After focusing on the joy of being alive in my last post I was somewhat remiss in describing the activities we’ve been up to for the last several weeks. Internet being what it is and my computer battery lasting between 5-10 minutes without external power meant I was lucky to get the post out at all. As a result photos were included without details or explanation, (‘oh goodness I’ve got 8% battery life, I just have to press POST!!!). Our new anchor didn’t even feature picture wise, surprising, based on my lavish praise but I was a bit all over the place you might say. No matter, here are a few details of what’s been keeping us busy of late.
We spent some time in Bora Bora after saying goodbye to our friends off Sapphire and Zimovia. We almost bypassed this island in the group but felt it would be wrong to be in French Polynesia and not at least see it. It has such a reputation! We didn’t spend much time on land at all, only going in to town to provision for the trip to Tonga and the local yacht club for a drink. The surrounding waters are particularly clear and we had some fantastic snorkeling. Huge numbers of fish, clearly accustomed to mask clad, bread holding, ‘swimming things’ aka people, almost swarmed us on entering their world- kind of weird but also very cool to see such variety. I can absolutely see why Finding Nemo was made-they all have such personalities! The hues of blue did not disappoint but the amount of visible tourist dwellings was slightly overwhelming. Over water bungalows abound on almost every point and along every stretch of coastline. All very well for me to say in our privileged position of having our own boat!
Rewinding just a little, most of the pictures in last post were of our adventures with the mighty Sapphire. We first met this family in the Marquesas, way back in July, (trust me it feels like a lifetime ago). We didn’t share a lot- a day with PauI and Clair, (the kids onboard) and a family game of ‘rounders’ in the park. We kept in touch hoping to meet somewhere further down the track, which we did and really made the most of our time together. We’re all very different people but something clicked and we ended up spending the entire time in Huahini with them, then again in Taha’a and Raiatea.
Our families shared two organized tours, the first on Huahini. This trip included a visit to a beautiful Marae, a small vanilla farm, (where we ate coconut/vanilla ice-cream- always good!), a local artists studio, a small pearl farm, the Sacred Blue-Eyed eel site and a stop at a distillery where Christian, (the proprietor) was very generous with his tasting samples.
We wandered through palm groves, did a lot of towing on paddleboards, snorkeled, played games, shared many meals and the kids practiced and put on a show one evening. We parted ways for a week while they went to Bora Bora and we explored Raiatea, meeting again in Taha’a.
The tour we did here deserves a special mention. Over 30 years ago a French couple sailed into Baie Hurapiti and never left. Noa, their son, has taken over the Ethno Botanical Excursion that his parents started and was excellent. We moored outside their property and spent the afternoon learning about the native plants and their practical uses- ho hum you might say, but it was fascinating. We toured the island and he gave us a detailed demonstration of how vanilla plants are fertilized by hand, the time it takes beans to mature and an understanding of why vanilla costs what it does! He was knowledgeable, personable and kept us all very interested despite the inclement weather- (very wet). I’ve included his details below in case anyone reading this finds themselves in Taha’a, and wants a great outing.
Hurepiti Bay Tahaa
Part of our time in Raiatea was also shared with a boat called Zimovia. A wonderful family of 5 from Alaska-hmmm I wonder why they’re cruising around French Polynesia!!! These guys had the ‘fun’ aspect of cruising absolutely down pat. Easily accessible paddle boards and kayaks, a biscuit, 20 horse power engine on the dinghy and something called a Happy Cat- an inflatable catamaran that the kids had a blast on. They were incredibly generous with their ‘toys’ and it was a sad day to say goodbye to them and Sapphire. Goodbye, however was necessary as it always is and we look forward to seeing both these families again…somewhere, sometime!
So where are we now??? For the last week, Tonga has been our ‘home’. We arrived Monday, losing a day, as we crossed the international dateline- quite hard to explain to the kids- “So where did the day go, how do you lose a day” etc etc. There’s plenty to tell regarding the journey here but I’ll save that for next post.
Wishing everyone health and happiness
Till next time, Slice of Life standing by!