Tahiti whirlwind

There is a certain magic in being able to say “we’ve sailed our boat to Tahiti!”

Fun with Panoramas!

It doesn’t take too long for the charm to wear off, though, when the reality of the setting sets in. The largest urban area for over a thousand miles, it has services and resources to help many cruisers. It’s also a sprawling, expensive suburb. After the pristine beauty we’ve been immersed in, it’s hard to make that transition. The best advice we had was to get in- get stuff done- and get out.

Our chief order of business was to get our SSB radio fixed. This is our lifeline: our link for weather, safety, and communication. We were greatly relieved to find skilled repairs available in Papeete. It turns out that the power amplifiers inside the box had blown, and needed to be replaced. The fix was costly, but still just a fraction of replacement. We are immensely grateful for the remote help we received from friends back at home- Chuck and Peggy, from s/v Alert, who really let us know how much we were supported! The messages from other friends in the SYC and Bainbridge Island radio clubs, and even from folks who had just heard us on the Pacific Seaferer’s Net… we experienced firsthand the selfless aid shared by members of the ham radio community.

The second priority was to do some provisioning. For the first time in three months, we had access to grocery stores that were bigger than a walk-in closet and stocked more than a few onions and some aging carrots in their produce bins! It was a little overwhelming to be inside a glossy, brighly lit supermarket. I got misty in front of the cured meat selection, but nearly lost it at the cheese display. The rule of thumb is still that everything costs about double what you would expeect- or more!- but notable deals exist. We still can’t get enough of the delicious fresh baguettes ($.50!), and wedges of delicious brie are only $5-6. How much more do we really need?

awed by the awesome salami

heavenly salami

The other delight of Papeete, strange as it may sound, was laundry. Access to an actual *laundry machine* that was not human powered was heavenly!

We moored Totem at the Tahiti Yacht Club, which gave us a kinder/gentler re-introduction to the bustle of a city. Anchorage is very difficult to come by, so we were happy to be snug on a mooring in the lagoon at this sweet little club instead of tied to the quai next to 6 lanes of traffic in downtown Papeete. Transiting in was a bus or dinghy ride, both of which were little adventures in themselves.

The boating rendezvous cosponsored by Latitude 38 and Tahiti Tourisme was a nice distraction. The multi-day event for cruisers promotes the islands as a destination (they need it?). We were treated to a reception at the colonial city hall, with a beautiful spread of food and fantastic dancing from a professional troupe. I managed to get sucked into the dance a little as well…

shakin’ it!

dance performance at City Hall

We cruised with the fleet to a continuation of the rendezvous on Moorea. Breezes in the 30s made it an exciting trip- line honors went to SeaLevel, who managed to exceed 19 knots on the way over! Nearly as exciting was when too many boats tried to fit into too small of an anchorage… but no harm, no foul. Just very interesting, especially once the wind stopped and boats floated randomly through the anchoring circles of their neighbors!

Merlin and Delos show the fleet how it’s done…

Breezy rally sail to Moorea

Most of the weekend was a downpour, which put a little damper on things… or culled the group to really interested participants, depending on your point of view! Jamie raced in an outrigger with a cruiser/Polynesian crew to second place, and we all had fun- even if we had to break out our foulies for the first time since the North Pacific.

good times with good friends…

Strawberry Monkey Strikes Again!

We ended the weekend with a truly unpleasant bash back to Tahiti, but that’s a story for next time…

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