27 April 2016
It's life in the fast lane again for the crew of Blue Summit! After two months of either being at sea or in fairly remote locations (breathtakingly beautiful,but isolated), we are once again in a big, bustling, (and exotic) city. Papeete, is the capital of French Polynesia on the island of Tahiti. Tahiti is the southern-most island in the "Society Islands" which include Mo'orea, Bora Bora, Huahine, Ra'iatea, Maupiti, and Taha'a (spellchecker doesn't like any of them...) and 85% of the population of the Society Islands is located on Tahiti. I believe there are just under a million people on Tahiti so it's a big place!
We arrived at daybreak on Saturday morning, April 24 after a hot and windless sail ("sail" might be stretch, it was a motor really) from Apataki in the Tuamotus. The forecasted winds from the most recent in a parade of lows coming eastward across the Pacific never materialized so we motored most of the 48 hours- yuck! With tiny 29 horsepower engines we don't go anywhere quickly. "Wishanger", who we were sailing with, very nicely reduced rpms so they didn't entirely leave us in the dust- we still had radio contact with them. We pulled into a lagoon on the east side of Papeete, near the Tahiti Yacht Club, and enjoyed a beautiful anchorage tucked inside the reef. Unfortunately we had no sooner anchored than the heavens opened and we were deluged for close to three hours. When it stopped raining, we ventured ashore in search of internet and groceries- both of which we found. After two months of 7-11 size grocery stores, we wandered into a Carrefour superstore- the equivalent of a Wal-Mart superstore, except more upscale. Hannah and I were practically giddy- fruits, veggies, rotisserie chickens, gorgeous meats, cheeses, and all good things French! And it was air-conditioned. I could have moved in and been quite happy.
As we had forgotten our list, we ended up with several bags of marvelous impulse purchases, with maybe a few necessities thrown in for good measure. As luck would have it, it started to rain as soon as we walked out of the store, so we, and the groceries, were fairly soaked by the time we walked back to the dock then dinghied to the boat... Everything was nicely washed by the time we got back to the boat. Turns out baguettes don't like the rain. We ventured out again, for dinner this time, to a nearby Chinese restaurant and feasted on fabulous Chinese food. Of course having the Chinese food menu in French afforded us some nice surprises but we enjoyed a super evening, especially as it was karoake night, a fabulous mix of Polynesian, French and vintage Elvis songs.
Sunday morning we went back to Carrefour, this time armed with a list and even more bags to carry our goodies home in. And again, it poured as we walked back- so much so that we had several inches of standing water in the bags... We put on dry clothes when we got back to the boat, dried everything before putting it away, and hunkered down to watch a movie and eat lunch. Around 3 pm we were all stir-crazy and it looked like the rain had passes so we went ashore and set off on foot for Papeete, about 3-4 miles away. Dry clothes are overrated and within a half an hour, we were drenched again but determined to make it to town. After several months of having very little rain, we've made up for it in two days here.
We moved the boat to the west side of Papeete early this morning to Marina Taina, the only marina that has diesel in Papeete. We are now tucked in behind a reef with a beautiful view of Mo'orea in front of us and the mountains of Tahiti behind us. And the sun has been out all day! Tomorrow we'll move again to the downtown waterfront marina where the World ARC rendezvous will be later this week. The marina is right downtown and will be a super location to explore the city- the public market, historical sites, restaurants etc are all right there. Rumor has it our new mainsail has arrived in Papeete from Sweden on an Air France flight but we have not officially heard if that's true or not. Wehoo!