Papeete Welcome

David & Valerie Allen
Sat 19 Jun 2010 18:29
17:35.19 S     149:36.95 W

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Since we have joined the rally, everyone has mixed us up with ASPEN.  Our boat names are the same length and have nearly the same configuration of letters.  We are also both North Americans.  Today we REALLY confused everyone by sailing from the Marina Taina aboard ASPEN along with Steve and Maria!  When we arrived at the QUAI DES YACHTS in Papeete it was the first time I felt we were really part of a rally.  Up until now we have never been together on one pier.  With all the yachts dressed in their signal flags and everyone hopping from boat to boat to visit each other we felt like a cohesive group.  What a wonderful feeling!  

Quai des Yachts, Papeete

We wandered about chatting all morning after we checked in at customs and immigration and just enjoyed the sunshine.  Incredibly, we had lunch at the local McDonalds!  After lunch we joined the rally at the quai by the Visitors' Centre for coconut splitting competitions and sailing expeditions.  Some sailed aboard an  outrigger canoe.  Others tried paddling (with an experienced canoeist, of course.  The locals can paddle faster than ANGEL can motor through the channels!

Some of us took the lazy type of canoeing.....

...while others were more intrepid.  This is "Hakim's" crew dressing for the occasion and paddling with great energy (at the dock).  We really did have a great time.

Later in the afternoon, we all dressed up for a special reception at la mairie (the town hall).  A local band led the way through the rush hour streets of Papeete and we partied our way behind them.

Unfortunately this photo does not do justice to the beautiful ornate mairie.  Beer and nibbles were served on the lawn before we entered the reception hall.

Inside was a fabulous spread of sandwiches, pastries and even some local wine (not recommended).  We didn't have to worry about cooking that night!  Before we were allowed near the buffet tables, there was a special presntation by the local VIPs to each boat of a shell engraved with the emblem from the flag of French Polynesia, "Blue Water Rally 2010" and our names and boat names.  Unfortunately, Richard also forgot that we were Canadians and announced that we were part of the American contingent!

Next was an amazing display of local dancers.  I can't believe they can sway those hips while couched in a squat position.  It would be fantastic to have a few lessons.