Fun and Games at the Tahiti-Moorea Saling Rendezvous
07 July 2013 | Pateete and Cooks Bay
Every year Latitude 38 (the sailing magazine) partners with Tahiti tourism to put on the "Tahiti to Moorea Sailing Rendezvous". This fun event celebrates the accomplishment of our voyage across the Pacific Ocean and also gives us a taste of Polynesia hospitality.
The weekend starts with a reception at the Tourism office on the famous Quay downtown Papeete. We receive tee shirts, information on sailing in the area and have a chance to talk with representatives of various boat services in New Zealand. Following the captain's meeting outlining the rout for the sailing rally we are officially greeted with flower leis, a dance performance and a Captains blessing ceremony. We all had fun learning to dance Polynesian style (some better than others.
After the performance everyone went to the famous Roulottes of Papeete, literally "caravans" in French these are mobile food vans that set up each night near the water front. The area becomes its own bustling little city with dozens of vans set up. You can find nearly any kind of food there, chow Mein, burgers, poisson cru, pizza, fish, beef, you name it. Each van has folding tables and plastic stools to sit on, order from one van, and go and eat with your friends at another. You are entertained by a local musical group that plays Polynesian songs, all of which sound very lively and happy.
We eat with Michael from the boat Patanjali, who we were moored next to in Mexico; I think I wrote about his fantastic bon-voyage party, and John and Ralph on the boat Nepenthe. John sailed his boat from LA to here. We had met them at cruisers pot luck the night before. I had instantly recognized him as the actor who played "Q" in Star Trek The Next Generation (ok now you all know I am a "trekie"); he also has done lots of other stuff. We struck up a conversation that night and again the next day when we went by his boat, he needed to borrow a hose to fill up with water. He was very nice and gave me a signed picture.
After dinner we all shared a taxi back to the marina, and had a final drink at the Pink Coconut. John, Ralph and Michael agreed to be on my team for the Outrigger canoe race on Sunday.
Saturday all the boats meet at the outside of the pass to start the rally. It is really windy out with quite a bit of wave action but soon we have our sails up and have a great sail to Moorea. There are about 30-40 boats participating in the rally. We arrive in the early afternoon. We find a nice place to anchor in front of the famous Bali Hai resort, which is the host to the rest of the events.
Saturday night we head to shore and the Bali Hai for dinner. The Rendezvous coincides with the International Ukulele Festival, at the Bali Hai, which was fantastic. Groups competed for the chance to go to the International Festival to be held in San Diego. We were treated to performances by some of the top trios in the islands. Along with dinner and the festival we all had a chance to catch up with cruisers we have met along the way, some we had not seen since the Marquesas' or some we have never met but have heard them on the radio. Also my canoe team needed to come up with a name for the races tomorrow. After much thought (and lots of beer) we decided on "Make it So". Those of you who are Star Trek fans will recognize where we this came from.
Sunday we meet bright and early on the beach for the beginning of the last day of the Rendezvous. The canoe races are first and team Make it So are in the first group for heat one. The outriggers are 6 man so with our team we are matched with a boat that has two "professionals". The canoes and paddlers are from the local Outrigger Canoe club. We draw from a jar to decide which boat we will get. Our boat is white number 3.
After we all get in the professionals give us a quick lesson and we make a practice round. Then we set up at the starting line with the other 4 boats in the heat. The race is a sprint, and you must listen carefully for the change signal. One of the professionals make a loud grunting sound, you then take one stroke and then switch your paddle to the other side, all while you try to synchronize your paddle strokes. Well lo and behold, we win our heat! And we win our second heat! Team Make it So is in the final race!!!
But as we watch the race that will determine the other boat for the final race our hopes of winning are dashed. Team "We aren't wearing any underwear" are 4 very young and very buff guys... We don't win the final race but we have had a great time. We are awarded with second place (out of about 25 teams) with a nice wooden bowl that the guys let me keep. The rest of the day is filled with fun activities, and a dance performance. I have posted lots of pictures on our gallery.
The day is soon over and we must say goodbye to several friends who we may not see again as their course is in a different direction. We raise anchor as the sun is setting and sail off to our next stop, Raiatea.