Saturday, October 6, 2012

Nous sommes arrivés!

Position: 17°S, 149°W - Tahiti
We have arrived! We are white, tired and weigh a good kilo or two less than when we left New Zealand but the next 4-6 weeks on land should help to fix that J
After 23 days at sea, we docked at Quai des Yachts in central Papeete city on Wednesday morning. We were apprehensive entering the harbour as we had read many conflicting versions from other Skippers about where to dock and who to contact, never mind having to communicate on the VHF radio en français. We got there though and Le Capitaine, as the Skipper is called here, set off to complete all the entry formalities with the Harbour Master, Police and Customs. It’s been a long time since he parle français so it’s a small miracle that they let us into the country at all.
Dry land is A-MAZ-ING! After our experience over the past three weeks, we deliberately had no expectations of Papeete and arriving on land. We didn’t want to set ourselves up to be disappointed and furthermore, all the tourist guides describe Papeete as underwhelming and ‘just another city’ where tourists should spend as little time as possible. That may be so for people who arrive here by plane but for us, it was like arriving in paradise. We swung off the bow at Quai des Yachts and felt like we had walked into a dream. Land life, i guess, hit us all at once in an assault of our senses – colours of flowers, cars, shops; smells of land, food, people;  sounds of traffic, birds, laughter. Remember that 1980s movie Twins with Danny de Vito and Arnold Schwarznegger? We were like Arnold’s character, arriving into civilisation for the first time and finding pleasure in the smallest of things like a smile from a stranger or biting into a crusty baguette. We turned on taps and stared at the water, no longer worrying about how many litres came out or how many volts the pump was using to pump the water through. So many things we took for granted before setting sail.
Catching up on emails and Facebook, we’ve been absolutely overwhelmed with the many messages from friends and family all over the world. When we are out on our own in the ocean, it’s easy to forget just how many people are thinking of us and rooting for us to succeed. It’s hard to put into words how comforting this is – when reading all the comments for the first time, the First Mate choked up with tears of happiness and for those who have heard about Madame Ice Queen on our wedding day, that’s some achievement!  Please know that we really really appreciate it, and feel very lucky to have so many people who care and support us on our adventure.
Yesterday we moved from the busy Papeete Port to Marina Taina, 5km west of the city, where we have access to showers, launderette,  water, electricity and internet. Even our arrival at the marina was like a dream come true – after radioing in to announce our arrival, a guy appeared in a dinghy to guide us around to our berth. At the berth, another two guys were waiting to take ropes to secure the boat as we came up alongside a wall. This may not sound like much to the non-sailors reading this but berthing is one of the most stressful activities for any Skipper due to the high risk of collision with posts and boats in a confined space, so even one extra pair of hands is a valued asset.  
We’ve just had a cocktail at one of the bars in the marina while watching the sun set over the island of Moorea. For dinner tonight, le Capitaine is cooking up steak and spuds. Crew morale: 10/10

Life's always better when someone else does the cooking.
At Les Roulottes, Papeete.

6 comments:

  1. Well done guys great to hear your enjoying being back in civilisation

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  2. Fantastic, glad you guys made it there safely. Sounded pretty unpleasant along the way but once you get to Panama you will have a long long time of very enjoyable conditions I'm sure - I hope so anyway!

    Melissa have been following your journey, the GPS locations are great, please keep them up. I show Melissa the updated location on Google Earth each time and check out the islands around you. There were some pretty interesting ones near your route, one of which had a population size of 300! Best to stay away from places like that though I think, despite it looking very interesting! Lol.

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  3. Thank the lord I can breathe now you're on terra firma......well done you guys are awesome. Enjoy.

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  4. Well done on making it to dry land, we are following your trip closely!

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  5. Fantastic! Heather and I are really enjoying the blog - many thanks for keeping us and all your friends posted.
    Good on you!

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  6. Looks like you guys are having a grand adventure. Huw put me onto your blog. I'll be following and cheering you both along...

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