Day 661: Next stop New Zealand

It will take more than the efforts of one grumpy boater to put a dampener on the crew of Egret's spirits as they await the arrival of their friends

S17 30.79 W149 51.10 Cooks Bay, Moorea, French Polynesia

Scott (YT) and Mary Flanders (MS) left Gibraltar on 16 September 2006, and we’ll be following their journey every step of the way, thanks to this unique online “blog”. For a complete list of all the couple’s blog entries click here 

It will take more than the efforts of one grumpy boater to put a dampener on the crew ofEgret’sspirits as they await the arrival of their friends

Friday 11 July
Well, mis amigos, a lot has happened since posting our last blog. We pulled anchor to move into shallow water and inspect the running gear, zincs and bottom orEgret. Well, wouldn’t you know it, the only space available was in front of the local anchorage bully. We dropped in 19ft, sent 125ft of chain to the bottom and buried TK (our anchor) to the roll bar. I didn’t think we would drag in the five knots of sea breeze. After shutting down, bullyboy came over in his dink. The first words out of his mouth were to ask us to leave so he wouldn’t have to smell our generator exhaust all night. We’re 150ft apart. It also didn’t occur to him that when the land breeze starts in the evening we would turn around. In a rare bit of kindness toward the American sloopWarm Rainfrom Seattle, we explained we were here for just an hour or two and would be leaving. Satisfied, he began telling us his recent life story (like we cared).

Apparently he spent two years in a Mexican marina/anchorage/campground and has spent the last three months removed from the comfy shore and guess who is the expert on all things nautical? So we played a simple mind game and told him that even though we’re a powerboat we don’t normally run the generator at night because of solar but that we did run the generator at night for a couple of hours while we were in Chile because the days were so short during the winter there was occasional snow on the panels. Slowly the wheels started turning in dim bulb’s little pea brain and off he went trying to put that together.

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This isn’t the first time we have heard nonsense like this since arriving in Tahiti, although it is the first time it was directed specifically at us. There are radio-bullies that scold those who dare to forget to switch channels, anchor-bullies that scowl and wave boats away from them and so on. We haven’t experienced any of this in four years of cruising, from any nationality and I’m sorry to say that all the culprits here in Polynesia are American. This is sad and doesn’t create a good impression for our international cruising buddies.

Making friends
We have had a furious week of socialising with our Aussie and Swedish friends. The Aussies are fast tracking back home and the Swedes are more on our schedule. The hardest part of cruising is not the weather, foul anchorages or stubborn authorities. It is the friendships that you forge with different folk, only to leave each other and perhaps never get together again. When cruising this international group of yachties replaces work associates as your support and social network. Be it power or sail, we all have a common bond, common issues and for the most part, common goals and this group understands what we are saying and more importantly they care about what you are saying.

Last Wednesday night we went off to Club Bali Hai for dinner and dancing. Dinner was not memorable but the conversation was good as always, although the young Polynesian girl in the white costume stole the show. She could do things with her middle part that should be against the law – her parents must have removed those bones at birth. It was another good evening spent with friends.

The next day we rented a car with the Swedes and we drove on every road, (basically two, the perimeter road and one leading inland), and every goat trail, (there are four on the island). We found the world’s prettiest farm and discovered a different jungle trail that lead way inland. We had a picnic lunch with fresh baguettes, cheese and fruit and it was another perfect day touring the island. Moorea has to be one of the prettiest islands in the world and we agreed to return when our friends arrived on 7 July. It is a rare treat to show friends places that we are so enthusiastic about. It will be torture for them – they are on a four-five year holding pattern until their youngest child turns the car key and heads off for university. They have an interim boat and are honing their boating skills until then.

Last Friday was a chores day, we changed the oil for the main, took the dinghy around the reef with Mary busy with her look bucket, took a swim, had a nap and some sundowners with friends. Ho hum, just another day in Moorea.

On the Saturday we went to Papeete, Tahiti to begin the provisioning chores. We left the anchorage early and ran straight into 30 knots of wind on the nose. Not bad so we matched RPM with the seas and put out two swimming plugs to give a little action to our slow speed. There were no fish?again. As we were working up sea we ran into the local fleet of racing canoes that had come from Papeete and were heading around Moorea AND back to Papeete (it was 18nm to our anchorage the short way). Those guys, and girls in their low freeboard canoes must have had a hard time during the crossing and the spectator fleet was five times as large as the race fleet. Great fun. The leaders were way out in front.

A couple hours later I splashed down in the harbour. On shore I spent a few minutes socialising with Roger on N55New Paigeand off we went to Carrefour (to the big supermarket). Prices are high but we buy what we want, hand them plastic, don’t look at the bill and sign away. Someone else pays our bills so it’s no problem. If we run out of money someday and move ashore (near the ocean) you may see an old couple with a faraway look in their eyes and a smile on their face at a local grocery store. They will ask you if you want paper or plastic. Be kind and take your groceries without comment and don’t feel sorry for us. We made our choice and if we had to do it all again we would. You couldn’t possibly imagine what our eyes have seen. Better to be a ‘used to be’ than a ‘never was’.

We were so well stocked that three large bags of canned goods had to go in the lazarette as there was no more room. We don’t want our buddies to starve and before they arrived on Monday we went to buy some meat, fruit and veggies, without thinking about where the fruit and veggies were going to go, much less the safety gear we carry in the saloon while at sea. Like always, we managed.

New arrivals
After all that last minute rushing around we met our friends at the airport on Monday evening. After negotiating with a couple of cabbies, we managed to reduce the fare and we brought suitcases packed with goodies to the marina. Two trips to the boat later we were loaded and all was well – there is stuff everywhere.

On Tuesday we headed back to Moorea, taking the scenic route and fishing along the way. It was another beautiful day at sea but still no fish. We are now anchored in Cook’s Bay, watched the sunset and sipping Mary’s Pisco Sours (Chilean drink). We are winding our friends up, telling them we do this every day. So tonight it’s lamb chops on the Barbie, along with grilled courgettes, rice and other things. It is guest Anita’s birthday tomorrow so we are going to Club Bali Hai for a French breakfast and then we are hiring a car.

Picture 1. Local kids enjoying themselves.
Picture 2. Egret in Cooks Bay, Moorea



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