Bad weather. Not
sailors' bad weather: force eight, triple reefs, water everywhere and worried
crew. But holiday makers' bad weather: total overcast, poor visibility, rain in
the air, intermittent squalls and popply water even anchored inside the
reef. We were due to leave today but no-one is going anywhere until these
twenty-five to thirty knot winds die down. I woke up at 3 o'clock last
night thinking I could hear voices. I hurried on deck but it was the sound
of the first heavy squall coming across the water. We had shifted position
during the evening and had not tested the anchor in the new spot so I was up for
ninety minutes, clad only in oilskin jacket and deck shoes, making sure we were
There are minor
dramas being reported on the radio. One boat was dragging its anchor.
While the crew was motoring forward to sort that out their dinghy flipped
over and the outboard, borrowed from another boat in the anchorage, fell off and
is lying on the bottom. The German owner of the outboard sounds remarkably
sanguine. A real gent.
parts arrived from Scotland and after some struggle and a bit of help from a
strong(er) armed friend we knocked out the corroded and broken bits and fitted
the new. It now works better than at any time in our ownership; nice and smooth
running and with a fair lead for the chain. The anchor woman is over the moon.
The new computer
is happy running the charts. The more we see of other electronic charting
systems the more pleased we are with ours.
With so much
time spent in the comfort of a large port we have been taking stock. The
nature and scope of the adventure has really struck home although to our
surprise things often seem rather mundane. Papeete could easily be a town in
southern France and even some of the more remote and exotic locations we have
visited appear at the same time rooted firmly in the "real" world. We have
come across no bare breasted maidens in grass skirts on Tahiti. However,
are there still local girls ready to entertain handsome young sailors? You
may think so; we couldn't possibly comment!
the Panama canal were fascinating and the Galapagos were worth the effort on
their own. But there are only a limited number of genuine tourist
attractions in the world and a whole lot of tourists wanting to see them and a
whole lot of tourist destinations keen to provide entertainment. So quite
a few attractions have to be dreamt up by the locals. A few days ago we
took a guided tour. The bus driver/guide was interesting and we would have
missed out had we not had the chance to see the other side of the island, but
the things we were invited to wonder at were really not very wonderful. A
small cave; a small blow-hole; the Gaugin museum has not got a single original,
nor had the rather nicer museum on Hiva-Oa. We consider ourselves very
fortunate to be in a position to do our trip by small boat. Our little
excursions into bays, villages and small supermarkets, however ordinary, are a
genuine round the world experience. We have also benefited enormously from
the friendships developed on route and the low-key camaraderie among the
cruising fraternity (and sorority).
When the weather
improves we plan to visit Moorea where South Pacific was filmed, only ten miles
away. There we shall be looking out for suave French planters and crowds of
sailors in white caps and bell bottoms declaring in unison that “there ain't
nothing like a dame”! Then it's Bora-Bora, said by some to be the most
beautiful island in the world, and Rarotonga in the Cook Islands. In the
meantime we are spending happy hours planning our all too short trip back to
Europe after Christmas.