Posted on Leave a comment

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

Advertisements
Posted on 2 Comments

Tahiti … No Paradise!

My watch is nearing it’s end. It’s almost 0400 and off in the distance I can see the pale grey lights of Papeete, Tahiti illuminating the dark purple sky. I hear Dan start to stir in the cabin so I head below to make coffee for us. I won’t be going back to sleep now. We’ve only got a couple more hours until we arrive and I always enjoy watching the sun come up as we enter a harbor.

We reach the western tip of the island and finally the large rollers start to settle down a bit. The sun is coming up over the mountainous island and we’re both ready to get into port. We are going to stay at the Tahiti Yacht Club. We will be moored out but it will be nice to have a place with hot showers and laundry facilities.

There’s a reef that surrounds the island so I head to the bow pulpit to stand watch. We talk back and forth on our headsets as we watch the island grow larger. We are about a quarter mile out when we begin to hear the noises of the city. It’s immediately obvious we are going to be experiencing a bit of culture shock. The sound alone is much louder than we’re used to these days. After all, the places we’ve been over the past few months have had sometimes as few and 50 or 60 residents and Papeete alone has over 137 thousand. Yes, this will take some getting used to for us.

Blog 2

We arrive at a mooring ball and once we are all tied off it’s time for our anchor down beers. There won’t be much time to settle in, however, as we’ve a long list of parts and supplies we hope to acquire here. This is the first place we’ve seen since México that has a large offering of provisions and boat supplies.

We waste no time in getting to shore. One thing we’ve been warned about is theft here in Papeete so for the first time since I’ve been on board Dazzler we actually take a cable and lock to secure Sparkle to the dinghy dock.

On shore we spend a few minutes trying to find out who we pay for the mooring. No one speaks very good English and as I’ve said before, our French leaves a lot to be desired. After about fifteen minutes we find the man in charge. He tells us not to worry about paying since we’ll only be there a night or two. He provides us with keys to the shower and is nice enough to phone a taxi for us to get to downtown.

The taxi driver is much like those in México and the rest of the world. He’s hurried and changing lanes frequently. There’s tons of traffic and noise and chaos everywhere. I can feel myself becoming overwhelmed by it all. I sense Dan is feeling the same.

The first stop is to drop off our propane tank. We ran out of propane while I was making coffee this morning. The driver drops us at a gas station but it’s not what we’ve read in the compendiums so we are feeling ill at ease. The guy inside assures Dan everything is fine and so we leave our tank hoping we will see it again in a few days. The good news for me is I can’t cook so we’ll have to try some of the restaurants here until it comes back.

Now it’s time to head into the commercial district to locate marine supply stores and such. As we walk the streets I’m feeling more uncomfortable by the moment. It’s very loud and crowded and nothing at all like the peaceful places we’ve enjoyed along our journey. It’s also very dirty. There’s trash everywhere with large piles of it on almost every street corner. Some is in bags but much isn’t so it’s left to the whim of the wind. México is not the cleanest country but I’m feeling like Papeete is the worst we’ve seen.

We walk from part store to part store and are not having much luck. It’s frustrating. We’re hot and both of us are exhausted. We did manage to find a couple of items but not nearly as much as we hoped. Finally we leave one store and decide it’s time to head back to the waterfront to get a bite to eat before going back to the boat to crash.

We have a tourist map that we picked up so we leave the last store and see what appears to be a shortcut back to the waterfront. As we start walking down this street it becomes immediately apparent we have taken a bad turn. All of the sudden we see lots of less than savory characters milling about. One look down beside a building and I see tents and mothers with babies sitting on the ground. It’s pure squaller. Everyone is looking at the two of us knowing we certainly don’t belong here. On the walls there are signs of gang activity in the form of tagging. I’ve got my cell phone in my hand so I ever so slightly slide it into my backpack which I hold onto tightly with both hands. Dan’s head is on a swivel. He’s watching everyone and everything and sticking very close to me. It is the longest five minute walk of my life. As we reach the end of the road we head right toward the water. We walk about a hundred or so yards and then stop so Dan can look at the map. He’s got his back to a wall and I’m standing guard. Then from the street we had just walked down, a young man in his twenties comes out as if he’s looking for us. When he sees me staring straight at him he quickly turns back and leaves. Phew! I’m ready to get the hell out of Dodge and soon!!!

collage

We make our way back to the waterfront and stop at a little bar called the Bora Bora Lounge. It’s all open air and they have fans with misters to keep us cool. We sit down and order a picture of beer and some lunch. We both discuss the fact that we do not want to stay in this place any longer than necessary. It’s obvious there is a lot of crime here. Yes, it looks beautiful from the water and even the first couple of blocks off the water are nice and fairly clean but if you get more than three blocks from there it’s dangerous territory. Dan even tells me I’m not allowed to wear my jewelry to town again. I never wear much but he’s afraid any of it will attract the criminal element.

The good news is we fell in love with the BBL. Isabella who is currently the manager but is working to buy the place is a complete sweetheart. And the food there is off the charts good. Oh yes, super fast free wifi as well. That’s something after months of sluggish connections. During our stay here we visit there almost daily for lunch or happy hour.

After one night we decide to move the boat to the Downtown Papeete Marina. A taxi ride from the TYC was 30 PFC one way to downtown. As much as we don’t want to deal with the noise, we do like the idea of being walking distance to stores and such. Also, many other cruisers that we know from México are there so it will be nice to catch up.

Blog 4
My new hairdo, necklace and pareo and I’m ready to hit the town for a special dinner with my honey and our friends, Ed & Linda of SV One Fine Day!

We end up spending about twelve days in Papeete. Unfortunately it took us that long to get the supplies we need and make a few repairs to Dazzler and we did have some great things go on.  For me, I got the best haircut I’ve ever had there. The second is that my amazing man bought me a beautiful black pearl necklace. He saw it in the store and told the lady to put it on me. Once it was on he said it was perfect and I needed to have it! I love this man!

Blog-Vodka1.jpg

 

 

So, what are the good things about Papeete? Well, in addition to the BBL and Isabella, we did find a few other redeeming qualities. Obviously provisioning was good. We finally were able to find real iceberg lettuce so we got to have some really good salads. They have great meats and lots of amazing cheeses to choose from. Liquor was a little less expensive than in the Marquesas and Tuomotos but I’m still drinking rum because I refuse to pay $60 USD for a small bottle of vodka. In one store we saw the small bottle of Grey Goose for…wait for it… $92 USD!

 

Blog 5It was nice to have a variety of different, quality restaurants to choose from as well. And, being near our dear friends, Ed & Linda was awesome too!  We spent quite a bit of time together and shared many a meal while we were there. One night we had them over to Dazzler for some of Dan’s famous Arracharra Tacos and Ed even treated several of us to a delicious meal of Orange Beef! Oh yeah!

There’s a wonderful fresh fish and vegetable market called the Marché de Papeete. It’s a huge, two story building where you can find the freshest fish and veggies at really good prices. You can pick up other touristy things as well like t-shirts, hats, bags, jewelry etc… It’s open Monday to Saturday and turned out to be a great spot for us. We had fresh tuna several times while we were here. It was $5 USD/kilo. Can’t beat that!

Blog 3In the evenings starting around 1800 at the Place Vai’ete along the waterfront the roulottes start to open up. These are food trucks and they set up tables and chairs and serve everything from Chinese to hamburgers, to ice cream to steak and frites (fries). We tried them three times. My first experience wasn’t all that great. I ordered fried shrimp. They batter them, then deep fry them with the heads & shells on. By the time you get the heads and shells off the coating is gone. And, they were so hot I literally scorched the tips of my fingers. But, I didn’t let this keep me from trying again. That’s when I found the beef satay and OMG was it awesome! I was immediately hooked. In fact, we’d have come back several more times but we only got one more chance before we left.

If you’re coming by boat I’d recommend staying that the downtown marina. The location is perfect because you can walk to just about everything. And the shower facilities were nice and water was hot, unlike at the TYC which not only had no hot water but the water and lights are on a timer. There’s nothing like the lights going off while you’re in the shower. No, not a good thing.

Collage Tahiti 2

As far as we’re concerned, Tahiti is not paradise! There’s too much chaos, noise and crime. I actually did some reading on the crime there and it’s pretty bad. One elderly man was recently robbed and beaten with a rock near the ferry terminal. Some good samaritans stopped and ran the bad guys off. They called the police and an ambulance. The ambulance came but the police never did. And that’s not a one time thing. Basically they say the local police do virtually nothing.  There is definitely a drug problem and no doubt there are gangs. Ask a local business owner and they will say there is little crime but anyone with eyes can see that’s not true. They just don’t want to run off the tourists. No, Tahiti didn’t do much for us. In fact we said we’d only stop back there if we were on a path that led us nearby and we needed to provision and even then we would do it much more expeditiously and move on.

One final note that I feel must be included to be fair is that we only stayed in Papeete. We did not move around the island to the less congested areas where there are more resorts etc… It may be a lot different there but we’re guessing there is still going to be significant crime as the criminals prey on tourists. There’s no doubt that Tahiti is putting on a show for the tourists and they depend upon them. It was honestly a bit disappointing for us as we’ve both always dreamed of going to Tahiti. You know the image…palm trees swaying as they lean out over a white sand beach that is being kissed by gin colored waters??? Unfortunately that was not our experience but we know there are many more beautiful and amazing places in our future and we’re glad we did visit even if it didn’t live up to our expectations.

Until next time…

Jilly & Dan