Saturday, April 23, 2011

Tahiti StS: What to Bring

What to Bring

OK, raise your hand if you’re fired up for some Polynesian Cruising!  Yep, me too.  Just 30 days to go until we're swimming in warm turquoise water over powder white sand.  I know some of you are already packing so let’s get to it.

What to bring:
The nice thing about these tropical trips is you can pack pretty light.  When selecting clothing think light weight and light colors.
- A collapsible bag.  The big hard case luggage is a no no.  There is nowhere on a boat to store stuff like that so if you bring it, you may end up sleeping with it.
-Shorts and shirts and bathing suits and light clothing for boating in tropical weather.
-Something nicer for evenings ashore – toned down (or loud and touristy) Hawaiian shirt, khakis or dress shorts for him; a light blouse/skirt/sun dress for her.  Whatever women wear always seems to be fine.
-A pullover or light jacket for the odd rain squall.  Sweats or something to layer with if you're prone to a chill.
-Sunblock, sun glasses, hat with chin strap (shades head and neck a plus), bug spray for evenings ashore.
-Your bathroom stuff.  Sheets and a set of towels are provided.
-I sometimes bring my own mask but the charter base will provide mask, snorkel and fins.
-I go barefoot aboard and wear flops ashore, light shoes on the planes and in nicer restaurants.  Your deck shoes should be non-marking (no black soles).
-Camera?, MP3 player with FM transmitter (we only need one per boat - I’ll bring mine).
-Your drinking cup can be handy (with a Winch Wench to hold it?).
-Do we all have our passports sorted out?  They should be good for 3 months after arrival.  I once had a crewmember obtain a passport in 24 hours.  It cost him but it can be done.
-Money:  for meals ashore, food bought to bring aboard, trinkets, airport departure fee ($20?), cabs etc..  There's no requirement to tip your skipper at the end.  To prevent navigational errors, get the crew together and take your skipper out for a hot meal ashore sometime during the adventure.

Upon Arrival:

If you like, wear your Lats & Atts apparel (purchased at while you travel so that other Shailors can spot you.  You'll want to hit the ATM in the airport to get some local money.  I hear the airport bank in Papeete is open 24 hours but don't, er, bank on it.  The two charter companies we are using are Sunsail and Tahiti Yacht Charters.  They have been given your arrival times and one or both should be standing by with minibuses.  Look for their signs when exiting the airport to save a couple bucks on the ride to the base.  If there is no shuttle you can get a cab.  Both bases are at Marina Apooiti, a few minutes from the airport.  

It would be good to get to the base by 1100.  We board the boats at noon.  Find me or a skipper to learn your boat assignment (check the bar).  Please don't ask the base staff which boat you are on because they won't have the current list.  Don't freak out if your boat doesn't leave the dock right at noon.  We represent a large flotilla and the base prep is extensive.  We'd like to keep our reputation as the fun and easy-going group.

The Cruise:

That first night we'll head to a nearby anchorage to chill and ease into our amazing surroundings.  As those who have done a Share the Sail know, we keep a cruising schedule.  This helps us to make last minute changes in plans so we don’t miss anything kewl.  If weather allows, we're going to get up to Huahine.  The big Bloody Mary's Bora Bora International Lats & Atts Party is Saturday May 28.  That gives us a full day to get back up to an anchorage near the base for the last night Sunday.  We've got some idyllic spots we're eyeing for the rest of the week.

Each boat has a Lats and Atts skipper.  Most of the Lats family has been shanghaied for this adventure including our fleet Commodore Bitchin and Admiral Jody, edider Sue and her Mike, TV host Zuzana, Eric and Kim Stone, Tom and Sharon B, Mustang Sally's Doug and Wendy, Dena and I and others.  As usual we have a lot of repeat Shailors.  We’ve got ten boats in our mini fleet and may be joined by cruising boats in the area.

Basic food provisioning is provided:  simple breakfasts and lunches and a couple dinners.  We encourage you to get ashore for some local flavors.  Bring what you like aboard.  Individual boat crews tend to make up a list of additional items and all pitch in.  Lats & Atts will put a a booze starter kit onboard.  Be surprised if it makes it out of the bay.  Often the drinkers will pool funds in each port to restock.  Consider duty free on your way in.

Coral:  Please don’t touch it.  If you brush the slime off, it dies.

Scuba:  there’s no room on the boat for all your gear.  Where it's available, you are welcome to book same day dives as long as they don't inconvenience the rest of your crew.  Scuba boats will provide everything you need.  With our loose itinerary, I discourage you from booking in advance.

Boats:  French Poly is 220v, different from our 110v.  Boats have 12v receptacles like your car.  Power may be limited as we will be on battery most of the time.

Travel:  If you haven't, be sure you have a flight from Papeete to Raiatea.  Some travel tips and other info here:
People are flying on different airlines.  These are Tahiti Nui's baggage rules:
TSA's liquids rules:

Exchange rate:  CFP or XPF to USD is about 82 to 1.  Drop two zeros from item cost and you'll be in the ballpark.
“US dollars and Euros are widely accepted.”  

Tipping:  5-10% of meal.
Base Info:  
Marina Apooiti / Raiatea Island
tel:  011 689 60 04 85
Onsite shower, restaurant and dive center at Sunsail.  Supermarkets are 10 minutes by taxi in Uturoa.
French Poly info:  from the charter companies:

The boats are not always perfect, the inventory is not always complete and it's likely to rain some.  Please direct your concerns to me and not your fellow shailors.  The adventure and the fun are in you.

Questions?  Fire away:  
All emails posted here:
Skippers will receive an additional email.  If I can think of anything else, I'll email everyone.  Otherwise ...
See you in paradise!

Captain Woody

(OK, you can put your hand down)

Quality, Balance and a Clean Wake

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