It isn’t uncommon for storms to whip through the islands of French Polynesia and when they do so in crowded mooring fields and anchorages, things get a bit intense. Marina Taina in Papeete is one such place – protected in most conditions…except when it is not.
In what was our third visit to Tahiti we went to Marina Taina for the first time and took a mooring while we sorted out our new dinghy, new-to-us dive gear and refilling the boat with food after we purposefully ate it ‘dry’ before hauling out last year.
The storm was forecast to pass South of Tahiti and while the crew from three boats were in downtown by car we started receiving stressed out text messages and phone calls. We hurried back, jumped in our dinghies and tried not to get rolled by the waves as we ran downwind from the dock to our pitching boats. All of our boats were fine and after we added an extra line to our mooring and secured our own vessel, we engaged what always becomes a community effort in a storm: saving each others asses (and stuff). Our friends rescued a dinghy. Carol and another guy wrestled down a sail on an unattended boat that was half unfurled, shredded, and trying to take down the boats rig. We answered phone calls from friends at jobs who couldn’t come back to their boats and kept an eye on their homes for them.
At the peak the winds were in the 45-50 knot range. Boats at sea experienced gusts to 60 knots. The peak of the storm was only a few hours and mostly we saw 30-35 knots on our mooring. Other than the hairy dinghy ride we were mostly watching in case other boats broke lines and came at us.
Estrellita is just fine of course as are her crew.