Saturday, April 21, 2012

Taiohae again

Back in the bay, there were more boats than before, so we decided to anchor over on the west side of the bay, which was the traditional cruiser's anchorage before the wharf was built, but is now used only by locals. We put out bow and stern anchors on a nice sand bottom, just outside the mooring field. Instead of dinghying to the concrete wall, we had to land on the beach, but it was fairly calm (more on that later), and we could safely stow the dinghy in the shade of some large trees.

For anyone arriving in French Polynesia by boat, the skipper must officially sign them off the crew list. When we got to the gendarmerie, we were 3rd in line, so the process took close to an hour. Here in the backwaters of French colonialism, the wheels, or rather, the rollers on the ancient fax machine and printer, turn slowly. We weren't complaining, however, as we got to wait inside an air-conditioned office.

Back on the boat, Joseph and Justin labored to cram all their worldly goods back into "carry-on" dimensions. I am still very impressed at how much they brought with them. Justin left us with his soggy and stained sleeping sheet, affectionately referred to as the "shroud of Hougham." Joseph left us a number of much appreciated gifts, such as a new solar shower. He also loaned Vicki his headlamp after hers went walkabout.

We went out for a final celebratory evening, starting with drinks at the Pearl resort, and dinner at Rose's Hee Tai restaurant. Justin and I missed out on the first part, as we had to pick up the keys to the rental car for tomorrow's drive to the airport. This was a bit of a comedy, as the agent was gone to Papeete, her son was nowhere in sight, and even the lone employee was gone. We found the key in the car, took it with us, wrote a note, and headed down the hill. At that point, the employee showed up. She was a bit shocked that we had taken the key without filling out the rental application, but we soon had put everything right, and drove back around the bay to meet Joseph and Vicki. Dinner was delicious, but getting back to the boat in the darkness proved challenging. The surf had come up during the afternoon, and Vicki got tossed into the drink by a rogue wave!

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