Logbook: Anse Amyot, Toau


There have been a lot of squalls and I picked these pictures to show you what French Polynesia looks like when the sun doesn’t shine. New colors of blue to watch.


Last year we avoided Anse Amyot because it was packed full of cruising boats at the height of the season when boats are transiting through French Polynesia on their way West. Also I think we weren’t ready for a restaurant and a crowd. We were enjoying the remoteness of the Tuamotus and figured that we would have plenty of time for crowded harbors in the Society Islands. Instead we visited the SE corner of Toau with the other 4 or 5 boats in the kiting crew.

P1000262This year we stopped in with our buddy boats and met the owners (Gaston and Valentine) who were fun and snorkeled the coral field just West of the main fish trap. The fish trap was extraordinarily sad. Not that I am opposed to catching fish, eating fish, or trapping fish with a trap. It was sad because there were sharks caught in the trap (they are later released) and a dead Napolean Wrasse inside. The coral field had some great spots and we enjoyed the snorkeling. I enjoyed the flat waters of the protected anchorage to play on our new standup paddleboard which I’ve been taking out for a spin almost every day.

Logbook: NE Apataki & Buddy Boating


P1000230After leaving the haul out facility we needed some serious RnR. We needed to play in the water, watch a lot of sunsets and slowly finish the odds and ends that needed to be stowed or fixed on the boat. We got that time by spending a week in the NE corner of Apataki.

We met up with two boats that we had met last year in the Tuamotus. Both boats have kiters aboard and we had a fantastic time kiting and hanging with them last year. They were our Tuamotu tutors; both boats had much more experience with French Polynesia and the Tuamotus in particular and we had a great time learning how to milk the fun out of the region from them. Since we all splashed at the haul out facility, we have been traveling in loose formation, playing in concert, and it’s been a great time. Who would have thought that three independent, free thinking cruising couples would have so much fun joined at the hip?


Carol has continued his schooling this year with an introduction to spear fishing which he has taken to with gusto. We are eating a lot more delicious fish and we need to buy a good gun for him at the next opportunity. You have to be quite careful of what fish you shoot in the Tuamotus as there is a particular type of poisoning you can get and the fish that carry it vary from atoll to atoll and even within atolls.

We rigged our aerial silks for the first time on deck, from the main halyard (google aerial silk if you haven’t seen these before). We were too excited to take any pictures but we’ll make sure to bust out the camera next time. We successfully climbed two different ways and tried some of the rest positions. You need relatively no wind so it is the perfect complement to kiteboarding in which you need wind.

Apataki Carenage: Haul out in the Tuamotus



If you want to haul your boat out in French Polynesia you have to choose between hauling out in Raiatea, Tahiti or Apataki. The first two are in the Society Islands and Apataki is in the Tuamotus.

P1000182We chose Apataki Carenage for three main reasons:

  • Apataki is less humid than the other two which reduces the mildew problems of a shut up boat.
  • Because the motu is private land, in a remote area, theft is not an issue. I’m sure boater-on-boater theft is a possibility as usual but otherwise there is no worries on that front. 
  • Apataki is the furthest East and thus a generally lower risk for cyclones (although yes the Tuamotus have been hit).

P1000206 After arriving we realized that we had other benefits that we hadn’t been expecting.

  • We felt like we were still cruising/on an adventure.
  • Daily swims in Tuamotu water.
  • Green coconuts for drinking.
  • Fish BBQs with the family and other cruisers.
  • The grocery store in the village (across the atoll) takes credit cards.

P1000101 We had arrived with a few concerns primarily related to the remoteness. People warned us about hauling out there because they said we wouldn’t be able to get supplies. I think as long as you aren’t planning a 3 day in-and-out haul out with no time to spare, supplies are not any more difficult than most other places. In fact, for English speakers I think Apataki is a good place to be because the family will use their cell phone and make calls for you to track down parts that you need. As for receiving supplies, there are 3 flights a week into Apataki that carry freight and every 2 weeks an interisland freighter arrives (MV Cobia III) which can carry heavy or non-airplane-suitable items such as batteries. Whatever is in Tahiti is accessible in a relatively short time frame from Apataki. In addition, the haul out facility has its own small store with commonly used supplies like grinding disks, paint brushes, bottom paint, epoxy, etc.

One bummer is the lack of internet at the haul out facility. We didn’t care about being out of touch but we didn’t realize the extent to which we have relied on the internet in previous haul outs to solve problems that come up in repairs. The carenage has satellite internet which works, slowly, and not always. In the village they have normal internet and you can arrange to take the boat to the family’s home in the village and use the internet there (while shopping) which is what we did.

P1000186 Tuamotus Compendium Addition and Correction: The compendium gives a second hand report of a dispute about the bill between a boat and the carenage. Our experience was that the bill was the same as quoted in advance and the family was exquisitely careful to apprise us of any additional costs for things we requested after the initial quote (which was almost identical to the prices on their website). Also, the compendium reports a $30/day liveaboard fee which would have been a deal breaker for us. This is not currently correct and perhaps a language issue. On the bill the carenage lists a daily fee for “vie abord” which means living aboard. However this amount includes the fee for the boat to be on the hard for that day (lay day) and so you must subtract their normal lay day fee from this fee to see the actual living aboard premium. Living aboard increased our lay day fee by 1000 CPF or about $12USD per day.

In sum: If we were leaving our boat in French Polynesia again we would definitely return to Apataki Carenage. If we were hauling out for a short trip we would haul out there as well. If we needed work done on our boat by someone else, we would probably try to avoid hauling out in French Polynesia at all.

I’ve got (a good case of) the blues



The colors of blue in the tropics are so vivid and varied that they are difficult for me to keep in memory. When we left for N America I would tell people that the blue was indescribable. It is a color that you must see to understand and even photos can’t convey the intensity. Even having experienced and lived surrounded by these colors for part of a year, even having taken photos and videos, even after attempting to describe them while in the USA, the blues still took my breath away when we returned to French Polynesia.

It is as if your mind cannot fully contain the sensory input and so you can’t really remember the blues when you remove yourself from their presence.

This photo is from the village in the NE of Fakarava (Rotoava), Tuamotus, French Polynesia and the anchorage is nice enough but not particularly beautiful…and yet this is the color of the water when the sun shines.

The Estrellita Report: 2013 Update #1


These quick summaries are for non-regular blog readers. Regular readers will see them a few times a year and can tune them out. For various subscription options, including more regular updates, go here. Should you wish to bail on this list if receiving by email, there should be instructions for removing yourself appended.


Our last quick summary was in July of 2012 and we told you that our current plan was to spend hurricane season in New Zealand. Well, they joke that cruising plans are written in the sand at low tide and this is a good example of that. We never made it to NZ.

Having fallen in love with French Polynesia, we went to the Cook Islands and decided that although it would involve two passages upwind against the trades that we were going to sail back to French Polynesia. Thus, after having a great time at Suwarrow and at Penrhyn in the Cook Islands, we sailed back to Bora Bora.

If you want a taste of our initial time in French Polynesia we made three videos: The Coconut Odyssey, A Taste of the Marquesas, and A Taste of the Societies.

We continued our upwind sailing all of the way through the Society Islands back to Apataki in the Tuamotus (both are part of French Polynesia). We left the boat in Apataki on the hard and flew back to North America where we spent 3 months being thoroughly spoiled by friends and family. And I mean SPOILED. All of our dual income friends took it upon themselves to treat us and host us time and time again. Thank you – you know who you are and we look forward to your visit on the boat.

While we were in N America we started the process of applying for a long stay visa for French Polynesia. This was subsequently granted and on my birthday we flew back to Tahiti where we stayed with friends in their gorgeous home who spoiled us further.

That is basically where the updates on the blog have left off. We still have to write about our trip to Apataki on one of the interisland freighters and our experiences in the Tuamotus since arrival. We plan to cruise in the Tuamotus this season and spend next hurricane season (N American winter) back in the Marquesas. After hurricane season we will continue our journey West further into the Pacific and leave French Polynesia fondly in our memories.

Feel free to drop us a comment on the blog or an email at s.v.estrellita@gmail.com

Hull Art


You might remember the hull art from our last haul out which was geared toward our impending departure southbound to Mexico via the USA. This year we continued the tradition with a Blade Kiteboarding “b” on the rudder, an illustration of the fun-to-suck ratio on the port side of the keel and some “fierce” teeth on starboard.

P1000199 P1000200 

I would like to say the multi-colored paint was intentional but again we were faced with the last two gallons at a chandlery in Mexico just prior to departure and they had two gallons of the paint we wanted, one blue and one red.

It’s nice to end a long sweaty haul out with a bit of fun.


Click on the dollar and buy Livia and Carol a cold frosty one:


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