5/13/2022 – 5/30/2022: Nuku Hiva to Papeete

With a little concern, we weighed anchor and headed south east out of Taiohae Bay at about 17:00 heading for Fatu Hiva in about 15 kts wind on our port beam. I unfurled the main as we exited the bay keeping it reefed to the first point. Our plan was to sail through the night and arrive at Hanavave or the Bay of Virgins before nightfall the following day.

Outside of the bay the wind picked up to 25kts and I tried to reef the main further but found that the in-mast furler would not move in or out! Without being able to drop the sail and head back, we were committed to press on and hoping to resolve it the next day. Somewhat close hauled in 25kts of wind and into the swell made it a very challenging night. We tried not to leave the cockpit as any movement below was dangerous.

The next morning we had not even made it to Tahuata, the island just north of Fatu Hiva. My calculations suggested we wouldn’t make our intended anchorage by sunset so we turned more west for Tahuata. In the meantime I tried to fix the stuck main furler, first thinking it might be a kinked or twisted line, which was fed back to cockpit under the deck. It was indeed twisted and I fixed that but still no movement. When I took off the plate at the base of the mast to look at the main furler flange, I found that the securing bolts had sheared off and the furler was ceased in the tight space.

With this new knowledge and the fact that with the sail permanently reefed to the first point and not able to be taken down, we committed to turn and sail directly to Papeete where we would deal with it in about 8 days. Fortunately the weather was favorable, at least for the first 3-4 days that we could trust on Predictwind forecasts.

To add to the excitement, we had taken on water during our rough night passage, crashing through waves and for some reason the bilge pump was not coming on consistently. We got it all dried out and committed to installing a new bilge pump in Papeete, but it seemed a little more onerous at the time. By the next morning we had made good progress in favorable winds and seas. Above is a video taken of the stern just before sunrise.

After the sun rose, the light would become so intense we had to put up a screen.

The squalls would come and go all around us occasionally dumping buckets of water on us and changing the wind direction.

Sunrises and sunsets were a daily show!

To get to Papeete in Tahiti, we had to pass through the Tuamotus, an archipelago of just under 80 low lying islands built on the reefs remaining from ancient volcanoes that have long since eroded away. The area was know as the “dangerous archipelago” to the early sailing explorers and has only recently become safer with improving navigation charts. In the picture above we’re passing Tahanea in a gap between motus of less than 10 miles. The sun had just gone down.

We passed the time reading novels, sometimes to each other, and writing blogs. For the last three days we lost our wind and being reluctant to run the engine (and the water compromised sail drive) we were forced to drift with the permanently raised main sail slapping back and forth in the swell. That was painful knowing that it was hurting the sail.

We finally sighted Tahiti and what a magnificent sight, as welcome and enticing a landfall as it must have been to sailors in the 18th century.

An excellent rigging company (Fenua rigging) in Papeete talked us through letting go the out haul and gathering the main sail and lashing it to the main mast so we could motor into the marina and safely into our slip. In hindsight we could have done this if we had visited Fatu Hiva, but it was probably best that we got to Papeete before we had bigger problems with our sail drive and propeller. We made our way to Techni Marine to haul Samsara out of the water to fix the sail drive.

Though expensive, Techni Marine was professional and thorough. While “on the hard” we also re-painted the bottom.

While our home was high and dry, Katie and I relaxed at the Tahiti Pearl Resort and enjoyed the purple sunsets.

8 thoughts on “5/13/2022 – 5/30/2022: Nuku Hiva to Papeete

  1. What a journey! The fulfillment of a dream and worth the sacrifice! We send our prayers and blessings for fair winds. The snow here is just beautiful – even Saddleback is nearly covered down to the base! 51 degrees but rising to 71 in 8 days. Beautiful sunsets but none to rival those in Tahiti. Our memories of Papeete are unforgettable. We are captivated by your pictures. Both of you are looking healthier than when you left! Batman

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tom, you know we’re still here in So Cal, right? We’re heading back to NZ next Wednesday. We have a meeting with Dave on Monday. Maybe we’ll see you there?


  2. Hi you guys!
    It’s Marilu & Claude from M/S Purea…we were next to you up in Loreto.
    We’re so enjoying your adventures and blogs. Hope our paths cross once again. We’re currently in Barra Navidad.
    Marilu & Claude

    Sent from my iPhone


    1. Great to hear from you Marilu! I be it’s beautiful in Barra. We’re currently in So Cal for the birth of our first grandson but heading back to NZ next week to continue the journey! Are you going to make the jump?


    2. Oh that’s exciting! A baby and you guys will make such fun grandparents!!
      No, we’re not planning on doing South Pacific but sure enjoying all Mexico has to offer…including the daily French Baker and his yummy pasteries…my pants won’t fit any longer if we keep this up! I need some book recommendations, btw!


      1. I’ve been reading non-fiction related to French Polynesia and have now moved on to New Zealand. I’ll let Katie know of your request.


  3. Hope you guys are having the time of your life

    Sent from my iPhone


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