It’s time to fly home! Where’s a good place to leave our boat in the Society Islands while we go home for a few months? You know, to visit family, work, get married, the usual stuff! 🙂
We chose Port Phaeton in the town of Taravao, which is one of the best anchorages in French Polynesia. It is nearly landlocked, deep in a bay sheltered by numerous reefs and headlands. It is sheltered from every wind angle, especially the tropical summer storm winds from the NW, and the wintery maramus from SE.
During the summer season (Nov-Apr), occasionally tropical depressions and storms (and very rare cyclones) make their way to Tahiti. However, during the winter season (May-Oct) the weather is usually mild, with the only problem being periodic fronts with drizzly rain and gusty winds.
Taravao is located in the isthmus between the two lobes of Tahiti, which are called Tahiti Nui (“big Tahiti) and Tahiti Iti (“small Tahiti”). In this regard, Tahiti is similar to Maui or Catalina island, with an isthmus separating two lobes.
Locals refer to Tahiti Iti as “Presqu’ile”, which means peninsula in French. The presqu’ile has a notoriety for being wet; precipitation is higher because it is east-facing into the trade winds. This is one of the downsides of Taravao- it is more wet than Papeete, which is in the drier (lee) side of the island. In contrast, Papeete’s anchorages and marinas are not very protected from the summertime tropical storms, which hit it square on from the NW.
One of the local liveaboards in Port Phaeton offers a boat watch service, with a weekly visit to check the boat and provide ventilation by opening hatches. We’re seeing if he does a good job 🙂
Pros/Cons of Taravao vs. Marina Taina (Papeete)
+ Excellent protection from any wind
+ Excellent holding ground
+ Convenient shopping (Carrefour, hardware stores)
+ Low theft risk, rural environment
– increased rain
– less boat services available
– less social activities, no bar
– 1 hour to airport, can cost $100 for taxi
Marina Taina (near Papeete)
+ right next to airport, 15min bus to downtown, access to specialty boat work
+ moorings available
+ bars like Pink Coconut and Casablanca
+ across from Moorea
– congested with boats, urbanized environment
– not protected from NW storm wind
– very rolly during big swells (inside the lagoon)