Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Taking on crew

 We spent a few days anchored in Port Phaeton making sure the boat was ready for sea. On Monday the 8th, we set out for Papeete, a 30nm sail. 

As we motored out through Teputo Pass, it was odd to feel the motion of the sea for the first time since last July. After an hour or so, the wind had filled in from the starboard quarter and we were sailing nicely along, with the peaks of Tahiti Nui looming to starboard, and the gentler slopes of Tahiti Iti falling behind to port. Ahead we could begin to see clouds of mist rising from where the south swell was breaking on the barrier reef. In another couple of hours we rounded the point near Maraa.

As we headed up the west coast, we eventually reached the lee of the island, where the wind died and we had to motor the last 6 miles to Taapuna Pass. Once inside the pass, we were surrounded by speedboats, floating restaurants, outrigger canoes, and a forest of sailboats attached to mooring balls. Virtually all of these were local boats, some inhabited by young Europeans working ashore. As soon as we had picked up an empty mooring, a young Belgian woman dinghied over with a flyer for her "traditional Tahitian jewelry making course" - 55 Euros/hour!

The next morning, we were up at 0400 to meet our friend Cathy's plane. We dinghied ashore in the darkness, and hopped a bus to the airport. Our timing was perfect - as we approached the "arrivals" door, Cathy was the first one to emerge! She came bearing gifts - duty free rum and a replacement pump for our marine toilet, the housing of which had developed a crack during our long layup.

We spent another day in Papeete provisioning, doing errands, and showing Cathy a few sights, such as the public market, where you can find the best selection of fresh fish and produce, handicrafts, and tasty, inexpensive snacks. Vicki and I had poisson cru for $4 each, and Cathy got a small quiche for $3.50.

On Thursday (4/11), were ready to leave Papeete. We had hoped not to return, but our propane tank would not be filled until the following Wednesday, so nstead we planned a 5-day excursion to nearby Moorea. I had neglected to put together a gravity-fill hose for transferring propane from local cylinders into our incompatible North American cylinder, because it had been fairly easy to get our cylinders filled here last year. Only one of many things I had neglected to do during the past 9 months!

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