Friday, October 4, 2013

And We're Off Again...

CT here. 

Just a Moment's just about to start its dance up to Hawaii, via the Tuamotos.  Setting off tomorrow. 

With Jess and Boat Dog safely tucked away in the States, CT picked up two crew and is off on another bumpy ride.

Fair winds.  And stuff.

Oh yeah, here's some fuel:


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Bora Bora: Fifty Shades of Blue

Bora Bora -- check this out.


This has been the most visually striking place we've been in the south pacific.  I didn't know so many shades of blue existed!  We had an amazing three weeks here, cruising around to different white sand anchorages, sipping cocktails at the yacht club, and getting a visit from my girls CB and JZ!!  Here's the rundown in photos.

Just a few of the spectacular anchorages within the lagoon.






Girl time!  A huge thanks to my girlfriends Courtney and Jeanine for making the long journey out to the middle of the Pacific Ocean to keep me company in paradise. 






My favorite motu anchorage was just off a huge sandbar.  We let out the anchor chain and backed the boat up slowly... just enough so that we could hop off the back and stand in the waist-high water and drink a beer.  The sandbar is where the water gets lighter... you can see Conor standing on it, just before Lena jumped off the boat and swam out to him.



When not anchored out off the beaches and motus, we spent our time at the hip "Bora Bora Yacht Club."  We had a front row mooring ball - which made hopping ashore for steak frites and Bordeaux soooo easy.

 
And lastly, some of our best moments in Bora Bora were spent under the water.  We snorkeled with sharks and stingrays and eels and hoardes of fish.  And went scuba diving with giant manta rays (though no photos that deep!). 






Bora Bora was our final stop in the French Polynesia... and we definitely saved the best for last!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

More Moorea!

I know, it's been waaaay too long since the last post.

So after Papeete we spent about 10 days in neighboring island Mo'orea.  We stayed longer than expected because a gale blew through and we didn't want to make the trip westward to Bora Bora in nasty weather.  Fortunately for us, our anchorage was completely sheltered from the windy conditions and so we had a little paradise to enjoy while the waiting for the weather to improve.

And since we are nearing the end of our time here in the French Polynesia, I am not going to spend too much time writing about it, because I want to try and enjoy every minute I have left.  Pictures say a thousand words right?  If so, below are 21,000 words about Mo'orea.

On the way out of the Papeete harbor, a happy-go-lucky outrigger canoe racing team used our boat to draft behind us in the channel.  It was a great send-off from Tahiti.


The anchorage in Mo'orea was perfect.  Bright turquoise water where you could see the bottom and watch the fish swimming underneath the boat.  The dark spots are tiny coral heads - fun for snorkeling, not so fun for trying to pick up your anchor!

 

Lena enjoyed watching the fish off the side of the boat. :)


Here's the resident spotted eagle ray that kept swimming around beneath boat -- it was like floating on top of an aquarium -- unreal.


Obviously I had to take advantage of this gorgeous location to blow up my green floaty tube and drink a beer while bobbing around with the sea creatures.  Max, our boat-guest, was also our pinch-diver on this trip - whenever we dropped anything off the side of the boat (bbq tongs, towels, screwdrivers) - he'd spot it on the bottom and swim down to get it.  Thank you Max!


We visited the shrimp farm in Opunohu Bay and got a kilo of fresh shrimp, which we turned into an amazing moonlight dinner on the boat.


We also bravely navigated the dinghy through a coral reef to visit a nearby resort, where we stuffed our faces at the buffet and were able to watch more traditional dancing.


Here we are setting off for the "fun" ride back from the resort to the boat, where we had to navigate the tiny path through the coral reef with flashlights.


Stingrays!!  We took the dinghy out to a small sandbar where stingrays like to hang out in about 4 feet of water.  Jumped in the water with cans of sardines... and voila!  Stingray city!


 
Conor was the only one who really got the knack of feeding the little guys.  Here's a shot of him holding out the sardine and the stingray swimming up to eat it out of his hand.  Fortunately they don't have teeth.



And the stringrays weren't the only ones looking for handouts.  Black tip reef sharks joined in the fun.  To think I used to be afraid of sharks!!  Three months in the French Polynesia cured that!

 


Had amazing food at a little beachside restaurant -- where I ordered (again) "poisson cru avec frites."  I really need to get the recipe for poisson cru or I'm going to go through withdrawals when I get back to the states.



Other activities included renting a Vespa and scooting around the island, riding up to the top of the volcanic peaks, and checking up on the boat from a waterside table (you can see the boat way off in the distance...).




 And of course, there were daily snorkeling outings around the coral near the boat.



After Mo'orea we sailed to Bora Bora, where Conor flew home for a wedding and I stayed on the boat with the doggie.  And - I was lucky enough to get a visit from Courtney and Jeanine!!  More on "girls weekend" and other amazing-ness on Bora Bora coming up next.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Tahiti and The Big City

We just spent two weeks in the city of Papeete, Tahiti.  It was an experience.  Though not the "Tahiti" that we imagined from the shores of Mexico oh so long ago. 

Papeete is a port town, with tankers and ferries galore, "the big smoke" as our aussie friends like to say.  But after three months of being out at anchor in the remote islands of French Polynesia, we actually were glad to to dock the boat somewhere instead of anchoring, have potable water hookups(!), and be able to step off the boat, walk down the street, and pick up chinese take-out for dinner.  We snagged a spot at the yacht quay right in the heart of downtown Papeete.


The yacht quay also happens to be right next to the main wharf where the "superyachts" hang out in town.  These are some serious boats.  A famous yacht named "A" was in port for most of our stay and made a great background for sipping sunset drinks and wearing fancy pearls. 


Our stay in Papeete coincided with "Heiva" - which is an annual celebration of traditional Polynesian culture.  So we were treated to singing and dance competitions just a block away, outrigger canoe races right on our doorstep, and a fun day of traditional sporting events which included -- no joke -- coconut husking, rock carrying, and spear throwing.
 





We also stopped at a roadside cafe on the south coast of Tahiti, to watch the big surf that had rolled in from New Zealand.






On Sunday morning, at 5:30am (!), we stumbled out of bed and wandered in the dark over to the outdoor marketplace in the center of town.  It seems like the entire city of Papeete wakes up before dawn on Sundays to stock up on fish, fresh produce, and baguettes for the week.





And at night, every night, a congregation of food trucks (so LA!) appears on the plaza just a 5 minute walk from the dock.  Poisson cru (raw fish marinated in coconut milk), steak frites (no explanation needed), and chao men (chow mein) are served up in massive portions, while five old guys play ukuleles and sing in the corner.  Unlike LA, the food trucks actually provide plastic tables, waitstaff, and menus!   (Apologies to our friend Max, who happens to be closing his eyes in the only picture we took of the food trucks.)




And after you've gorged yourself, there's always room for one more food truck -- the dessert crepes. 



And last but certainly not least -- the most exciting thing that happened in Papeete -- Lena became street legal!!!!! 

That's right, she got her official French Polynesia permit -- a feat that most people told me was impossible before we came here.  After a horrendous amount of paperwork and three veterinarians visiting the boat - we managed to convince the local government that she does not have rabies.  :)  She is now (legally) allowed to run up and down the beaches all over the French Polynesia.  In Papeete of course, there being no nice beach, we took her to the nearby gardens to celebrate.  She was, um, pretty excited, as you can see.




 Now, while all this was fun, the real reason we stayed in Papeete so long was to work on fixing up everything that had ripped, cracked or broken on the boat since Mexico.  We accomplished about 80% of the list, and then decided it was time to hit the beaches again.  With CT's friend Max in tow, we sailed over to nearby Moorea.  Which is where we are now, and which almost brings the blog up to speed.  So, with that accomplished, I need to go make a pineapple, rum, and coconut beverage...