Beautiful Opunohu Bay, Moorea
07 July 2010 | Moorea, French Polynesia
The mountain, standing a little over one thousand feet, starts just behind the sandy beach, which is only a few hundred metres away, across clear green and turquoise water. Sandy bottom, clearly visible twenty feet down. We are in Opunohu Bay, Moorea, only a short day sail downwind from Tahiti, which we left yesterday. ... Time and place.
This place is beautiful. The volcanic rock forms appear to be unclimbable to all but the craziest. The little rag of cloud clings to the biggest rock pyramid as though it owns it. The green growth everywhere - call it jungle - is as Cook (or Gaugin) would have seen it, virgin forest, completely wild, not one house or transmission tower. Around the flattened rim of the island lie settlements, a road with cars, beaches, a reef.
Time for a rest, it would seem. We rose early today, at 5:30, to download weather files and prepare the weather forecast for our Polynesian Breakfast net, which begins at 7:30 am. This is my first go at being a weatherman, and I am very interested in gaining a better understanding of it - seeing we will be skimming the earth's surface for at least 3,000 nautical miles, right IN the weather, some of it likely to be very challenging. Best to know what is coming up, and what to do about it; I will be a seaman by the time I reach Australia, I reckon. Adrienne too. She is very interested in the art of weather forecasting, so we study, read and talk about it a lot.
Yesterday we sailed here, genoa fullshaped and pulling, in 19 knots of wind on the quarter (that's the back corner of the boat, mate) with the motor going, to charge the batteries and push us along, getting here in about 4 hours, enjoying the sail. I played ukulele in the cockpit some of the time, working on a new key for the very pretty song "Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?" - which today I have written an entire new lyric for - called "Do You Know What It Means To Live On Rice And Beans?" I have worked out some very sweet and complex chords for this song, I am happy to say.
Yachts shine white in the sunshine, the scenery is as stunning as it gets, the air temperature perfect for a man in the shade in his underpants, and I can hear the childish piping of a recorder coming from one of the kids on Kamiya, anchored just upwind of Bluebottle.
Our crew, Jack, left us in Tahiti; he has found some part-time work, and finds fruit on trees and shoes in dumpsters, and people willing to house and feed him. From six years riding freight trains all over the US, sleeping wherever he can, Jack has a great fund of stories, exudes confidence and falls on his feet every time. We enjoyed his company. Fare well, Jack!
It has rained a lakeload in the last week, but today it is fine, and the breeze is benign, the sea inside the sheltering reef calm. We feel relaxed and happy, only hoping someone in the family reads this and relays it to everyone back home; I'm only kidding, that's not necessary.