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Old 15-11-2019, 15:21   #1
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French Polynesia Cruiser Problems

The French Polynesia paradise is changing rapidly. There are a number of locations with anchoring restrictions either already put in place or going to be put in place very soon. The anchoring restrictions are not the only thing happening regarding Yachties in FP.

The French Polynesia Yachting Association (AVP) is a group located in FP trying to help resolve these issues. See additional information at the end of this post.

Press release from the AVP (Association des Voiliers en Polynesie)
- Association of Sailboats in Polynesia –

The AVP is concerned about a recent evolution towards restricting the conditions of stay of sailboats in French Polynesia.

For the last few months, one has witnessed a whole series of constraints, prohibitions, even violent actions towards the sailing community:

- In Bora Bora, total prohibition to anchor, even on sandy grounds (sole available areas in green on the chart below). Obligation to take a mooring for 3000 xpf/night, without any guarantee the mooring is safe, as proven in the case of catamaran “Archer” which broke its lines, suffered considerable damage as did the pontoon of the Pearl Beach Hotel it ended up against. The boat’s insurance had to cover these damages, but the moorings concession holder (“BBMS”) refuses to answer the boat’s insurance queries, and notably confirm whether he is insured or not. (as of 11/11/2019).

- In Raiatea, several yachts were insulted, menaced, and in at least one instance attacked in the Miri Miri area. One of the catamarans (“Tao”) had its anchor line cut – while the owner of the yacht was filming the deeds. A police report was filed, but was not followed up by the Attorney General (as of 11/11/2019). The DPAM (Maritime Affairs Department has informed the AVP, without showing any legal documents to that effect, that in fact anchoring was illegal throughout Polynesia and that regulations were being drafted to confirm these prohibitions wherever required.

- In Moorea, a “PGEM” will shortly be put in place (General plan for the maritime area):

o Prohibition to anchor outside area defined by the PGEM.

o Prohibition to exceed the quotas allocated to each area.

o 83 boats maximum allowed over the entire Moorea lagoon.

o 50% of these allowed anchorages will be well inside the bays (Cook and Oponohu) in 25 to 35m of water.

o Most allowed areas are on the Northern side of the island, where the sandy areas are the smallest and where hence the risk of damaging flora and fauna are the highest and where the concentration of housing and touristic activities are highest.

o 48 hours maximum allowed in any one location.

o Only 13 boats will be allowed on the Eastern side of the island, the only one likely to be accessible reasonably by sailboats coming from Tahiti for the limited 48h allowed. Moorea has over 50 resident sailboats on this side of the island, and Tahiti over 250 resident sailboats. These areas will be used by the sailboats from marina Vaiare in Moorea for their week-end outings.

o These quotas will be reviewed annually unilaterally by the commission.

- In Tahiti, the Taina area is due to be “evacuated”. Some 63 boats were there on November 4th, more than 80 in high season. Some are wrecks, but most are in perfect state, and are either transient boats, awaiting spare parts or on provisioning runs or boats parked there more permanently. This technical stop is absolutely indispensable for all boats in transit after a long passage. Taina is home to a marina (full), a fixed mooring field (full) and an area of tolerated anchorage, which now is being cleared.

- The minister in charge of this issue proposes to relocate some of these boats to Taravao (on the Southern end of Tahiti, some 40 miles away!), perhaps in a new marina that may be built a few years down the road (!), and meanwhile in zones P2 to P5 below in areas without landing facilities, and in any case catering to less than 60% of the boats concerned.

o P3,P4 and P5: No landing possibilities at all, less than 1.5m depth and already occupied by small crafts used as party boats.

o P2: Vaitupa Bay, already saturated as shown in the satellite picture below.

The increase in the number of yachts since the rules of stay were changed 5 years ago has led to some degree of rejection from the local population. Some elected members of Parliament have indicated their intention to legiferate in order to prohibit the lagoon on the Southern side of Tahiti and thereby avoid the migration of boats towards this area, quite in opposition of what the Minister indicated.

All existing infrastructure of the territory is saturated: Marina Taina, Marina Papeete, Marina Apooiti in Raiatea, , Yacht Club in Tahiti, Marina Vaiare in Moorea, Taravao, Raiatea mooring fields all full and will not be able to receive the yachts being removed following the prohibition to anchor.

The AVP points to the fact that the nautical tourism has been earmarked as a strategic component in the economic development of French Polynesia, towards which it contributes over 1.5 billion CFP today.

Aiming at increasing this contribution further, the government has chosen to increase the number of sailboats by lengthening the allowed duration of stay and by decreasing the import tax for boats to some 7% (June 2014).

However, against this increase, no new infrastructure has been put in place, leading to a significant concentration of yachts on anchor in all islands, and generating the relative rejection by locals today.

The AVP is a non profit organization founded and run by sailors, both transient and resident. Its charter includes:

- Promote the image of the sailing community

- Defend sailors rights

- Educate sailors to all existing regulation and good practices, in particular environmental and cultural.

- - Provide practical information regarding anchorages, infrastructure, suppliers and services to facilitate the stay of transient boats and the general well being of all concerned.

Contact: Pourquoi adhérer ? | Association des Voiliers en Polynésie
avp.tahiti (at) gmail dot com

Further information from Chuck
Currently AVP is the only group representing the yachties both French and International that is:
1. Attending the majority of meetings held by government agencies related to the sailing community.
2. informing the general sailing folks that the meetings are taking place and where.
3. Summarizing the meeting and informing the sailing community.
4. They gather up all the incidents of issues in FP relating to the sailing community.
5. They are also trying to gather any theft incidents, helping non french speakers submit a online police report and then helping follow up.
6. The AVP have come up with a good practice charter and flag that will show the locals this boat has signed up to respect the lagoons, not pollute, etc etc.
7. AVP has organized discounts with many marine vendors in Tahiti. Your membership card can pay for the membership in short order.

I could probably come up with more reasons to join if given more time.

In general AVP are the boots on the ground. If not for AVP in many cases we would not have a clue what laws are being proposed and how they are being implemented. Not speaking french we don’t listen to the radio or watch FP tv.

By having yachties join the number of boats they represent will gain more leverage in the talks to senior ministers.

HOW CAN YOU HELP WITH THE ISSUES IN FRENCH POLYNESIA - JOIN AVP >> For less than $17 your membership makes a difference.

How to join AVP https://voiliers.asso.pf/comment-adherer/

Additional write up by Totem
https://www.sailingtotem.com/2019/11...ip-tahiti.html

https://www.cruisingworld.com/story/...HhPL67wlJX75C4

Safe Sailing

Chuck
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Old 15-11-2019, 16:13   #2
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Re: French Polynesia Cruiser Problems

Good luck with the campaign. But, Chuck, what does the $17 buy?

Ann
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Old 15-11-2019, 16:40   #3
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Re: French Polynesia Cruiser Problems

hi ann
terribly sorry to hear that the sad outcome. hope that at least you guys got home in time ?
don't forget to let me know when you are returning...if possible i'll pick you up from the airport.
went past the boat yesterday...looks fine
cheers,
chris
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Old 15-11-2019, 16:54   #4
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Re: French Polynesia Cruiser Problems

Thank you for this information. I understand the concerns about boats anchoring in locations that damage coral. This is a real problem and I have witnessed Huahine locals become undestandably upset about haphazard anchoring. Cruisers need to show a lot more respect for the locals and the environment. I hope a few bad apples don't spoil it for everyone.
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Old 15-11-2019, 17:08   #5
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Re: French Polynesia Cruiser Problems

A small payment of $17 to help improve the communication and relationship between the FP locals and government and sailors is a great investment.
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Old 15-11-2019, 20:33   #6
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Re: French Polynesia Cruiser Problems

The number of boats in Papeete is quite remarkable and the same can be said for other anchorages in FP. Local resistance is therefore not surprising and developing good relations with local communities is going to be very important. As noted by a previous post, $17 is terrific value to support an organization that will work towards harmonious relationships in the region. We will be joining immediately. Nonetheless, we will all need to be on our very best behaviour.
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Old 15-11-2019, 21:10   #7
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Re: French Polynesia Cruiser Problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by JPA Cate View Post
Good luck with the campaign. But, Chuck, what does the $17 buy?

Ann
Hi Ann

First the money helps the AVP organization with many costs associated with representing the cruising community.

Secondly if you are in FP the membership card will give you discounts at many of the marine stores and businesses around Papeete. You could quickly recoup your membership costs when purchasing maintenance supplies.

A correction on the cost it actually works out to be about $18.50 not $17 as I previously reported (conversion to EU). My apologies
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Old 16-11-2019, 07:44   #8
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Re: French Polynesia Cruiser Problems

@chrisr,

Thanks so much for the kind offer.

Ann
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Old 16-11-2019, 11:03   #9
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Re: French Polynesia Cruiser Problems

This serious problem goes all the way back to Fletcher Christian. The King never forgave him. Smile

I applaud the OP for a well written and extensive and in depth analysis. Seems like the locals have already had enough. You tube certaininly has spawned a whole new generation of sailors.
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Old 16-11-2019, 19:34   #10
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Re: French Polynesia Cruiser Problems

These problems are not unique to Pacific areas. Environmental concerns due to anchoring are continue to grow with new Marine Protected Areas (MPA) expanding in the Caribbean (e. g., Grenada).

These no anchoring areas seem to parallel a growth in mooring ball areas which are generally not free and not suitable to larger and heavier vessels (e.g., 50' LOA for mooring balls in BVI).

As a result, for some boats 400 to 500 feet of anchor road will be the norm in anchoring in deep water outside of growing mooring ball and protected marine areas.
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Old 18-11-2019, 17:34   #11
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Re: French Polynesia Cruiser Problems

Now in FP for abt half a year I struggle to comprehend this enmity. All the locals, ALL, that we have met were the most welcoming, generous & friendly people one could meet. We have been here before (see profile), & despite many changes the friendliness of the people has remained the same (“would you sell us some of your bananas?“ “No, you have to take them as a present, no money accepted!“)
I can only conclude that this enmity, the anchoring restrictions in Moorea, etc. are the work of very few, if not a single, individuals, that stir up resentment against yachts. They must be placed in just the right positions in the “food chain“ to succeed. Arguments are mainly ridiculous: no dolphins come to Opunohu Bay, Moorea any more because of the sailing boats...sure, not because of local jet-ski-tour operators (nonstop, all day long they are buzzing along Mooreas northcoast, speedlimits...muhaha!) or big cruiseships anchoring in the bay.
Similarly th.e “care for the coral“ is a topic that is b.eing stirred up. Nobody willingly anchors in coral, & w.e have seen dead coral where nobody .ever anchored.
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Old 19-11-2019, 22:06   #12
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Re: French Polynesia Cruiser Problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by double u View Post
Now in FP for abt half a year I struggle to comprehend this enmity. All the locals, ALL, that we have met were the most welcoming, generous & friendly people one could meet. We have been here before (see profile), & despite many changes the friendliness of the people has remained the same (“would you sell us some of your bananas?“ “No, you have to take them as a present, no money accepted!“)
I can only conclude that this enmity, the anchoring restrictions in Moorea, etc. are the work of very few, if not a single, individuals, that stir up resentment against yachts. They must be placed in just the right positions in the “food chain“ to succeed. Arguments are mainly ridiculous: no dolphins come to Opunohu Bay, Moorea any more because of the sailing boats...sure, not because of local jet-ski-tour operators (nonstop, all day long they are buzzing along Mooreas northcoast, speedlimits...muhaha!) or big cruiseships anchoring in the bay.
Similarly th.e “care for the coral“ is a topic that is b.eing stirred up. Nobody willingly anchors in coral, & w.e have seen dead coral where nobody .ever anchored.
We are also extremely SAD over this situation. We have been in FP going on 4 1/2 years and have always been blessed with smiles and generous people. We have made numerous local friends and feel of all the places we have visited in the world FP is closest to our heart.

We have spent almost a year in the Tuamotus and visited 11 atolls. Your comments that people don't willing drop their anchor in coral we find is not how we see it. We have constantly seen boats drop their anchor with no regard to where it lands nor the damage it causes. We have given up on trying to explain the advantages of using pearl floats or fenders to float our chain. When we humbly explained to offenders how easy it is to float your chain we were met with .... well lets say it nicely "no interest in taking our advice". We float our chain 100% of the time while in the Tuamotus. The damage to the coral really pisses the locals off.... its their back yard!!

Sorry to say things are changing in FP and often with alarming speed. Please think about joining AVP to help with anchoring restrictions and be the voice of the yachties to the FP government.

Safe sailing

Chuck
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Old 20-11-2019, 00:20   #13
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Re: French Polynesia Cruiser Problems

The cavalier anchoring attitude is not limited to FP, there's video evidence by YouToobers all over.

- Canadian couple blatantly anchoring in shallow coral in Palau
- same Canuck couple had to dive to retrieve anchor wrapped around bommie in Indon
- well known crew in Brazil national park, and stepping on coral as well while filming
- Brit single hander in Fakurava cracking jokes about chain being wrapped around coral head making grinding noises overnight. Corrected situation only when he decided to leave after who knows how many days
- A newbie Texan couple swims with free dive fins in 2ft of water over coral in FP, wonder what their coral anchoring protocol is, if any

The cockroach sighting analogy probably applies.
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Old 21-11-2019, 19:11   #14
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Re: French Polynesia Cruiser Problems

„SAD“ doesn’t cover it for me by a long way. My strongest emotions, longest lasting memories are from FP: sailing our homebuilt cat to our first Pacific island in 83 on our 1.rtw, we landlubbers!
The birth of our son in 90 in Uturoa on our 2.rtw
The little feller, then 7, coming out of Haamene school Hand in Hand with polynesian kids in 97 on our 3.rtw
And too many others to mention.
I am afraid though, that no matter what we cruisers do or don’t or how we speak up: this thing is going to run it’s course: read Tahiti Pacifique, the March issue, watch what’s going on in moorea, people saying we „don’t pay anything“ (now how „unpolynesian“ can an argument be?), we cruisers labelled as „lagoon polluters“ (the Paul Gauguin anchored in Cooks bay all day trailing a long exhaust plume from its generators), the Moorea council worker telling me („undercover“ on MTB) that the cruisers are a problem because of their rubbish!!! These are things that the people don’t come up with by themselves, somebody with an axe to grind stirs up these resentments.
Or the Miri Miri „case“: no action taken either by police/gendarmerie or DA despite this being a clearcut case of intimidation & wilful damage.
IMHO our case is lost, the „best“ outcome I see is like Bora Bora: moorings only, expensive, anchoring prohibited
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Old 22-11-2019, 09:09   #15
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Re: French Polynesia Cruiser Problems

Double U Can you post a link to Tahiti Pacifique, the March issue
Thanks
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