I’m on a mission. We’ve anchored quite close to shore near the town of Fare on Huahini and stupidly forgot to put the Mozzie screens in. There was a stiff breeze when we went to bed but alas no longer. I was woken an hour ago by the familiar buzzing of these vermin and am now up, composing this extremely overdue blog post and eradicating mosquitos in the same moment! I’m using myself as bait should there be any others lurking in the shadows. I’ve killed more than we’ve ever had on the boat before and poor Seb has been the target…until now. Every ten minutes or so I patrol the boat, torch in hand to check the walls and cabins. I know I’m winning, (I know I sound like a crazy lady too but you do what you have to do!) Needless to say, the screens are in, repellant has been applied to my slumbering family and I’ve slapped, squashed and sprayed until I’m reasonably confident these blighters are no more (any sneaky stragglers will not be here for much longer!!!!)
The last few weeks have been incredibly full, although the pace has changed somewhat. The time constraints we’ve previously had, (that is the need to get somewhere ‘secure’ while Mike is away working) are no longer dictating where we need to be or for how long. The flipside is, he’s returned from his last lot of work for the foreseeable future so at some point, other constraints will start to kick in. I am happy to say that the J-class boat he sails on, Lionheart, had a very successful season, winning both the Bermuda event in July and the ‘World Championship’event in Newport Rhode Island. Six J-class boats lined up together- the pictures below, demonstrating what a spectacle that was!
So here we are in Huahini…
I literally feel like I’ve fallen into the blue and green palette of my Derwent Pencil set. The surrounding waters are every conceivable hue of blue while the islands bordered by these hues are fertile and lush in various shades of green. It is beautiful beyond belief, a phrase I keep repeating, but I am constantly in awe of what Mother Nature’s got going on in this part of the world!
Our first stop out of Tahiti was the island of Moorea, just 12NM away from the ‘big smoke’- my kind of passage! We arrived in Cooks Bay and spent a few days there, hiking up hills and enjoying the company of our friends on Bear, Laurata. and Starlet. We moved around to Opunohu Bay opting to anchor between the beach and the reef rather than deep in the bay like we’d done in Cooks. All the children got on board Starlet- a 46 foot Nordhaven- translation- a bloody nice powerboat, and had a blast! Age range of the kids- 8 to 20 years old!!!! We had a BBQ on the beach the next day to celebrate ‘Labour Day’ and despite some crazy weather, had a wonderful time.
The following morning the water was so clear I could see every link in our anchor chain until it hit the bottom and ran away from the boat. There were stingrays clearly visible underneath us, the ripple free surface acting like a huge magnifying glass.
The sun was just starting to illuminate some of the higher peaks of the surrounding mountains. It hadn’t hit us yet so the decks were still dewy from the cooler evening. The moon was putting itself to bed to the west and remained a beautiful big ball in the sky. Everyone else was slumbering peacefully, all cuddled into their polar fleece blankets thanks to the crisp morning.
I was up early and heading out for a walk- have I mentioned that I like to walk?
Well, the day was shaping up to be an absolute pearler and it didn’t disappoint.
Very shortly after returning to the boat, a largish group of us headed to an area where stingrays and sharks are fed. We took Slice of Life with us as far as we could safely navigate in the reef, completing the journey in the dinghy. The plan was to beat the hoards that also visit this spot and while there were a few smaller boats in the area, we managed to achieve this. As soon as we arrived a very large stingray swam past the boat followed by a few Black Tip Reef Sharks. So of course out we got and swam with them. It’s almost funny to read those words based on the fear of both of these creatures I’ve had for years but there you go, progress is being made. When I looked around at one point I think I was surrounded by 6 sharks and several stingrays. It was amazing. I could go on and on but I think the pictures will tell that story better than I can. Once the boat loads started arriving, we were off!
That same day we saw turtles, Spotted Eagle Rays and wait for it… Whales. Finally, there they were breaching just off the reef, still some way away but we could actually see them. After over a year on the boat and many many miles, we can finally say that yes, we’ve seen whales! We spent the rest of the afternoon with a wonderful array of people on the boat moving back to our original anchorage later in the day.
Moorea would definitely rate as one of my favourite places so far.
We left for Huahini the next evening where we still are and were we’ve had the absolute pleasure of spending most of our time with a family from the US on a boat called Sapphire. Our adventures here deserve their own post so I won’t say much more about that for now.
I’ve hardly talked about Tahiti, despite being there for just over three weeks and it being the intended subject of this post. There is so much I want to share with anyone that reads this blog, not just the big experiences but some of the smaller details too. I tend to go on a bit so I’ll just mention some of the highlights of our time there.
We hired a car with our Danish friends and visited Teahupo the site of the Billabong Pro Surf tournament, stopping at some beautiful sites on our way back.
The kids and I had a few Ukelele lessons with a beautiful man named Gene. We learned a few tunes and had a lot of fun.
Lilly and I also went to a Tahitian dance class together. Turns out, our teacher is one of the best dancers in Tahiti and that month was gracing the cover of a magazine found in many shops- shame her skills weren’t transferred by osmosis! Still we had a blast and it was quite the workout! You have no idea what some people’s hips can do!!!!!
The museum of Street Art was a fantastic place to visit and had some very interesting installations… for want of a better word.
I hired a car and we toured the island, visiting The Belvedere on Tahiti Iti, (the little island). This was a magnificent view-point looking back over the large island and we could have been anywhere- England, France, the Southern Highlands of Australia. There were horses and cows and it was so not tropical- except you were looking down on a reef-fringed island. We visited Botanical Gardens and Water Gardens and beaches.
Staying in the marina was a nice change. The kids could get off the boat whenever they liked- except during school time- when they would have really liked! There was always a ‘kid boat’ or two in the Marina for our entire stay there, making it fun and giving the kids a good break from me and visa versa!
I picked up some bug again which was pretty boring but a wonderful family on a boat called Bear- (Yvette the Mum just happens to be an Emergency Room doctor) sorted me out. I lost my voice for over a week- a definite highlight for the kids! I loved Tahiti- once you get out of Papeete, it’s a beautiful place and besides having access to a ‘biggish’ city is fun every now and then.
It’s grey and dreary this morning but no complaints. It makes a nice change. As usual I’ve written this over quite a few days- the mozzie episode long behind us- thankfully! It’s breaky time on Slice of Life so I’ll leave it there for now.
Sending everyone much love, thanks for reading and bye for now,
From paradise, this is SOL standing by!