Azyu - The Pacific isn’t always a millpond…

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Some friends (two couples) have just joined us to explore the Leeward Islands. We’ll be doing a classic circuit of Moorea, Raiatea, Taha’a and Bora-Bora. But a depression is forecast for the next few days. We will have to wait in the port of Papeete. Having removed their necklaces of Tahitian gardenias, our hosts visited the capital: the flower market, the cathedral, the Paofai gardens, the magnificent Presidential Palace and the Street Art frescoes. In Papeete’s marina, the swell arrives and gets to work: the mooring lines stretch and slacken, dockline snubbers break, the boats waddle like drunken corks, and some of the uninhabited boats career from side to side. The weather is getting worse; it might be a cyclogenesis, a phenomenon that looks like a cyclone without being one, linked to two unstable systems that meet and form a vortex. So Azyu headed towards the Taravao isthmus that joins the main part of Tahiti to the Taiarapu peninsula to the south. This is a hurricane hole, the only one in French Polynesia. The peninsula is wild and the road does not even make it all the way round it. From the belvedere up on the hill, the view towards Tahiti Nui is magnificent. Except when, like today, the mist covers the peaks, and you just have to forget about the view. «It’s strange how small the red buoy is,» remarked Erell, while Jean-Marie circumspectly observed the sea level, almost at the level of the pier. The next day, we learned that an underwater volcano had erupted in Tonga, 1,400 miles west of Tahiti. The explosion had triggered a tsunami in the four corners of the Pacific, which explains the rise in water levels. This tsunami had no effect in Polynesia. Right, it was time to go! Azyu set off towards the neighboring island of Moorea. This was no quiet cruise though. There was a cross swell and violent squalls. Gentle cruising and sunbathing on deck seems a million miles away!

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