Ken and Missy, French Polynesia
18 November 2018
Ken and Missy are not immune for being blogged about, none of our guests are. We are so fortunate to have family and friends visit us and Ken and Missy have won the frequent stayer award. They sailed with us from Guadeloupe, Dominica, to Martinique in 2016. Their next visit was Barbados for Missy's birthday, 2016. We hung out for the Panama Canal crossing but they were on Skabenga. We fortunately had seven visitors from Milwaukee who were sprinkled on both boats, a great time. This visit was again a birthday cruise for Missy in French Polynesia. Let me say right now, we sure hope they come again soon!
This is a long way from Milwaukee. K and M stayed for nearly two weeks and it sure went by quickly. But that time gave us some latitude in destinations. Tahiti is the major airport but not the most beautiful spot in FP. We quickly sailed 100 miles to Huahine, an island much recommended but one Lisa and I had not visited before. We sailed a night passage to save time. Lisa and I also prefer night passages as we have plenty of light for anchoring the next morning. Well, it wasn't the smoothest passage. Waves weren't that big but quite confused. The motion was uncomfortable.
We were towing our new dinghy as we expected smoother seas. Instead, the dinghy often surfed right up to Uproar and snapped at the painter when Uproar surged ahead. Not ideal! At about 6:00 am Ken came up from off watch. He looked back and said, “The dinghy sure is far behind.” Sure enough the line had snapped. We had a difficult time grabbing and re-tying the painter but accomplished this with Ken driving and Lisa and me working on the swim platform. We tied the painter to the bow handle.
It wasn't more than an hour later when another surge snapped the bow handle off the dinghy. Our recovery went more smoothly, we had some practice. Bad dinghy! Or bad parents. We knew better than to tow it on overnight passages. We usually (and from now on will) put the dink on deck for longer passages. We hadn't named our new dinghy but Ken readily came up with a name for our escaping dinghy, “Houdinky.” Houdinky it is!
I am certainly capable of writing far more than the reader will endure about our weeks with K and M. Huahine is a beautiful, sleepy island. As we experience everywhere in French Polynesia, the people are most welcoming and more. We stopped to listen to a group of about 10 people having a few beers and playing some music. One guy just handed a beer to me and invited us to sit down. Ken grabbed the Congo drum, I played a little on the locally made ukulele and we sang “My Island Home.” I sang the English verses and Mana sang the Polynesian. It was a magic time with welcoming friends.
Entering the harbor, we were just in time for an outrigger canoe race. There were as many spectator boats as in Bermuda for the America's Cup. We hung outside the harbor and watched the start of a grueling paddle to Raiatea. Most of the boats followed the fleet the 12 miles to Raiatea.
We swam, snorkled, rode bikes, rented a car and just soaked in this paradise. Next was a sail 85 miles back to Moorea. This was a night passage much less exciting than the ride out. Moorea is another FP gem. The anchorage is right near where we spotted whales, swam with and fed sting rays, saw numerous sharks and excellent snorkeling. We rented scooters, saw the sights, and had great pizza with a waterfront view.
Missy's birthday started with 10 other cruisers joining us for pot luck appetizers and drinks on the beach. We ended up on Uproar for more drinks and craziness. The traditional midnight, naked swim was tempered by the numerous sharks in the anchorage. Oh well, next time. Happy Birthday Missy!
We picked a beautiful day for the sail back to Tahiti. It was an 18 mile beat and Uproar loved it. Ken brought some Eclipse with him. We spotted another performance cruiser, about our size who left the anchorage ½ hour before us. Ken reeled him in and we passed him well to weather. In spite of the adverse current, we rounded the island in one tack. Ken was challenged to sail high enough to clear the beach. He did.
Back in Tahiti, we enjoyed a Tahitian dance show at the Intercontinental. Civilization has its merits. We rented a Jeep Wrangler with heavy duty suspension and drove the treacherous route across the mountains. Vistas were well worth it as was the mountain lake where we had a picnic lunch. The driving was a challenge Ken and I shared. It would have been exhausting for one driver to make the entire trip.
Lisa and I gave shell necklaces to Ken and Missy just before their flight home. Tahitian tradition is that if you leave with shell necklaces, you will certainly return. Nana (Tahitian for goodbye) until next time. Uproar sure feels empty now. Whose next?