My last stop in French Polynesia was on the island of Raiatea. I have a doctor’s appointment here. There is an ophthalmologist’s office on the island (out of a total of 3 in the whole of FP!). The eye doctor in Tahiti referred me here so I could have my eye checked again before I leave. I have been having problems with it for a while. It is on the mend but should be monitored and needs proper treatment. Therefore, I had to go to Uturoa on Raiatea. The place is actually quite nice, but it is inconvenient by boat because there are no good anchorages. There is a pier where you can even moor for free, but there is almost permanent swell from the many ferries and tour boats and also because it is not well protected in relation to the normally prevailing winds. Maya sometimes wobbled terribly in this situation.
Nevertheless, it is quite convenient because you are right in the centre of Uturoa. There is quite a lot of infrastructure there, such as 3 small supermarkets, snacks, restaurants and various boutiques. There is also a relatively large “harbor building” which is apparently intended to support the business with cruise tourists. Various shops are also housed here. All in all, it’s actually quite nice to look at and (apart from the landing) the place is quite practical.
I also went diving again in Raiatea. There are actually a few good dive sites there (the Teavapiti pass, a shipwreck, etc.), but the conditions were not ideal on my diving day. It had rained quite heavily before and therefore the visibility underwater was not really good. Nevertheless, it was nice to dive again, but I refrained from doing any more dives (I guess I’m already a bit spoiled because I’ve experienced some really excellent snorkelling spots and dive sites in very good conditions).
I also did a couple of short hikes on the island to stretch my legs before the long crossing. The view from the hills over the island (and to the neighbouring islands) is really wonderful.
Clearing out of French Polynesia was very uncomplicated. I went to the local office of the Gendarmerie National with my documents (boat papers, ID etc.) and they forwarded everything to the appropriate offices in Papeete. A few days later you can pick up your “International Clearance”. You are then free to sail. I have already registered in Fiji. In times of Corona, travelling has become a bit more complicated and you can’t just sail off and say ‘hello’ when you arrive. At least it is now possible to continue the journey. Some countries on the way (Cook Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Niue), which I would like to visit, I have to skip (not only because some of the borders are still closed, but also because I have only a limited amount of time and want to get back to Thailand).
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