catholic Church downtown on Sunday and attended the service. The father and his team greeted everyone by the entrance, with the father shaking hands with each individual. His sermon was in French. I didn’t understand it but being in a church, I thought about good things, even though I am a Buddhist.

Banana/Log Carrying Race, Tahiti Island, French Polynesia
Tattoo Arts, Tahiti Island, French Polynesia
City Buses, Tahiti Island, French Polynesia
Bread Section in Supermarket, Tahiti Island, French Polynesia
Nicely Cleaned Boardwalk by the Marina, Tahiti Island, French Polynesia
Outdoor Exercise at Park, Tahiti Island, French Polynesia
Catholic Church, Tahiti Island, French Polynesia
Waterfalls, Tahiti Island, French Polynesia
Inland Volcanic Craters, Tahiti Island, French Polynesia
Lake Vaihiria, Tahiti Island, French Polynesia
Southern Town in Tahiti Iti (Small Tahiti Island), French Polynesia
Freshwater Cave, Tahiti Island, French Polynesia
Bad Bunny with Korean Flag at Marina de Papeete, Tahiti Island, French Polynesia
Apple Store Looking Yacht “Venus” at Marina de Papeete, Tahiti Island, French Polynesia

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