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Allan and Rina's Sailing Adventure
The travels of S/V Follow You Follow Me Continue....
Drum Corps - Bora Bora Style!
Allan
07/12/2009, Vaitape, Bora Bora

After a couple of relaxing days following 4th of July, a bunch of cruisers went to a show in the village of Vaitape. This was one of several evenings where local district dance and drum troupes compete in front of 5 judges for top honors. The parallels to Drum Corps could not be avoided... There are 6 districts on Bora Bora, and each has its own group of singers, dancers, drummers, ukulele's and singers. It's very much a family affair as the moms and dads are singing and strumming while the younger boys are drumming, and the teenagers are doing traditional dance. In the middle left of the picture above is the judges booth, populated by local dignitaries. The pit containing 21 drummers, 6 ukelele's and 5 singers were reinforced by a top notch sound system, with the house speakers on each side of the sandy performance area. The performance area was large enough to host the 75 dancers, who, while doing traditional Tahitian dance, were also doing quite a bit of drill work. In this pic, the guard is set up for a traditional "off the line" move....seriously...The drummers rocked the place hard as the dancers moved forward with some great moves and flashes of color from their costumes. I was able to infiltrate the local crowd next to the drummers to get a better sense for what was going on within the group. The most advanced drummers were in the middle row playing toms, with accents on hollowed out logs. The back row consisted of younger drummers keeping the beat, while the front row played mostly one stick rhythms on a slotted log. After watching these guys for 30 minutes you could tell who was leading, and the kid, all of about 15, had incredible hands with great single and double stroke riffs. Given how long I've been here and how many shows I've seen with Polynesian drummers I really should know more about the fundamentals of how they construct the beat... oh well. What I *can* say is that each troupe of dancers and musicians, except for a couple of standard songs, create very individual songs and rhythms, with dancing that tells very specific stories. After a 45 minute show we got some better pics of the group, since we could not use flash during the show. See the gallery for those shots.

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07/15/2009 | Phil
I wish I could have seen this. i bet it was a rush.
What a 4th!
Allan
07/07/2009, Bora Bora

What happens when you throw a bunch of Americans, 6 wired 10 year old boys, a drunk dutch guy, a british MTV video director, an Italian singer, and a recently deceased king of pop on a 65 foot wooden ketch?

Controlled mayhem, that's what. The Americans were looking to recreate a little bit of home, with a classic backyard bbq menu... dogs, burgers, potato salad and a bunch of kids running around on a sugar high made for a high energy environment. Our hosts, Aaron, a retired NFL tight end, and Lauren, his girlfriend, hosted on Wayward Wind, a 65 foot wooden ketch, providing a TON of room for more than 50 people to enjoy themselves. Aaron's excellent sound system played a stream of great tunes, and after dinner, when the dance floor got going, a Michael Jackson tribute got the vibe going. While it was mostly dark on the dance floor-slash-afterdeck, I found a light that made a decent strobe light... Aaron kicked up the volume and we had a serious party going. The kids eventually burnt off their sugar high in front of the 45" big screen TV while the adults brought out the jello shots and kept things rolling. The coach top became "the birdcage" with many of the ladies surrounding a seriously drunk dutch guy "cookie" who got the royal treatment... If it wasn't for Dietmar flashing pictures with his strobe, nobody would have seen or remembered half of this.... There was a lot of cringing the day after as these pictures saw the light of day.... The primary instigator of this mayhem was Mike Lipscombe, a retired MTV video director, who inspired the coachtop dancing, and his girlfriend Veronika, an excellent vocalist, who has fronted the rapper "Tricky", among other credits. Aaron and myself will also take some credit (blame?) for the mix and the light show, which helped get the boat hopping.

A great time was had by all, no deaths, no drowning, no truly embarrassing moments, just a fun 4th by a bunch of people looking for a little bit of home away from home. The gallery has photographic evidence of this gala event.

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The Passage to the Leeward Islands of French Polynesia
Rina
07/03/2009, Bora Bora Yacht Club

After 2 tries to leave Cooks Bay, Moorea, we finally found a weather window to my comfort...or we thought....Seas were quite bumpy, approx 6-8 feet, quick to come, and the winds were anywhere from 15-25, then gusts to 28 or more. Thankfully all the winds were from behind us, but still getting pooped from the waves on our stern. The rollers kept both of us awake for most of the night's passage, banging jib, banging boom, and lots of swaying back & forth in our bunk. We made it to the pass on the east side between Riataea & Tahaa at sunrise(6:30am), through the passage and out the other side and off to Bora Bora. It was beautiful to see it in the morning light. Even more beautiful when the clouds cleared and the sun showed us the coral reef surrounding the island with breaking waves and teal blue seas. Today we've been enjoying the Bora Bora Yacht Club's mooring ball to get some rest. This has been our first passage alone since we were alone in Mexico...boy, it's been awhile, right?? Alone till we get our next family visitors, Phil & Josie in Tonga her surrounding islands. Should be another great adventure and good to have visitors every once in awhile. Well, off to expore Bora Bora's towns and other anchorages. More later, watch for more pictures soon as we get around the island and celebrate the 4th of July! To everyone, have a safe & fun 4th of July weekend!

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07/04/2009 | Ken & Lori
Do you find that you would rather have a guest or two on passage?

4th of July in Bora Bora...Nice!!!

We are stuck being OD for our Yatch Club tonight 4th of July.

Still following your every blog and enjoying photos.

Cheers,

Ken & lori
Megan's Moorea Rendezvous
Allan
07/01/2009, Moorea

We have thoroughly enjoyed our time with daughter Megan over the past two weeks. Since putting Alyssa on a plane home for summer school after nearly 3 months aboard, we sailed back to Moorea as part of the Tahiti-Moorea Rendezvous Regatta. We placed 11th overall and 5th in our class (out of 53) in light winds and owe our strong finish to a great start and luck. After the race we were welcomed by traditional Tahitian canoes and partied on the beach the rest of the day and night. It was sailing heaven, with most of the boats we have met over the past 3 months all in one place. The sea stories were thick and deep.

After renting scooters to drive around Moorea, hiking to waterfalls and swimming with sting-rays, we reluctantly headed back to Papeete to put Megan on a plane home. At this point we were going to head to Huahine, but strong winds and big seas have conspired to keep us tucked safely in Cooks Bay for the past 4 days. Not a bad place to be stuck, by a long shot.

With some luck, we will brave the 9 foot swells and 18-20 knot winds tomorrow and head directly to Bora Bora for the 4th of July party at Bloody Mary's and the Bora Bora yacht club. Our time in French Polynesia is almost at an end, as our 90 day visa is up on July 15. From French Polynesia, we plan on heading to the Cook Islands, Samoa and then Tonga, before ending the season in New Zealand in November.

Surrounding Rina, Allan and Megan on the beach on Moorea are our Carinthia friends Susan, Suzanne and Kurt. The gallery has a bunch more pictures of our time here.

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Too Much Exposure?
Allan
06/26/2009, Opunohu Bay, Moorea


Photogenic Rina is on the bow of the boat as we enter Opunohu Bay Moorea after the end of the regatta. We were greated in the traditional manner by Tahitians.... and sure enough, Andy's photo of Rina made Lectronic Latitude today....

The gallery has been updated with a bunch of pics from the Regatta.

We're off to Huahine in the Leeward Islands now, just Rina and I.... alone at last! (It's been 3 months)

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06/27/2009 | Sus
Bring it, Rina!!! WooHoo!!
The Gallery is Updated Finally
Allan
06/19/2009, Moorea

Finally got a decent internet connection this morning!

3 new picture albums in the gallery, including Alyssa and my tour of Aquila, a superyacht who's engineer we befriended. Aquila is owned by some Russian Oligarch who is hiding his identity quite well, as he's even Google-proof, although you can find the specs for Aquila, and my favorite, Plan B, above on many sites.

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Megan Hailing from Moorea
Megan
06/19/2009, Moorea, Society Islands

Well, here it is: My first blog entry and my visit is already near its end. In only two weeks I have visited a few of the most beautiful places in the world. Tahiti was beautiful. We rented a car and drove around the entire island, stopping for pictures, lunch, and a tour of a tropical garden along the way. Alyssa and I tried climbing anything and everything. Of course, being the rain witch, I had to have a large storm come onto the island in the middle of the night, popping two of our fenders and throwing us up against the brick pier. Tahiti is definitely the hustle and bustle of the Society Islands, and we decided to find a more secluded anchorage. We then motored to a point outside Cook's Bay in Moorea and spent a few nights in between the reef and the island which created glassy water I've never thought possible in the ocean. After motoring towards the inside of Cook's Bay (and narrowly missing the reef) we stayed here for the last three nights, enjoying the jagged peaks of the mountains surrounding the protected lagoon of the bay.

Yesterday was our exploration of Moorea via scooter. Now, dad has driven motorcycles and scooters before, but for mom and me, it was our first time. So, of course, one of us would have to crash into something..... Let's just say I had a minor disagreement with a handmade stone wall.... And I won. After getting back on my feet (and returning the scooter to its upright position) we began our adventure around the island. The scenery was beautiful, but I almost spent more time trying not to be run over by the locals on the one road that circles the island. We went up to Belvedere, a picturesque spot about 2000 feet above both Cook's Bay and Opunohu Bay, where we found a trail down to a small waterfall. We'll try to upload the pictures from the last week as soon as we can. After seven hours of holding on to the throttle of the scooter my hands and arms were at their end. If it weren't for lunch and the few stops for shopping, I don't think I could have made it back to our side of the island.

For now, I'll have to end the blog entry a little short. We are heading back to Papeete for the sailing rendez-vous, and I will definitely do at least one more blog before I head back to reality.

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06/19/2009 | Grandma
What a delight, you are....made me laugh out loud. I am so glad you hare having this great vacation!
So Much To Do!
Allan
06/17/2009, Baie De Cook, Moorea

We have had a whirlwind existence for the past week, taking advantage of our time together with Megan and Alyssa. We played tourist for several days, renting a car and circumnavigating the island of Tahiti-Nui, stopping at local eateries, touring botanical gardens and acclimating Megan to island life. We enjoyed the nightlife and restaurants at Marina Taina, making many new friends with the crews of the many superyachts moored at the Marina, and even getting a tour of one of the largest, Aquilla, owned by a Russian Oligarch. The crews of the superyachts, average age 26 and Aussie, were a kick, always looking for the next party, and if they could not find one, create one. They organized a blues/fusion band one evening, and a full-on Tahitian feast and dance another night. The gallery has many more shots of this party.

I have promised Rina a "spa day" for several months, so we took advantage of a very nice spa at the International Beachcomber, getting massages, facials and wraps of various types. Given the low occupancy, they were dealing, so we got the run of the facilities, including steam room, "interactive aromatherapy showers" and secluded tea room for half a day for a relative pittance. Afterwards we enjoyed lunch with a bottle of Vueve overlooking the pool and lagoon beyond, with Moorea in the background. After 4 full days, we put Alyssa on an airplane home, and she is now enrolled in summer school at Gavillan College in Gilroy. Back to reality for her!

The next day, the 3 of us escaped the noise and density of Tahiti for Moorea, where we are once again enjoying the tranquil life. That is, until Carinthia showed up from Bora Bora, and proceeded to through another in a series of rousing parties. Tahiti is nice for the convenience and accessibility of services, but boy, are we getting used to having nearly secluded anchorages to ourselves.... Quite a transition from Mexico...

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06/18/2009 | Jerry M.
What a beautiful picture. All memories of an amazing time for the Alexopulos family!!! Continue the blessed time together and the ever building memory book, Thanks!.
Girls in Paradise!
Rina
06/12/2009, Papeete, Tahiti

Boy, it's sure fun having the girls together (Isn't this a cute picture!?!). We walked an amazing botanical garden "Jardin Botanique de Paperari". Trees, plants, and flowers from all over the world. They seem to thrive on the climate here. A little (I mean A LOT!) rain never hurts anything! We drove completely around Tahiti, nothing but green mountains, the bluest teal waters and surfing galore. Great time, we will be missing Alyssa soon, leaving Saturday evening...then we are off to Moorea for diving, snorkeling, kayaking and mountain hiking to fill Megan's vacation time. Hello to everyone, and you'll hear from me soon!

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06/12/2009 | Susie Bloom
What a GREAT picture!! I love it! How's the food??
06/13/2009 | Mama Fives
Hi Kids: The girls are just as gorgeous as ever. Gosh, I miss them. I am so pleased that all four of you can experience parts of this fantastic vacation together. Did you say rain? Has Megan been dancing? All my happy thoughts go to you... Sent with Love & Hugs, mama
06/13/2009 | Grandma
You girls look like you are in heaven! I think it is Megan's turn to make her entry in to the blog, don't you think? Love you and miss all of you!
07/30/2012 | kibrom
first how tha day i like you photoes i like you and i need you any time contacte me ok?
What is that clear liquid coming out of that tube?
Allan
06/11/2009, Papeete

I think its clear clean drinking water! The long saga *appears* to be over. After 9 weeks wrestling with our watermaker, we appear to have finally restored its health. After receiving new seals and o-rings upon our arrival in Papeete, I rebuilt the high pressure pump, changed all the filters and started her up. In less than a minute we were making water... then 10 minutes later, we were not. A string of obscenities emanated from the aft lazarette. I started looking around, and noticed a washer was loose, pulled out an allen wrench and noticed that several bolts were loose.... Hmmmm, could has sworn I torqued those. Turn it on again, it makes water for 30 minutes, then the pump starts stalling, increasing pressure, which then forces the system to stall the feedpump, dropping pressure to the membrane and, you guessed it, STOPS it from making water. More toxic language bounces off the hull. I pull the high pressure pump out, and completely disassemble it, looking for seals or o-rings that have shifted but find nothing. I put it back together and reinstall and start her up. It makes water for 1 hour, then 2 hours, then 4..... hmmmm. At this point, with my tragically optimistic outlook, I was ready to declare victory. I decided to toast the momentary victory and wait for another day to declare a total victory. The next day, we made water for 6 hours with no issues. So there it is.... The weight has been finally lifted...

So what was wrong? The original problem was a blown feed pump that spewed water all over the inside of the boat, but a separate and unrelated problem was the seals on the main pump shafts not holding sufficient pressure. Comparing 2 of the 8 seals with new, there was an important lip missing on the inside edge that contacts the shaft. There was lots of rust residue inside the unit, and our hypothesis is that the rust helped the seals degrade. The source of the rust appears to be two plugs on the end of the large pump, which show stains flowing down into the bottom of the pump.

Lets hope this is the end of it!

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06/15/2009 | Dalia & Justin
What model water maker do you have so we know not to ever get it!!!! LOL

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Who: Allan & Rina Alexopulos
Port: Sutter Creek, CA
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