Last Night On a Boat
03 July 2018 | Apooiti Bay, Raiatea, French Polynesia
We had a great and relaxed time in the various bays on Taha'a, staying for several days in Tapuamu, and a single night in Ha'amene Bay, hanging on a mooring at the Hibiscus Hotel.
The owner of the Hibiscus, Leo, is in his 80s and had open heart surgery last year (he shows his scar with pride) and we were fearful that he had served his last drink, but he was fine. Many years ago, he immigrated from Germany, so speaks German, English, French, and Polynesian. We're glad for that English! He's a very kind man and gave us both hugs and the wonderful French double cheek kisses. He made Conni's kiss a bit nicer.
His speciality is "lagoon fish", so when he asked for a meal, he asked what we wanted and we agreed on that, along with all the trimmings. We went back to boat and had a bit of cocktail hour, then motored back in a calm and beautiful night to the Hibiscus. After the Maitai's arrived, and he makes a mean one, we enjoyed the ambiance of a true sailor's bar, with burgees from all over the world. Dinner was the lovely salad, and then the main course: some kind of whole grilled fish with a jaw full of mean-looking teeth. I'll post photos. It wasn't a Parrot Fish, a coral-eater, for sure, and the scales were gone so we couldn't determine the original color. The server knew only the local name, so no help there. With some mix of excellent local greens, slabs of taro and arrowroot, and some homemade mayonnaise that went well with the fish, it was a wonderful, healthy, and traditional meal. Leo's Taha'a-born wife, Lolita, has influenced his cooking.
The calm night lasted from our return to the boat until 0600, when the wind picked up. We moved as quickly as we could, knowing what heinous conditions existed on that windward side of the island. Getting the motor off the dinghy was challenging, but we managed. Engine on, we motored to the bay's entrance and deployed a hanky of jib, and we motor-sailed to Apooiti.
The reason for this blog's title is that we have made arrangements for Wings to be plucked from the water tomorrow morning. We still have days worth of decommissioning to do, but much of that time we'll spend the nights in our Pension Tiare Nui. Transport will be via Fiat Panda rather than by water. We take the plane to Papeete on the morning of 13 July, then fly from the country on that evening. Our leg is close to done and as usual, it's a bitter-sweet experience.
The weather has been heavy weather, unremittingly. There was a 25-knot wind in the lagoon as we sailed over to Raiatea from Taha'a this morning. Sheesh! On the other hand, we did get a shower at the marina: an altogether good thing.