The 100 mile trip up to Raiatea started well. A gorgeous full moon and a fast close fetch. Soon however, black mothers loomed to the north and for 8 hours we met with a succession of squalls and were deluged with the heaviest rain I have ever experienced. It was a relief to enter Raiatea’s southern pass soon after dawn and to motor inside the reef for 10 miles north to Uturoa town.


The city wharf was empty. In clearing weather we tied up and, after a palate-cleansing ale, collapsed into our respective comas. From the boat it is just 400 metres to the supermarket, where Melanie soon began her searches for the best brie and all manner of unidentifiable herbs, vegetables and other comestibles.

Our friends on Grin and Wind of Change arrived soon after and in twilight grandma Joan’s birthday was a cheerful celebration.

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