Papeete, in Tahiti, was our first stop in the Societies island group, after our 5-month cruise in the Tuamotus. It was mostly a technical stop to fix a few things onboard and get ship-shape for the last 5 or 6 weeks of the season . This post was written as we were getting ready to depart Papeete.
The day of departure arrived, and it turned out quite better than I was expecting. Over the last few days the forecast had been telling me that today might dawn overcast. It didn’t – good. It was right about the wind, though. Rather, lack thereof. No wind at all. We are floating on a swimming pool. But we have all accepted the prospect of a passage under engine for a change. We’ve sailed quite a bit this year already, and a concession for just one passage seemed fine.
So, it was all good to go. But we didn’t.
Since yesterday Paulo and I developed a sore throat, and while mine is still bearable, Paulo’s overwhelmed him, and he asked us to not leave today. Why would we then?
So, instead of unplugging our electrical cable and casting off our mooring lines, I came into the cabin and started writing instead.
For the last 15 days or so we have been here at the comfort of Marina Taina, just south of Papeete, in Tahiti, and whereas we feel the time to go cruising again has come, it seems that every day something new appears to keep us in port.
Being in Tahiti for two weeks already, interestingly if there is one thing that we have NOT done here yet, it is CRUISING. Our stay up to now has been rather “administrative”, and we have spent our time either busy, or enjoying the comforts of “life within civilization”.
Part of it was by design. Our main goal for coming to Tahiti was indeed to define our strategy for the Cyclone Season – a matter that proved impractical to be solved virtually by internet or email, and needed thus to be resolved in-loco. Indeed, upon arrival, we didn’t even connect Pesto to shorepower, continuing to use our solar panels to top up the batteries while on the dock. Our goal was to solve the Cyclone Season thing, accomplish a few administrative chores with internet, provision, and go.
But we had underestimated the toll of the previous 7 months of full-on cruising. On Pesto and on Us. A quite illustrative example of this is the fact that our Fridge stopped working literally – and I mean, REALLY literally – as soon as we tied Pesto at the dock. That was a Mission-Critical type of event, given that our Freezer was already inoperative, and had to be resolved pronto. We also needed to replace a valve on our head, which had been turning nasty. And our food lockers were in desperate need of reorganizing and cleaning – a colony of weasels having taken hold of parts of it and requiring a deliberate approach to be eradicated.
Our bodies were also craving for some comforts of “civilization” – and we relished with daily “real” showers, and especially with the access to Fresh Food. It felt like a privilege to have fresh papayas for breakfast, to be able to eat an orange anytime we felt like it, or to have mangoes for dessert anytime we fancied.
Finally, like Pesto, each of us had some kind of a small bodily breakdown after our arrival – Paulo and I with the sore throat, Raquel with a runny nose, and Adriana with a large pimple on her forehead which even yielded two visits to local doctors.
The fact is – Cruising is fantastic, but is also energy-and-resource-intensive, and we needed perhaps more respite than just a few days. And, as yet another thing kept us on dock for longer, we took advantage to add in a few more activities, thus pushing the departure even further.
Accordingly, after day 3 or 4 days on the solar panels, I finally gave in and connected Pesto to shorepower, covered her with awnings, switched on our air conditioning, and told the Marina Staff we would be staying for longer.
While we kept ourselves busy with the chores-du-jour, or splurging on fresh produce, we also took the time to enjoy what was around us. Here, we had the opportunity to see our friends from s/v Daybreak, whom we had met in Taiohae back in May and had not seen since. Paulo and Raquel spent long hours playing with their daughter, Lea. Pesto is tied right in front of a restaurant, and it has been quite a treat to jump on the dock after lunch, walk just a few steps to the restaurant, and enjoy a freshly brewed premium European expresso while watching our beloved home floating proudly in front of us. Not to mention our privileged seats on Saturday nights, when they often have excellent bands playing for their guests – and us. Finally, being located at the west coast of Tahiti, Marina Taina has direct, unobstructed views to Moorea and the sunset, which together compose quite an inspiring sight. We have made it a point to walk to the end of the dock and watch the spectacle every day at dusk. The mega-yacht scene has been another pastime – particularly for Paulo, who has spent hours walking their dock every day – watching the numerous crews polishing their multi-million-dollar toys over and over under the sparkling tropical sun.
Time is indeed up, however. To the West, spanning along 140 miles from here, lie the scenic islands of Moorea, Huahine, Tahaa, Raiatea and none-the-less Bora Bora, and we want to cruise them before we tie Pesto up at the dock definitely for the Cyclone Season. That gives us roughly 5 to 6 weeks for the cruise. While doable, it has a hard stop, and the sooner we leave the better. The longer we stay, the stronger the roots as well. So, we have to go.
But I also don’t like to push things too hard.
So, today we stay.
Maybe tomorrow we depart. For tomorrow is another day.