Sailing the Pacific

09 November 2010
07 November 2010
05 November 2010
26 October 2010
19 October 2010 | Somewhere between Fiji and Vanuatu
14 October 2010
14 October 2010
14 October 2010
14 October 2010
14 October 2010
03 October 2010
15 September 2010 | Vava'u, Tonga
02 September 2010 | Vava'u, Tonga
08 August 2010
29 July 2010
25 July 2010 | Bora Bora
20 July 2010
16 July 2010 | Moorea
16 July 2010 | Moorea, Society Islands

The Kindness of Strangers.

25 July 2010 | Bora Bora
Bora bora is reknowned for it's physical beauty, and indeed it Is stunning, but Isabelle and I found that the real beauty lies within the people of Bora Bora.

Three small and simple kindnesses portray this.

First, I was in the supermarket late one day on a quest for a baguette. I saw nearly everyone in there clutching one or more baguettes but couldn't find them anywhere. Finally, I walked up to a couple of women who had one baguette between them, and asked where i might find one. One woman replied that there were none left. I think i slumped my shoulders, thanked them and walked away. I was nearly past the check-out when i heard 'attende, attende, wait, wait' behind me. I looked around and found one of the women approaching and offering me their solitary baguette. I tried to refuse but she insisted. So kind.

Second, Isabelle had found a man at the artisan's market who agreed to drill several of her pearls for her, and was very happy with the price they had agreed on. When she returned next morning along with the pearls and a big smile, he also gave her a beautiful little bracelet that either him or his wife had made. It was a simple yet intricate weaving, with a cowrie shell for a clasp, and a vanilla seed pod woven into the band. He'd had it out all ready to give her.

Lastly, we had bought tickets to a big dance spectacular for our final night. While we were wandering outside the arena waiting for the pre-show announcements to finish, a group of four small, young girls approached us and asked if we would like to buy some kind of boiled potato type 'treat' they had many bags of in a plastic tub they were carrying. The eldest was wearing a t-shirt with 'Downunder, Australia' written on it. I think I scared them when I enthusiastically exclaimed that that was where we were from. They were so sweet. We would have liked to buy some of their treats but explained that we didn't have any money with us. It was a shame to let them down. They were so eager to sell us some.

We walked away a little ways when the littlest one ran up beside us and held out two 100 franc coins for us. They must have thought we were broke. We melted, but had to refuse. She ran back to her friends and we thanked them and continued on our way. We thought, 'that was so sweet. If only we had something to give them'. Then we remembered we had a packet of (half melted) tim tams in our bag so went back to find them. We told them they were so nice and offered them a tim tam each. We learnt their names, their ages 5,7,9 and 11 and that they were cousins. They still tried to offer us money and we had to work hard to stop coins being slipped into our pockets or bag. We all walked along a bit and then proceeded with a photo taking session. The girls enthusiastically wanting to view each photo after it was taken. Once, while they were all gathered around Isabelle, crouched down, looking at the photos, the youngest, Gilda, was more interested in Isabelle's hair and was fascinated, stroking it. It was the cutest thing.

Then they took us to play fuss-ball in the arcade with them, as their special guests using the money they had eared selling their treats.

After taking photo's of their names they'd artfully drawn in the sand, they finally got us to accept a bag of the 'treats', then did a quick exchange of coins amongst themselves to satisfy the accounting.

We arranged to come back next morning with some photos printed out for them. We met the eldset, Avearii and her cousin Jean-Louis, and also gave them some koala key rings, which had been a hit with locals.

When we got in our dinghy to depart, Avearii asked worriedly if that was what we were going to Australia in!
Vessel Name: Dagmar
Vessel Make/Model: CAL 39
Hailing Port: Melbourne, Australia
Crew: James Thomson and Isabelle Chigros-Fraser
Hello and welcome to our new sailing blog! Our dream is to sail across the Pacific Ocean this year starting in Costa Rica and finishing in Australia. [...]
As we have been told by fellow sailors, when you live at the mercy of the elements plans are like "Jello and Sand"- wobbly and unsteady like Jello (jelly for us aussies) and when you write something in the sand often it will be washed away with the tide. It is for this reason that we didn't finish [...]
'Twenty years from now you will be more dissapointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.' -Mark Twain
' I felt my pulse beating with suppressed excitement as I threw the mooring bouy overboard. It seemed as if that simple action had severed my connection with the life on the shore; that I had thereby cut adrift the ties of convention. The unrealities and illusions of cities and crowds, that I was free now, free to go where I chose, to do and to live and to conquer as I liked, to play the game wherin a man's qualities count for more than his appearance. 'Maurice Griffiths, The Magic of the Swatchways.