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URGENT NOTICE FOR FRENCH POLYNESIA CRUISERS

We received an email from Chuck on SV Jacaranda regarding new and not so great changes for those cruising to French Polynesia. We’ve copied his email in its entirety here. This is information you definitely need if you’re headed that way. Sure glad we made it through there when we did.

If you have questions, Chuck’s information is at the bottom of this post.

The French Polynesia paradise is changing rapidly.  There are a number of locations with anchoring restrictions either already put in place or going to be put in place very soon. The anchoring restrictions are not the only thing happening regarding Yachties in FP.

The French Polynesia Yachting Association (AVP) is a group located in FP trying to help resolve these issues.  See additional information at the end of this post.

Press release from the AVP (Association des Voiliers en Polynesie)
–       Association of Sailboats in Polynesia –

The AVP is concerned about a recent evolution towards restricting the conditions of stay of sailboats in French Polynesia.

For the last few months, one has witnessed a whole series of constraints, prohibitions, even violent actions towards the sailing community:

–        In Bora Bora, total prohibition to anchor, even on sandy grounds (sole available areas in green on the chart below). Obligation to take a mooring for 3000 xpf/night, without any guarantee the mooring is safe, as proven in the case of catamaran “Archer” which broke its lines, suffered considerable damage as did the pontoon of the Pearl Beach Hotel it ended up against. The boat’s insurance had to cover these damages, but the moorings concession holder (“BBMS”) refuses to answer the boat’s insurance queries, and notably confirm whether he is insured or not. (as of 11/11/2019).

–       In Raiatea, several yachts were insulted, menaced, and in at least one instance attacked in the Miri Miri area. One of the catamarans (“Tao”) had its anchor line cut – while the owner of the yacht was filming the deeds. A police report was filed, but was not followed up by the Attorney General (as of 11/11/2019). The DPAM (Maritime Affairs Department has informed the AVP, without showing any legal documents to that effect, that in fact anchoring was illegal throughout Polynesia and that regulations were being drafted to confirm these prohibitions wherever required.

–       In Moorea, a “PGEM” will shortly be put in place (General plan for the maritime area):

o     Prohibition to anchor outside area defined by the PGEM.

o     Prohibition to exceed the quotas allocated to each area.

o     83 boats maximum allowed over the entire Moorea lagoon.

o     50% of these allowed anchorages will be well inside the bays (Cook and Oponohu) in 25 to 35m of water.

o     Most allowed areas are on the Northern side of the island, where the sandy areas are the smallest and where hence the risk of damaging flora and fauna are the highest and where the concentration of housing and touristic activities are highest.

o     48 hours maximum allowed in any one location.

o     Only 13 boats will be allowed on the Eastern side of the island, the only one likely to be accessible reasonably by sailboats coming from Tahiti for the limited 48h allowed. Moorea has over 50 resident sailboats on this side of the island, and Tahiti over 250 resident sailboats. These areas will be used by the sailboats from marina Vaiare in Moorea for their week-end outings.

o     These quotas will be reviewed annually unilaterally by the commission.

–        In Tahiti, the Taina area is due to be “evacuated”. Some 63 boats were there on November 4th, more than 80 in high season. Some are wrecks, but most are in perfect state, and are either transient boats, awaiting spare parts or on provisioning runs or boats parked there more permanently. This technical stop is absolutely indispensable for all boats in transit after a long passage. Taina is home to a marina (full), a fixed mooring field (full) and an area of tolerated anchorage, which now is being cleared.

–        The minister in charge of this issue proposes to relocate some of these boats to Taravao (on the Southern end of Tahiti, some 40 miles away!), perhaps in a new marina that may be built a few years down the road (!), and meanwhile in zones P2 to P5 below in areas without landing facilities, and in any case catering to less than 60% of the boats concerned.

o      P3,P4 and P5: No landing possibilities at all, less than 1.5m depth and already occupied by small crafts used as party boats.

o      P2: Vaitupa Bay, already saturated as shown in the satellite picture below.

The increase in the number of yachts since the rules of stay were changed 5 years ago has led to some degree of rejection from the local population. Some elected members of Parliament have indicated their intention to legiferate in order to prohibit the lagoon on the Southern side of Tahiti and thereby avoid the migration of boats towards this area, quite in opposition of what the Minister indicated. 

All existing infrastructure of the territory is saturated: Marina Taina, Marina Papeete, Marina Apooiti in Raiatea, , Yacht Club in Tahiti, Marina Vaiare in Moorea, Taravao, Raiatea mooring fields all full and will not be able to receive the yachts being removed following the prohibition to anchor.

The AVP points to the fact that the nautical tourism has been earmarked as a strategic component in the economic development of French Polynesia, towards which it contributes over 1.5 billion CFP today.

Aiming at increasing this contribution further, the government has chosen to increase the number of sailboats by lengthening the allowed duration of stay and by decreasing the import tax for boats to some 7% (June 2014).

However, against this increase, no new infrastructure has been put in place, leading to a significant concentration of yachts on anchor in all islands, and generating the relative rejection by locals today.

The AVP is a non profit organization founded and run by sailors, both transient and resident. Its charter includes:

–        Promote the image of the sailing community

–        Defend sailors rights

–        Educate sailors to all existing regulation and good practices, in particular environmental and cultural.

–        – Provide practical information regarding anchorages, infrastructure, suppliers and services to facilitate the stay of transient boats and the general well being of all concerned.

Contact:  http://voiliers.asso.pf
avp.tahiti@gmail.com
87 70 36 15 Arnaud JORDAN

Further information from Chuck
Currently AVP is the only group representing the yachties both French and International that is: 
1.  Attending the majority of meetings held by government agencies related to the sailing community.
2.  informing the general sailing folks that the meetings are taking place and where.
3. Summarizing the meeting and informing the sailing community.
4. They gather up all the incidents of issues in FP relating to the sailing community.
5.  They are also trying to gather any theft incidents, helping non french speakers submit a online police report and then helping follow up.
6.  The AVP have come up with a good practice charter and flag that will show the locals this boat has signed up to respect the lagoons, not pollute, etc etc.
7.  AVP has organized discounts with many marine vendors in Tahiti. Your membership card can pay for the membership in short order.

I could probably come up with more reasons to join if given more time.

In general AVP are the boots on the ground.  If not for AVP in many cases we would not have a clue what laws are being proposed and how they are being implemented.  Not speaking french we don’t listen to the radio or watch FP tv.

By having yachties join the number of boats they represent will gain more leverage in the talks to senior ministers.

HOW CAN YOU HELP WITH THE ISSUES IN FRENCH POLYNESIA – JOIN AVP >> For less than $17US your membership makes a difference.

How to join AVP https://voiliers.asso.pf/comment-adherer/

Additional write up by Totem
https://www.sailingtotem.com/2019/11/time-to-skip-tahiti.html

Safe Sailing

Chuck
Jacaranda

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The Sky Isn’t Falling

The tales from the grim reaper aren’t that bad. Yes for the last nine days Dazzler and her crew have had patches of weather and a few daily fixes. But in the big picture her crew has learned many things to better understand the whole sailing thing. Everyone has their favorite point of sail and we have ours as well. Our least favorite is having your ear pinned down trying to go as close to weather and as fast as possible. There has to be a level of comfort or the human body gets fatigued. Let’s face it, with a crew of two comfort is a big factor. We generally hove to to make the hot evening meal and that feels as if we are at anchor. Nice break from all the motion of the ocean and subliminal core exercises that Dr. Oz never told us about.

Dazzler and her crew have enjoyed watching her stretch out her legs and lean into the wind. For the last few days we have experienced a good point of sail with 15-20 knots of wind from the east with our coarse of 185°-194° true. The apparent wind angle has been about 70° apparent. Not a bad point of sail but when we add the 1.5-2.5 meter swells running out of the southeast the sea pushes back a bit. Since yesterday afternoon the wind has been coming straight out of the east and Dazzler has hit her glory. We have experience winds from 120°-90° true and she seems to be very happy. For a small heavy vessel she doesn’t give way too easily to the constant bullying of the sea so she holds line very well.

One of the things that I’ve been working on for the last several years is learning to fine tune Dazzler’s sail plan and balance. Constantly adjusting the different sails and noticing how they affect the relationship with regards to how hard the autopilot is working. Currently her sail plan for the above mentioned wind and swell pattern is a double reefed main, fully deployed staysail and the jib let out to the shape of a high clew yankee (About an 80% sail). As she leans into the wind we have been enjoying 6.0-7.0 knots per hour. I must say it’s quite nice compared to those close hauled bone jarring wave crashing times at the helm. She runs smoothly at this wind angle and obtains great speed as we are starting to make up a little time on our passage.

As luck would have it, we are expecting a low pressure front to move across north island New Zealand on 9 November and our scheduled date of arrival is 8 November. So, making up as many miles along the way to ensure we arrive on the eighth of November is important. And who knows what challenging circumstances may rise up to our delight. By the way Neptune that wasn’t a challenge. LOL

The weather is decidedly colder here at 26° south than in Fiji. Granted Fiji had its share of cloudy cool days as well. But Fiji is coming into its cyclone season and summer months now. So is New Zealand for that matter. We were told how warm it was last season by the local Kiwis, but to us 69° and 72° was butt ass cold. Kiwis are walking around in shorts and barefoot and we are all bundled up like we’re going on an arctic adventure with Sir Edmund Hillary. I guess the term of winter or summer is all relative to the thickness or lack of thickness of your blood.

Dazzler is 32 years young and still has a great spirit for bluewater sailing. I try to stay on top of all the preventative maintenance, but issues such as a water lift muffler are something I’ve never experienced or even heard of before. Perhaps they have a service life. Perhaps there is a way to check their condition. Without internet, I can’t search that issue. Rest assured when we get to NZ we will look that up along with where to get a good quality replacement.

Yes that list of projects for New Zealand is growing every day. Six months of sipping drinks with little umbrellas has its price. It’s called Maintenance! Nothing is free in water world! Cruising anywhere and living your dream is not free. Not necessarily money, but your time and labor as well. You could do as some do and have the attitude of deferring maintenance or you can stay on top of it by fixing things when they present themselves. I myself like to even outsmart those pesky things and fix them before they become an issue. In some case those simple projects grow because you find other issues when you’re fixing the first one. For example changing Dazzler’s oil before we left Fiji and finding a nut from one of the shaft flange bolts under the engine. At least we dodged that bullet.

So you see, while I’m sitting here on the morning watch screaming in a southerly direction towards John’s Corner at 7 knots, I am enjoying the relationship we all share. You know the one between Dazzler, crew, the sea, the wind and paradise! You may not think 7 knots is that fast, but for those armchair sailers or those custom to the yacht club bar stool it’s faster than the 405 in West Los Angeles at rush hour but a hell of a lot more fun.

Until next time catch us if you can. Cheers!
Captain Dan

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Is My Rubber Room Ready

Day 4 Fiji to New Zealand

Last night was certainly one I do not want to repeat. We’re both exhausted and ready to have this passage behind us. I’m trying to look at the bright side of things as I sit in the cockpit on watch. Due to our watch schedule it’s rare that I’m awake for sunset or sunrise. This morning, however, I will get to see the sunrise as I let Dan get some additional sleep. I’m excited at the prospect of seeing the golden sun clear the horizon. It’s the dawning of a new day and one I hope will bring better things for us and this journey.

It’s Halloween morning and I had already written an eerie poem about the sinking of a pirate ship and posted it on the blog along with a photo of me dressed as an evil pirate Wench. With all the mishaps and bad things happening on this passage I’m beginning to wonder if I jinxed us by writing it in the first place.

The sun should be coming up soon as I can see the sky beginning to lighten. As it gets lighter I realize there will be no picturesque sunrise to start my day. It seems the dark cloud that is following this passage has now enveloped the entire sky. There is just one opening in the clouds and as I look at it I can’t believe my eyes. It literally looks like a skull. I can’t make this up! I even take a photo because no one will believe it. I can’t help but wonder if this is some ominous sign but as quickly as that thought enters my head I fight to flush it from my brain. “It’s merely a coincidence. Stop letting your imagination get the best of you.” I say aloud. “I really, really need to get some sleep.” In an effort to change my thoughts I open my iPad and play a little mindless solitaire for the next two hours.

Dan wakes up around 0730 and takes over so I can get my sleep. I’ve only had about an hour and a half in the past seventeen hours so I’m ready. It takes mere seconds for me to fall into a deep slumber that even the pounding of the waves can’t penetrate.

Several hours later I wake to nature’s call. I can feel that the boat is not being tossed around quite as violently as she has in the past few days and I’m delighted. Finally, maybe our luck has turned around and the rest of this passage will be smooth sailing. I crawl from the bunk and hit the head. I’m a happy girl because I’m feeling like everything is finally going to be okay.

I’ve just completed my business when the boat makes a quick lurch to the starboard side that literally catapults me AND the toilet seat off of the throne. I try grabbing hold of the shower wall and sink but the force is too much. It’s as if my bum and the seat are one as we slide forward and slam into the door. The next thing I know I’m standing there with my knickers to my knees looking in the mirror. I have one hand on the shower wall and in the other I’m holding the toilet seat. At this point there are no tears, no salty sailor swear words. No, I just burst out laughing. I mean honestly, what else can I do? I’m mentally and physically exhausted and probably just moments from needing a reservation at the Rubber Room Palace. Laughter is all I have left.

I set the seat down, pull up my britches, wash my hands and walk out. I walk straight up to the cockpit where I inform Dan that he has yet another boat project to work on. We both have a great laugh at my expense and fortunately it takes him mere minutes to reattach the seat. He does tell me I need to hold on better in the future though.

The rest of the day is fairly benign as far as catastrophes go. The winds and swell are what they are and we just keep pushing through. When it’s time for dinner we decide to hove to so that I’m not getting bounced around the galley. Hoving to is a wonder thing. I’m able to make our spaghetti dinner easily and quickly and for the first time on this trip we both sit at the table and enjoy a meal together. Maybe things are going to be okay after all.

Until next time…
Jilly & Dan