Thursday, September 1, 2016

Return to Tahiti

Spending the day at LAX waiting for our 11:45 pm departure to Tahiti was anti-climatic at best. We’d had a great summer trip to the US, but it seemed strange that we were heading “home” to our boat in Tahiti. After an 11-hour wait, much of it eating cheese and crackers at United’s Red Carpet Club, we boarded Air France’s night flight to Tahiti. Trying to sleep in a small airplane seat, surrounded by huge Tahitians, is problematic at best, but we tried. Eight hours later, sensing a change in the engine’s pitch, I lifted my window shade to look out over the vast expanse of the azure blue Pacific Ocean with Tahiti bathed in the orange glow of sunrise. This is our fourth trip to Tahiti and I always love the way the tropical smells and heat slowly envelop your body as you walk to the terminal, complete with ukulele players at 5:45 am in the morning.

Our home at the City Marina in Papeete.
The blue yacht in the foreground is Vertigo, owned by Rupert Murdock. The white yacht just ahead is Google's Larry Page's Dragonfly.
We were thrilled to find the boat in great condition and quickly opened all the hatches to get that fresh ocean air circulating in the cabin. As usual we had overstuffed our bags, including our requisite three huge grey duffels with boat parts and supplies. We also had one more duffel coming with our friends Patsy and Steve Larson who would be visiting us in two weeks.

One of our first projects was to fix two chafed lines. Here Meryl splices the top cover of an expensive Dyneema line together. We'll tell you how it works out.
Meryl buying lettuce and bok choy at the Papeete City Market.

The Tahitians love their body oils.
Beautiful flowers that make up the flower crowns the local women wear for special occasions.
This lady looks like she could make that hula skirt really move.
We spent the next week storing all of our US bought supplies in the boat, shopping at the nearby Champion grocery store, and taking long walks along the waterfront promenade at sunset. 

The Tahiti Yacht Club anchorage is just behind the point in the center of the photo. The mountains of Moorea loom in the background.
We then moved the boat about seven miles east to the Tahiti Yacht Club anchorage where we were greeted by old friends on Ednabal, Mezzaluna, and Ole. A well-protected anchorage this close to Papeete is a rarity and we enjoyed the beautiful views and tradewinds blowing through the boat. We had a potluck with the various boats in the anchorage, ate at the nearby roulettes, and walked two blocks to the large Carrefour super store for provisioning. 

Unfortunately we found that our mainstay dingy engine, the 15-hp Yamaha, had once again seized up at the top bearing on the main shaft. This has happened twice before and is now viewed as a design defect in the motor, but none-the-less forced us to hire a cab to take the motor to the local dealer, who promptly informed us that the good news was they had the part in stock, but the bad news was their only mechanic would be in “factory training” for all of next week. So much for having the motor during Patsy and Steve’s visit.

A beautiful picture of Flying Cloud in the Tahiti Yacht Club anchorage taken by Jeff Anderson on Mezzaluna.
We hadn't seen our friends Andrew and Clare on Eye Candy for over eight months. Then they arrived the morning we were leaving to head back to Papeete. At least they anchored close enough to say "G'Day."
Our friend Patsy, who would be visiting us in two weeks, is a fastidious housekeeper, prompting Meryl to clean the boat like it’s never been cleaned in the past. Having guests is always the best incentive for getting the boat clean and making sure everything is shipshape. In our case, we use the guest berth as our garage, and it was covered to the ceiling with everything from our emergency life raft supplies to our inflatable stand-up paddle board and our SCUBA equipment. All this stuff had to find new places to live on a boat already stuffed to the gills with other stuff. Figuring it would be impolite to ask guests to hold the emergency bag in their lap when using the head, we got very creative in finding new homes for our stuff. Once we were done we were amazed how good the boat looked. Maybe we should have guests more often!

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