06/26/2013, 18 15'S:158 11'W, 95 NM TO AITUTAKI
In case you're wondering whatever happened to the bloggers, we're back...with not much to report. We are (finally) nearing the end of a 450 mile passage. We were so busy doing nothing, we didn't have time to write.
So, what is all this nothing we are doing? There is Scrabble to play, although we seem to have misplaced the 'Official Scrabble Dictionary'. Not to worry. All disputes were resolved amicably, and no one went overboard. There are movies to watch. Thanks, Marc. There is music to listen to. Thanks iTunes. There are books to read. TGFK. (Thank goodness for Kindle.) There were 'last week' bananas which needed to be made into banana muffins. (See photo above). There were potato chip cookies to be made. (Yes, you read that right.) Gotta' keep the serotonin level up. Oh, yes. There were fish to be caught....but not by us...YET!
And, then there was our environment: beautiful sunrises and sunsets, 2 boats in our view in 4 days, far off in the distance, and a desolate atoll with lots of birds flying overhead. Linda thinks they look a lot like the brown noddies and sooty terns usually seen in the Dry Tortugas. But, so far, the best sighting of this passage: Jon was on night watch when he heard a spout and spotted a 30-foot whale, about 10 feet from Moonbeam.
Our next port of call: Aitutaki. It will be good to get our land legs back...and the travel guides promise, along with vivid descriptions of the island, an internet cafe. YAY! We do need to feed our addiction.
06/25/2013, 17 06'S:154 55'W, 290 MILES TO THE COOK ISLANDS
Proceeding towards Aikutaki in the Cook Islands. Still calm seas and light winds. Motor sailing at 5.5 Kts.
LAST DAY IN FRENCH POLYNESIA
06/24/2013, 16 34'S:152 47'W, 400 MILES TO THE COOK ISLANDS
What makes an island develop tourism? Maupiti has very little commercialization. There are several small pensiones for visitors to stay over. No hotels, few restaurants and only a few shops that primarily sell groceries. Families stay in the same house for generations- relatives are buried in the front yard. The streets are lined with mango, grapefruit, breadfruit, noni and tiare which is the national flower. The island is surrounded by a reef with a narrow, difficult entrance channel. The current can run up to 8 knots. Fortunately it was calm when we entered and we were escorted in by dolphins. The photo was taken when it was dead calm - you can imagine how wild it must be on a windy day. Many boats don't stop here. There's a ferry to Bora Bora a couple of times a week, and Air Tahiti flies to Tahiti several times as week as well.
Families ride bicycles and motor scooters in the street. People are very helpful and friendly. Ken and Lil went for groceries and a family game them a ride to and from.
We didn't do a lot but had a lovely day. We walked to the edge of town on each side. Little blue herons landed on the cliff face of the mountain, tropical birds flew overhead, children played football (soccer) in the street, and big kids (adults) played an organized football game at the community center. This was Moonbeam's last stop in French Polynesia so the goal was to spend the rest of our Pacific Francs. We bought clothes pins, mustard, sardines, beer and ice cream pops. No restaurants were open, so we had a barbecue on board under a full moon.
This morning we took the dingy to the beach, did some walking and wading. We hoped to snorkel but it was all white sand with just a few sea cucumbers. Moonbeam got her bottom cleaned and we left around noon for Aitutaki in the Cook Islands. The sea is tranquil - no wind and not a boat in sight all day. We're back on watch schedule and it will take 2 days to get to our next stop.