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Tahiti, Taina Marina: Moorings not to be trusted long term

By SV Irie — last modified Jun 23, 2016 01:02 PM

Published: 2014-09-23 23:00:00
Countries: French Polynesia

Tahiti, Taina Marina: Moorings not to be trusted long term

The moorings at Marina Taina: © SV Irie

My name is Liesbet Collaert. I am a freelance writer from Belgium and I am sailing in French Polynesia, with my husband Mark Kilty, on our 35’ catamaran Irie. Irie has been our home for seven years (full-time) and we have been cruising in FP for the last year, enjoying the different islands and the friendliness of the local people. That being said, I would like to bring to your readers’ attention something shocking that happened to us and to our boat in Marina Taina, not so long ago.

The end of April, my husband was diagnosed with a terrible disease and we had to fly to the USA for this urgent medical situation, leaving our boat Irie on a mooring ball (A19) in Marina Taina. We prepared the boat as well as we could to be left alone, and we attached her securely, skillfully, and safely to the mooring, with a line off each bow, keeping the ball in the middle and forward, so no chafing was possible. We had a back-up line to a middle cleat on deck as well, “just in case”. We had friends checking on our boat frequently.

When we returned to Irie on August 15th, we found her on the same mooring, but on the foredeck was a pile of mooring lines and our boat was only attached to the mooring with one line, running around both bows (rubbing all our newly and expensive antifouling paint off!), through the loop, which means that each time our boat moved in the wind or current, the line was rubbing against the loop line and chafe would occur over time. This could lead to this one mooring line snapping and our boat dragging through the mooring field, crashing into other sailboats, and/or ending on the reef!

We had no idea what had happened, none of our friends were responsible for this new set-up and we thought it would  be a mystery forever. Shocking that someone hopped on our boat and secured her with only one line… We paid our bill at the marina office to Philippe Olite, the manager, and he did not mention anything happening to our boat.

About a week after leaving Marina Taina, a new boat arrived in the anchorage where we were staying. One of its crew members told us that he had saved our boat two weeks prior – right before we arrived back in Tahiti from the USA - in Taina Marina. Apparently, mooring A19 had broken loose and Irie was dragging through the anchorage around midnight, with our three mooring lines and the mooring ball still attached!!!! Irie was about to crash into another catamaran and the man in the dinghy, who had noticed Irie floating free, woke up the crew of the other catamaran. Together they fended Irie off to avoid any damage to the two boats. Then, they called the marina security. Philippe and a helper reluctantly arrived to put Irie on a different mooring. Then, A 19 was fixed and Irie was put back on that mooring ball, with only one line! If anyone should know how to tie boats to moorings and docks, it should be people who work in marinas…

This news, as you can imagine was a serious shock to us. We could have lost our boat (and home – it is all we have), either hitting other boats, hitting shore or running on the reef! But, even worse than that heart breaking thought, was the fact that Philippe – even though he was the one putting our boat back on the mooring – NEVER told us about this event! And, the marina did not take any responsibility of what happened… We don’t think this was the right way to deal with a situation like this and to treat us this way, as if nothing happened, and when confronted (I went back to Marina Taina to talk to Philippe about this event), as if it is the most normal thing in the world that a mooring breaks and that it would be our responsibility if damage was done! We regret Philippe’s attitude. We feel like we did everything to keep our boat safe and we paid a lot of money to the marina for a mooring that was not safe.

I wanted to share this event and situation with the readers of your French Polynesia section, because I feel like you should know what happened, and that the moorings at Taina Marina cannot be trusted (long term). Although we are very happy and relieved that no damage was done, that we feel greatly disappointed with Philippe’s behavior towards us.

I have written a blog about this event, which can be read or referred to on http://www.itsirie.com/2014/09/taina-marina-moorings-beware.html

Liesbet Collaert
SV Irie

Editor's Note: Noonsite wrote to Marina Taina asking for them to comment on SV Irie's report, but they have not replied.

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Margaret Beasley
Margaret Beasley says:
Jun 22, 2016 10:50 PM

An update from Aussie "Storm Bay of Hobart." We were on a mooring at Marina Taina that broke! Fortunately we were on board at the time. Do not trust their moorings! Margaret Beasley, June 2016

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