Thursday, September 1, 2011
Our crew is now safely on board and has experienced their first night crossing. Min and Nick are both eager learners and Bill and I are just as keen to teach them 'the ropes' (as it were!!). We stayed a few days at our moorage in Tahiti (both Bill and I appreciated the lack of stress of being tied up to a reputable marina's mooring buoy (I pronounce it 'boo-ee'... other's say 'boy' - is there really a correct pronunciation or is it like tomatoes??? Hmmm something to ponder on those long ocean crossing night watches)... then zipped over to Moorea - a lovely island that has all the beauty of Tahiti and only a fraction of the tourists. We loved it there and while the kids worked on their scuba diving qualifications Bill and I snorkelled watching them far below us. On that little sojourn Bill and I saw a clam whose opening had to be t least 2 feet long!! (I'm sure light refraction had nothing to do with that!)... we spent a few days of hitchhiking aroud the island; hiking from Cook's Bay back to our anchorage in Baie de Opunohu - a wonderful anchorage by way; and Min and doing some shopping (to Bill's relief I now had another eager shopping partner which let him off the hook!!) since Min had to take a break from diving as she had suffered an inner ear 'squeeze' during her first dive... and then felt it was time to head out again.
We decided to expose our new crew to their first overnight crossing to the island of Huahine our next stop on this journey of discovery in the French Polynesian islands as this would be a great way to expose them to that part of cruising. To set us all up for success in this initial crossing for Min and Nick I handed out one dose of Sturgeron (a terrific seasickness pill) to them and me a good 2 hours before our ETD (Bill happens to have a tummy made out of iron - lucky him!!!). I then decided to start the dough for a couple of loaves of bread as we thought we had not picked up our regular bagette that day (it turned out we not only had picked up a bagette one of us had snuck 2 extras into the quarter berth provision corner... oh well better a plethora of bread than none at all! With bread dough rising nicely in the 80 degree Farenheit galley we set course to the island of Huahine. It is about 60 nautical miles from Tahiti and is perfect to sail through the night to arrive in the morning so that the pass that we wanted to sail through the reef that surrounds Huahine would be very obvious (despite paper charts, electronic charts, navigation cans etc. one must always include excellent visual conditions for entering many of these passes... one can never be too cautious).
Now remember that dough that was rising in the galley? Well, once we were heading out from the lee of Moorea we realized just how big the seas and winds really would be that night (3 metre average swells with 25-30 knots of wind) - I made the wrong decision to go below and continue with the bread making... suffice to say that I did not have the opportunity to enjoy the results of my labour with the others... and Bill had to open a few cans of stew to go with it to keep the crew fed.
I did, however, thoroughly enjoy the starry, starry night during my watches by keeping my eyes glued on the Southern Cross (the constellation that has saved many a sailor from being lost in that huge ocean as a naviagation aid and that night saved me even more than my dose of Sturgeron!!!
Must go now and pick up some fresh produce from the market before they close... tomorrow we head off to the island of Raiteira - apprently considered the historical and cultural centre of all of the Polynesian Islands.
Talk with you soon!
Fair winds from