SAILING THRU PARADISE, Log Entry #7
July 26, 1997 0600
Position: 17.30S 149.51W Log: 6155 mi. Water: 79 F, Air 67 F (cool!)
Baie d'Opunohu, Moorea (17 mi W of Papeete, Tahiti)
Mahina Tiare III - Moorea
DAYS AND NIGHTS OF DREAMS AND MEMORIES
Time has evaporated! I can't believe that as soon as the sun comes up
a little more we're to raise anchor and sail back to Papeete. Sixteen days
ago we sighted Papeete and had the anchor down and stern line ashore just
before dark on our arrival from Rangiroa. The next day was a whirlwind
of clearing customs, signing crew off and moving the boat to a quiet anchorage
a few miles SW of town. The final canoe races of the Heiva celebrations
took place the morning following our arrival.
Our anchorage was between
the start line and Hokulea Beach where the canoe teams assembled. Over
150 outrigger canoes from singles to 12 person double canoes from as far
away as New Zealand competed with heats for all ages and both sexes. Our
crew plunged into the excitement of the festivities until the wee hours
and then rented a car together to circle the island the following day.
The expedition affected each person differently. Joe was all ready to order
a new boat (possibly a H-R 36) and plans of sailing down to this area with
his 8 yr old son as soon as possible. Randy is hoping to find a boat around
35' and show his daughter these islands too. Fiji is excited about planning
a trans-Atlantic passage with his father on the family S and 51' sloop.
John is interested in sharing the cruising life with his wife, possibly
in installments, leaving the boat in different countries and heading back
to work occasionally, as soon as their daughters are out of the nest. Rick
is still planning on sailing down the coast with his wife next year and
Jose was thinking about a boat to liveaboard on near Seattle. On many passages
some of the crew end up thanking us for sharing an experience they discovered
to be more difficult than ever expected, for saving them a lot of money
and a couple of years, and tell us that they will continue sailing in local
waters, chartering or in some cases, take up golf. Not so with this crew!
The two weeks together that Amanda and I have been dreaming of and waiting
for went by way too fast. These are the days and nights people dream of!
Never a drop of rain, a postcard anchorage with white sand only 3' below
the keel, water so clear we could see the anchor and chain lying on the
bottom in the light of the full moon. The dramatic 1000' jagged peaks looked
totally surreal in the moonlight, and by day the lush tropical foliage
beckoned. We started off many mornings with a run along the beach, sometimes
up a nearby valley, followed by a swim. Amanda assembled her new windsurfer
for the first time and we spent hours rocketing around the lagoon - even
found that we could both sail on it together, when we weren't laughing
so hard that we fell off. Snorkeling always seemed to bring a surprise;
puffer fish one day, a graceful leopard ray the next, and always crystal
clear water around 80 degrees.
Steve and Linda Dashew showed up on Beowolf, their 350 mile per day.
78' aluminum speedster ketch and we shared waterskiing, dinners, and an
exciting sail (12 knots of boatspeed in 12 knots of wind). They mentioned
how they really missed cruising with their daughters who are now off on
their own, and Steve gave us a copy of their new 1232 page OFFSHORE CRUISING
ENCYCLOPEDIA, 2nd ed. The book is incredible - and you should check out
their new web site: http://www.SetSail.com.
Steve and Linda Dashew's radical new 78' Ketch, Beowolf off Moorea.
We were very excited to meet up again with another couple whom we first
met 2.5 yrs ago in Chile, and last saw a year ago on Chiloe Island. Georges
and Michele Meffre built their 35' aluminum sloop in France as a sturdy,
go anywhere cruiser. We met them near Cape Horn between their trips to
Antarctica. They also missed cruising with children as their son and daughter
stayed in Australia, during a stopover there, finished university and are
now both married.
Georges, Michelle, Oscar and Fabian anchored off Moorea.
Chilean island of Chiloe, they found a boy to adopt. Oscar had been abandoned
at the hospital where he was born and had been cared for by the nurses
who treated him as a pet or mascot. They didn't know how old (they thought
about six) he was and he had never been sent to school or interacted with
other children, so the Meffre's really had their hands full. When we met
them Oscar had only been with them a month. Now he has been with them nearly
three years, speaks fluent French, Spanish and some English and has Chilean,
French and Australian passports, AND a new younger brother! Fabian was
abandoned in an orphanage, and needed an operation to uncross his eyes
when Georges and Michele adopted him. They spoke of a heart-wrenching
scene in the orphanage when all 18 kids were saying, "Please take me,
too!" Michele said that he is starting to come out of his "shell"
and no longer shy and stuttering, Fabian is now a delightful and warm 6
yr old who sung for us a Tahitian war song he learned while attending school
for two months on Mangareva in the Tuamotus, before sailing to Tahiti.
So as always, the people we meet cruising are as interesting and exciting
as the islands we sail to.
George, Michelle, Oscar and Fabian anchored off Moorea.
Most of the boats anchored nearby are Swiss or German, with a couple
of French and American boats. We have seen a ton of other Hallberg-Rassys,
two 42's from England, a 42' from Germany and have heard of a Scottish
53', a French 45' and a couple more 42's ahead of us. Maybe we should organize
a rendezvous here next year!
Well, there is now enough light, so it's time to wake Amanda and set
sail for Tahiti! Next update from Huahine, Raiatea, Tahaa or Bora Bora!
To The Next Log Entry:
Log #8 - 8/16/97