Teahupoo in Tahiti Iti (in Tahitian) or Presque'Ile (in French)

17 51.3S 149 15.6W 29 May 2016

Dear friends,

We are writing with the roar of one of the world's famous surf waves behind us, but there is barely a ripple hitting the hulls at anchor in 20 metres of water behind the reef. When some surfing championships were held on this wave at Teahupoo, there were waves recorded over 8 meres high! Whereas Tahiti lies in the mostly-placid tropics, the long swells arrive uninterrupted from the roaring fourties.

After Dulcinea went back into the water from the TechniMarine boat yard in Papeete, her crew was exhausted, but satisfied with some big jobs well done. Luc Vacher helped by building two new beams under the bridge deck. The new fuel tank from NSI in Taravao was installed. The bottom paint is so clean that it seems a shame to leave Dulcinea in the water. The photo shows an old beam unable to hold Jonathon's (who also helped) weight whereas the new one with a lot of unidirectional glass and SAN foam core, bent barely more than 1cm.

All boat yards are dusty and dirty places so while Dave used the limits of his vocabulary plumbing around the new fuel tank, Jan scrubbed and cleaned the boat for a few days.

We wrestled with gremlins while anchored off Maeva Beach and Marina Taine on the NW of Tahiti, and we rested. We watched a few sunsets over Moorea, and many competitive pirogue paddlers sweat their way past us. We also had a wonderful french supper in Papeete with Luc, Jonathon, and his wife and baby. We filled the fuel tanks at the cheap duty-free price and set off SE for the isthmus and the "presque'Isle" at the south end of Tahiti.

P Phaeton at Taravao on the isthmus is a beautiful anchorage, and very close to a good Carrefour Super Market. A smiling, helpful, egregious fellow in a bright red dress recommended which pâté to buy - what a shame to head back to where they argue about who should use which toilet. We brought the dinghy ashore beside the "boulodrome" where a keen group plays Petonque (or Boules) every evening. They were good. But there were mosquitoes around in the quiet nights

Since Jan's birthday is so close, it seemed appropriate to have one more good French meal, so we dined at Terre Mer last night looking out over the anchorage, and up at the hillside on Presque'Isle where we had walked that afternoon. The geography conspires to give added rainfall to the area and there are many market gardens on the gentler slopes. There is also a spectacular view of the reefs.

Harking back to terminology that we learnt from John and Jeanie 15 years ago in Turkey, who claimed that each time they dropped the anchor they had survived a "near death experience", after we decided to wend inside the reef 12 miles from P Pheaton to Teapuhoo, and the last turn into the anchorage was sharp without any marks, we felt that we had had one of those experiences when coral appeared a few inches below the surface off the starboard hull.

This is literally the end of the road on Presque'Ile, as only boat transport or a rugged foot path carry on SE from here.

Over the next few days, we shall look for a southerly turn in the east winds and make our way back via the familiar but favourite territory of the Tua Motus, and thence to the Marquesas, Hawaii, and Vancouver Island. Having sailed away from Victoria BC 16 years earlier, we thought it may be fitting to sail back into the Inner Harbour for a celebratory return to Canada which we hope may be around the first week of September - we'll see.

Jan, Dave, and Dulcinea.