Nick woke me at 1am for my watch and as the night wore on the glow of civilisation ahead became stronger and stronger. Not since Martinique had our landfall suggested such a concentration of civilisation, and it was a welcome sight. Surely here we could get some fresh fruit and veg, visit a net cafe and perhaps find a launderette. After sunrise, Tahiti looked very much like a Marquesan island - mountainous, and lush - but it's important to remember that it, like all the Society islands, is surrounded by a barrier reef. It's a 'melange' (my new french word) of the Marquesas and the Tuamotus. As we motored inside the reef, toward Papeete, we had to dodge fishing boats, water skiers, leisure boats and jet skis. This place is a major tourist spot and the quantity of yachts in the anchorage reflected this.
We spotted Zeferin and dropped anchor in a space behind her at about noon ship's time. We have heard and read much about Tahiti, particularly Papeete, being crowded and unfriendly but when we visited the town this afternoon, we liked what we saw and were pleasantly surprised by how helpful the locals were. It is extremely expensive however, and though there is internet access and a laundry, the cost makes us think twice about using the facilities. We have yet to see the fresh fruit and veg but we live in hope. It is Sunday after all.
The anchorage is within the reef and though it's busy, it is very comfortable. The water is amazingly clean. We are anchored in 15 metres and can see the bottom. We have spent some time this evening catching up with Zeferin and swapping coral stories. Joan and I also compared 'no-no' scars - it seems they found her as tasty as me!