We arrived about noon on Good Friday and we love this place! Of course, we would have thought any place a paradise after 29 days at sea!
The check-in here was very strange. Arriving on Good Friday, we were not sure if the proper dignitaries would be available to take care of all paperwork. When we went ashore we took only our passports with us. A local boater assured us that since the truck was not at the Gendarmerie, the gendarme would not be in. We stopped by again 20 minutes later and he was there. We asked if we should go back to the boat and get our other paperwork. His answer was that we only had to fill out a form and, if we could remember the info, we did not need any other paperwork. That was it...we filled out the form. He kept one copy, we kept one copy and the third was folded in three parts, stapled and needs to be carried to the post office on Tuesday to go to Papeete. No charges, no hassle. He did not even want to see any Zarpes and we had worked so hard to see that we had the right paperwork before we left. I think we could have gotten any length of stay here with no problems as well. What a lovely place!
Eggs are 50 cents/each (each egg, that is!)...not so lovely. Sardines from Peru are 60c/can and the baguettes are 75c/ea. I think we may live on bread and sardines as we have only $250 in cash to last us for the month til we get to Papeete. When we leave we must take our passports back to the Gendarme to be stamped and then he will notify Raivavae that we are on our way there.
This island is incredibly beautiful and orderly. They are not very high - 1500' at the highest. There is the most lush vegetation all around including coniferous trees, mangoes, bougainvilleas, and many other flowering bushes.
The yards are pretty much enclosed with fences or bushes but all are manicured beautifully with pots of flowers etc. There is no garbage laying around. The climate seems very comfortable. The anchorage is 65' deep but the water is so clear that you can see the bottom and watch the fish swimming around. The people seem very friendly and it is terribly frustrating not to be able to speak better French to converse with them.
We will be busy the next few days with cleaning, drying out and repairing sails. There are only seven boats here in the anchorage right now but several others are on the way. We are happy that we got here early before the crunch. Guess that's all for now. Wanted to let you know that we arrived safe and are ecstatic about the place.
Jane and Sander