Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Moorea Days without Mark


Waiting for the ferry
Since dropping Mark off in Tahiti last week, life has been pretty busy. It started on Thursday, when we needed an early start, even though Mark’s plane didn’t leave until 11pm at night. Some last minute preparations onboard were followed by a lift to the rainy ferry dock. Our Tahitian friend Pierrette was so kind to drop us and our heavy load off with plenty of time to catch the 9am Terevau to Papeete. This boat is faster and cheaper than the Aremiti ferries, and it runs on time! Once in Tahiti, a van from Hertz brought us to the airport, where we hired a car for the day. Then, we needed to buy a fiscal stamp at the post office (9000 XPF), in order to pay for Mark’s residency card extension, which needed to be arranged at the Haut-commissariat office in Papeete before 11:30am. All went well at the Haut-commissariat de la République en Polynésie française and Mark can now legally enter the country again, if he needs to come back soon.

The reason for our car rental, unlike other times, was solely for our own conveniences, to store all the luggage and have a little refuge for the (wet) day. We had seen the sights of Tahiti Nui on several occasions, so to kill time, we drove out to Tahiti Iti, the southeast peninsula of the island. We hoped to eat our lunch at the top of a mountain, but when we missed the unmarked roads to this belvedere, we ate our sandwich in the frontier village of Tautira instead. Tahiti Iti is much quieter than its bigger brother and we enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere. Mountain cliffs rise close to the road, and multiple waterfalls plummet along its edges. When we finally found a road to the summit, rain clouds had enveloped it and the view was non-existent. The temperature was a lovely 73°F (23°C) up there, so we savored the cool climate for some well-needed rest. We were not in a hurry.

When happy hour came along, we met our friends Christian (SV Pitufa) and Valentine and Tor (SV Yum Yum) at Casa Bianca in Marina Taina. It was great to catch up with them and we had a lovely final evening in the tropics for Mark. The last ferry to Moorea had long departed, so I spent the night at anchor on Pitufa. It took a while to get used to the rolling motion of the monohull and to be “at sea” again. Irie has been in a marina since April and we spent two months on land in New Zealand, so I have long lost my sea legs!

Four Choices in Papeete harbor
After Mark left to Boston, I have had a few adventures of my own. I met the owner of our previous boat Four Choices in Papeete, which brought back memories. He showed me around our old boat and images of nasty boat projects, comfortable marina life with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and our dogs Darwin and Kali sprang to life. We owned the boat in California for 9 months and lived on it full time for five, before we set off towards Mexico in September 2005. The dogs hated the heeling in the Pacific, I was horrendously seasick and the first day out caused a rip in the mainsail and engine trouble. So, after two days – we had only reached Monterrey – we put the boat up for sale and a whole other adventure ensued.

The following morning, I got up at 4:30am to catch the 6am ferry to Tahiti with some gear to sell at the flea market in Marina Taina. It was another drizzly day and not a lot of people showed up, but it was another event I could mark off the list. Sunday, the Moorea Rendez-vous party in Cook’s Bay concluded a series of Puddle Jump 2015 events and I decided to check in and see what the hype was all about. Mark and I crossed the Pacific Ocean two years ago, but were never involved with the Puddle Jump crowds. The atmosphere and attendance was overwhelming! I stood by and watched the activities, while meeting up with the crew of Four Choices again and hanging out with a Dutch single hander. The rides there and back while hitchhiking proved to be interesting as well.

Some errands and a meet-up with an American ex-pat filled my Monday, and yesterday afternoon and evening, I was invited over to our friends’ Pierrette and Thierry’s house here in Moorea. We had a nice time hanging out, chatting and eating, and my French received a serious brush-up! After five continuous hours of it, this language had consumed me and my thoughts! And so my Moorea days are flying by very fast. My schedule is filling up and there is still so much to do: people to meet, waterfalls to be discovered, projects to attend to and preparations to be made…

Lunch at a park in Tautira on Tahiti Iti

One of the steep waterfalls along the road to Tautira

Driving through pastures in the hills - yes, this is Tahiti!

The "no" viewpoint

The road back down from the summit

Happy hour with SV Yum Yum

Sharing a 1/2 meter pizza with Christian - the right amount for 3 people!

Meeting Bob and our old boat Four Choices - she still looks the same!

With Darwin and Kali on Four Choices in California (summer 2005)

Band at the Puddle Jump Moorea Rendez-vous

Dancers at the Rendez-vous party

I have never seen this many cruising boats and dinghies in pretty Cook's Bay!

Pierrette showing one of her quilts - they require heaps of work! Every little colorful piece of fabric is hand-sewn to the other ones.

A yummy Polynesian dinner with taro, sweet bananas, poisson cru, fried fish, rice and baguette

... and Chinese cabbage (bokchoy)

Enjoying good food and good company with Thierry and Pierrette

It is a beautiful day in Vaiare today - the first one in a long time!

Irie in Vaiare Marina with Tahiti in the background

Vaiare Marina is very well protected by the surrounding mountains

Tahiti across the channel today: no cloud in the sky on this crisp, sunny day!

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