Lemons to Lemonade
20 May 2017 | Pension Tiare Nui, Raiatea, French Polynesia
We arose early today, determined to make the most of the cooler morning temperatures to mount the main and jib, and perhaps get Conni up the mast so that she could attach the various masthead wind instruments.
We arrived early enough, and immediately got to work. We unpacked the jib, stretched it on the foredeck, and started hoisting. The jib stays on the forestay constantly and simply gets wrapped up like a window shade when not in use, but the first thing to do is get it pulled up the roller furl foil, the contoured tube that covers the forestay. I returned aft to hoist the sail and Conni guided and lubricated the loading process. All went well and we were done in an hour or so.
We went on the main, and the wind arose enough to make us cautious. Still, we used the same process and got the main up, too. The battens, thin, removable, pieces of fiberglass that provide shape to the sail and are mounted parallel to the boom, have begun to disintegrate in the UV, so I brought gloves to handle them. That process progressed well until Conni and I looked at each other and decided that enough was enough. 7 days without a break and we needed one, so we quit for the remainder of the day. It was a good decision.
We returned to the room, cooled down and rested, and returned to Uturoa for some boat grocery stocking since we move aboard on Monday night. We could have returned to the room, but we both decided to enjoy a trip through the countryside. We headed south on the “belt road” around the island, re-visiting places that we’ve seen a few times, now. We had a great time and were both glad that we’d called an end to the day’s toils. If we do depart on Tuesday, this might have been our only opportunity to take the lovely ride around the island, or at least down the eastern and southern parts.
Last night, we had made plans for dinner with another American couple that we met in the yard. They own a 47-foot French-made Beneteau, so it’s a nice, very well made, very fast boat. Her name is “French Curve”. Conni and I immediately asked, “Which one of you is the architect?” Mark, the male of the couple, surprised that we had guessed, confessed, and his wife, Sheryl, is an interior designer. By the way, a French curve is a lovely instrument for drawing curves, commonly used by architects. They’re from San Diego and are nice folks.
We had agreed that the Snack Mimosa, a nearby outdoor grill, was to be our meeting place, but when we arrived, they were not in sight. We ordered anyway, and had just begun to eat when they arrived, having mistakenly thought that we’d meet in the yard. Well, why don’t you order? They tried! Snack Mimosa was OUT OF FOOD! Holy smokes! A restaurant was out of food and we were eating the last meal that they had. Mark and Sheryl were not amused, so we quickly packed our meal and drove them to Pizza Napoli, the nice little pizza place at which we had dined a few nights before. Over pizza, salad, and draft Hinano, we enjoyed a fine evening together, talking about our lives, cruising, and our plans. Lucky for them, I had a key to the man door in the steel gate, because the key that they had been given did not work. I’ve gone over that fence on several occasions, but they didn’t seem the climbing type. We kept the first Snack Mimosa meal and enjoyed it tonight. Conni was able to re-crisp the fries and heated the chicken. Tasty!
Also news is tomorrow’s marriage between the manager of the Pension Tiare Nui, Raihau, and his betrothed, whom we have not met. He expects between 150-200 people since both families are large: family members are arriving from all over French Polynesia. Tonight (Samedi soir: Saturday night) they’re all busy erecting tables and placing chairs, inflating balloons for decoration, and all manner of French Polynesian practices. We’re both excited and honored to have been invited and bought them some small candies. We vacillated about the gift, concerned about giving too much or too little, either being undesirable. The happy couple is getting married at the municipal office, a typically French thing to do, then they’ll return and the party will begin. I’ll post photos on Sunday night, or that’s the plan. Personally, I’ve never seen a modern Polynesian wedding and I’m curious to see how it’s done. I’m also curious to see how we’re treated since we’re not family. Raihau says that there will be a lot of food, and many traditional Polynesian foods are a bit odd for American tastes. I can post a photo, but you’ll just have to believe me when I say, “nyet!”