Position: 17°30’S, 149°50’W – Moorea
One week on land and already our journey across the South Pacific feels like a lifetime ago.
We have continued to settle back into life on land, rediscovering the great French institution - Carrefour! Almost ten years to the day when we ventured into a Carrefour in Suzhou, China, we set off with a backpack, a shopping list and the same feeling of doubt over how much of it we would find.
There were no live turtles, snakes or fish, and we didn’t attract a following of locals looking into our trolley to see what we were buying. However there were plenty of things that we never found in New Zealand (tinned spinach, tinned ratatouille, tinned ravioli) as well as familiar things that are crucial to many of our boat recipes - bless Fonterra and their Anchor UHT cooking cream. Faced with so much choice, it dawned on us that it’s really the most basic of staples that we appreciate. We still have a lot of non-perishable supplies on board but fresh milk with cereal, fresh ham & cheese & lettuce in a fresh baguette, and a cold beer in the evening make us feel truly spoiled while near land.
|Welders at work|
We spent most of our first week in Tahiti working on the boat as we wanted to take advantage of boat yards and boat stores in Papeete before heading to the more remote islands. Some joints in the bimini frame (steel structure above and around the cockpit) had cracked during our trip from New Zealand and we arranged to have them welded closed. While we were waiting around to do this, the Skipper produced a list of boat jobs that resembled that bottomless bag of tricks that Mary Poppins used to carry around with her – no sooner is one completed than another two appear.
Welding done and a ceasefire declared on the list of jobs, we set off from Tahiti and arrived in Cook’s Bay, Moorea just before nightfall on Wednesday. By pure coincidence, a Polynesian drum performance started up at the nearby Club Bali Hai hotel as we anchored, followed by a heavy downpour. When you are rationed to 500ml of water per day for a shower, rain really is mana from heaven so we grabbed the soap and shampoo and freshened up al fresco before dinner.
Thursday was our first official ‘day off’ since reaching land and time to stretch our legs. Many tourists rent a scooter or a car to reach the Belvedere lookout over Cook’s Bay and Oponuhu Bay. Not our First Mate. She had her runners on and we were off for a two hour hike before the Skipper knew what was going on. Along the way we stopped at some archaeological sites, including a marae dating back to 900AD. 4,000km from Auckland, it was quite comforting to see the familiar Polynesian structures and customs that we take as a given in New Zealand.
|Belvedere Lookout - |
Ashling anchored in Cook's Bay in background
As we arrived back at the boat, we met our first fellow yachties when an English couple stopped by in their dinghy to introduce themselves after noticing our Irish flag. Brian and Sue have been sailing around the world since 2005 and we’re heading over for a beer this evening to hear about their adventures and experiences to date. Very excited to meet some other sailors and make new friends - it's been a while!