Zen - family cruising catamaran

Family of 4 sailing from New England to Auckland, New Zealand '08-'10

26 August 2010 | Portsmouth, Rhode Island
27 April 2010 | Rhode Island
05 April 2010 | Fort Lauderdale, FL
24 March 2010 | Portsmouth, RI
19 February 2010 | middle of Pacific Ocean
12 February 2010 | Waiheke Island, NZ
08 February 2010 | Auckland, New Zealand
30 January 2010 | Whangarei, New Zealand
26 January 2010 | Whangarei, New Zealand
22 January 2010 | Whangarei, New Zealand
20 January 2010 | Whangarei, New Zealand
17 January 2010 | Whangarei, New Zealand
14 January 2010 | Whangarei, New Zealand
08 January 2010 | Los Angeles, CA
07 January 2010 | Newark International Airport
27 December 2009 | Rhode Island, USA
10 December 2009 | New Delhi, India
02 December 2009 | South Island, NZ
13 November 2009 | Whangarei, New Zealand
10 November 2009 | Opua and Kerikeri, New Zealand

Taha'a Tours-Vanilla and Pearls

10 June 2009 | Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Marrying orchids and impregnating oysters. Sounds very Georgia O'Keefe, doesn't it? Alain Plantier (vanilla.tours@mail.pf or VHF 9) lives in, quite possibly, the most tranquil setting I've ever seen. His home, overlooking Bay Hurepiti on Taha'a, consists of multiple structures, each covered with hand-woven thatched roofs, one for living, another for sleeping, another for bathing, all surrounded by acres of beautiful mature landscaping, most of which you could consume. Twenty years ago, Alain, an avid sailor and botanist, opened his Vanilla Tour company, hosting between 4-10 guests at a time. His small round spectacles frame a gentle face and an encyclopedic mind, filled with facts he readily shares. Did you know that vanilla originated in Mexico, grows on vines, and in Polynesia, the vanilla orchids are pollinated by hand? True. One farm we visited hand pollinates 10,000 flowers per day. The French Polynesian vanilla has a unique scent...licorice. The aroma in the air as we toured the island, was intoxicating, not just with the vanilla, but the ylang-ylang, jasmine and of course, gardenias. It was a school field trip for all of us. Zen was the water shuttle for 6 other cruising friends from s/v Obsession and s/v Szel. The 10 of us tasted wild basil Alain picked from the side of the road that numbed our tongues and reminded us of the dentist's chair. We rubbed ourselves with lemongrass to keep the bugs away and discovered certain flowers in the hibiscus family, when used to clean our snorkel masks, will de-fog them like magic. It went on and on. Each bend in the road brought new facts and historical awareness. When I asked the kids, "What was the most interesting thing you learned today?", they responded with these answers: "It's so cool those flowers that are all over the place turn from yellow to red in one day and then fall from the tree." And..."I didn't know there are special bees in Mexico that automatically pollinate the vanilla orchids in that part of the world."

Did you know one pearl farmer could be cultivating and caring for over 100,000 oysters at a time? Monique and Bernard of Champon Perles (champonperles.com or champonb@mail.pf) opened our eyes to the extensive work, time and expertise needed to obtain the huge grade A black pearls they produce each year. The Champon family also did some global cruising with their family before settling on French Polynesia as their home on land. They ran a very successful boatyard in Ra'itea for many years and then, seeking less deadlines and stress, sold their business and opened a pearl farm on Taha'a. Monique showed us the grafting process from start to finish. Did you know the little round nucleus that is placed in each oyster comes from shells harvested in Mississippi? The Champon family sells wholesale and retail, but we had the pleasure of sitting in their living room, surrounded by art they collected from their global sailing adventures, to pick out a handful of beauties. Three special gifts arrived on Zen the next day from Monique and Bernard, 2 pearl necklaces for Cammi and Cole and a handcrafted pearl ring for one of our best friends who is battling childhood leukemia (and winning!). Yes, I cried.

More crying happened today while we sailed to Bora Bora. This is really private, but I gotta share. There were 3 big, dark rain squalls marching across the horizon as we cruised along under full main and jib . The wind was about 20 knots and coming from a better angle than we expected. I was relaxed and at the helm, my favorite place. Why the tears? Tommy turned on the radar and pulled out the binoculars while I was still having fun at the wheel. It's standard stuff, yes, but when the wind hit 35 knots and rain started pelting me sideways, Tom had already reefed the main and the jib. He was way ahead of the game and all that was left for us to do was to race Zen towards her paradise landfall at 11 knots and totally flat. I never give him random complements, today I did. I was very grateful for his foresight and preparedness, leaving me to have fun at the sport of sailing. He's always like that, but today, it seemed to hit me how lucky I am to have such a salty dog for a husband. We departed the Taravana Yacht Club, a sailor's haven, home to Cindy, possibly the best chef in French Polynesia, and run by Richard and his son, Maui (taravanayc@mail.pf or taravanayachtclub.com). It's a place we'd earmark as a "must return to" on our next cruise when the kids are in college. For now, we'll circumnavigate Bora Bora and start looking for weather windows for Aitutaki in the Cook Islands.
Vessel Name: Zen
Vessel Make/Model: Atlantic 48' catamaran
Hailing Port: Newport, RI
Crew: Tom, Monique and Kids
Tom, Monique, Cammi, and Cole. Tom is the CEO/Founder for a high-tech advertising firm, which he just sold to a large US media company, giving us the ability to set sail. [...]
Eight years ago, we sold our advertising company, and left terra firma on our monohull, "Uliad", for a family cruise. As soon as we returned to land, immediately we started planning our 2nd cruise. Here's the continuation of our journey, except this time the kids are active crew members, [...]
Home Page: http://www.sailblogs.com/member/zen/
Zen's Photos - s/v Zen - family cruising catamaran (Main)
New Zealand, Dockwise, and Florida
82 Photos
Created 14 January 2010
Bangkok, New Delhi, Rhode Island holidays and New Zealand
118 Photos
Created 27 December 2009
Australia & New Zealand
117 Photos
Created 3 November 2009
Tonga and New Zealand
102 Photos
Created 3 September 2009
Cook Islands, Samoa and Tonga
86 Photos
Created 9 August 2009
French Polynesia and Cook Islands
113 Photos
Created 28 July 2009
French Polynesia
49 Photos
Created 31 May 2009
Pacific Ocean Passage and French Polynesia
120 Photos
Created 19 May 2009
Panama City to Galapagos
81 Photos
Created 28 February 2009
Panama Canal, Costa Rica and Las Perlas
118 Photos
Created 28 January 2009
Cartagena, Panama, Puerto Rico/US, and Costa Rica
111 Photos
Created 30 December 2008
Autumn sailing
124 Photos
Created 13 September 2008
Where we are sailing in 2008/2009
1 Photo
Created 13 July 2008
Summertime '08
108 Photos
Created 1 July 2008
8 Photos
Created 31 May 2008
Delivery from Maine to Newport summer 2007
15 Photos
Created 27 April 2008
November 2007 - Tom, John and Scott
11 Photos
Created 27 April 2008
American Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands in 2007
358 Photos
Created 27 April 2008