Tahiti is where we’ve caught up with our world again. It’s not so far from New Zealand. We’re almost home, we sometimes say. That’s stretching the truth - we still have about 2500 miles to sail - but more boats around here are from NZ and Australia than anywhere else we’ve been. Plus, there are daily Air New Zealand flights in and out of Tahiti.
|NZ-flagged yacht Rhombus in Papeete port|
|Window in the cathedral of Papeete|
They’re bringing our world to us.
|Touchdown Tahiti - the runway is just beyond the main pass|
|The Aranui coming into Papeete port on July 31|
First up, my mum, who actually arrived by sea.
She had organised off her own bat to take a two-week turn around the Marquesas and the Tuamotus on the supply ship Aranui in July. Would we be in the region at the time, she wondered?
We made sure we were. We met her off the Aranui on the last day of July in Papeete and brought her back to Enki by dinghy. She had only a day in Papeete before she flew out to a chamber music festival in Townsville. It’s hard to keep up with my mum.
|My mum charmed our cruising friends|
|Lunch was very French that day|
Next up, our old friends Bridget and Mike. They had a scant week to spend with us, but that was enough time to sink ourselves into the beats of Moorea which are considerably slower than those of Papeete.
|The skipper relaxes on our way to Moorea|
|Opunohu Bay, Moorea (and below)|
|Moorea landscapes (and below)|
|At anchor in Opunohu Bay|
The weather changed markedly about the time that Bridget and Mike arrived in Tahiti. In the Tuamotus, I’d noticed a drop in the temperature of the water. I needed my hardly-used wetsuit to go snorkeling for any length of time. It’s winter in the tropics, we reminded ourselves. But there’s more than that happening.
|We nipped around the corner to Cook's Bay|
|From the pineapple plantation, sold at the gas station|
We’ve been hearing for a couple of months that this is shaping up as an El Nino year, and now that seems definite. Troughs are tracking across the Pacific beneath French Polynesia, and affecting wind direction and air temperature. We’re seeing a lot more cloud and rain. We’re sleeping under cotton blankets (rather than just a sheet). I’ve come down with a cold. How clumsy, catching a cold in paradise.
|Marce and Jack joined us on a wintry evening at the Bali Hai hotel in Cook's Bay|
The weather shift that we who have been in the tropics for too long were noticing (and whining about) didn’t matter too much to Bridget and Mike. They were taking a few days off work and out of Auckland’s damp cold. Everything was enchanting….the stark beauty of our anchorage in Opunohu Bay, the lushness of Moorea’s deep northern valleys, the abundance of fruit, the warmth of the water, the easy manner of the Tahitians and the camaraderie of our boating friends. They had a fine time, we hope – and we enjoyed having them on board immensely.
|The round-the-island road, Moorea|
|Roadside fruit stall|
|Bridget ready to take on the lagoon - with its rays and sharks|
|Mike faces off a big ray|
|Couple gone troppo|
|The road up to the Belvedere lookout on Moorea|
|One eye on the sky|
|Archeological site on the side|
|Big marae dating from the 17th century|
|View of Cook's Bay from the Belvedere lookout|
|Shrimp farming at the head of Opunohu Bay (and below)|
We’re back in Papeete, awaiting the arrival of sister Barb and the Commodore. The plan is to sail with them as far as Bora Bora – and to catch some fish on the way.
|Back in port - with Moorea just over there|