17:35S, 149:37 W

Richard and Rachel Caswell
Wed 1 Jul 2009 19:03
Papeete. Tahiti.
We've been here for a week already and no idea where the time goes, but it's flying past us, as we cruise into July ! Have caught up with lots of other boaties, some we haven't seen since Panama,  which fill our social calendar to the brim with evenings of sailing tales and big lies about fish that have taken many lures. Can contribute to a few of those as well ! When the reel starts to take off, we now know whether we're going to have a go and try and bring the fishy in or just wait for it to break, all depending on how much is being reeled off at the time.  One time we just both looked at each other and said together - "that's way too big a fish", so just waited till the 1.5 mm chaser broke, which didn't take long at all.  They seem to be very big tuna or sharks when you don't see them jump, otherwise they're Mahi-Mahi or bill fish.  Still the occasional whale spout out there and small pods of dolphins too. Also some very large cauliflower-type jellyfish, must be an oceanic variety, but at night time they glow phosphorous when the boat wake touches them, making a circle of glow highlighted against the dark sea.  Very pretty indeed, and helps the night watch go fast.
Had very calm seas and light winds too, so hopefully this'll continue - fingers crossed.
Have explored the bustling city of Papeete, very friendly people, and good French roads and services. There's a supermarket nearby where you can oggle at all the variety of foods from france, USA and NZ !
Butter in the fridge is 395 PF a lb / 500 gms,  120 PFs roughly being $1 USD, or $2 NZ. But it's cheaper to buy it canned at only 310 PFs. Baguettes are 50 PFs, so we eat loads of those, and have seen NZ brands of breads, frozen. The lamb chops (PPSC) 2.5 KG a bag was just under 2,000 PFs or $34 NZ !! Dined on a few of those.....A whole frozen sheep is only 4,600 PFs. !!! Great for putting on the BBQ...saw a trolley with 5 of them in, so the locals must be having a Barbie somewhere.
1 dozen eggs 353 PFs = $5.90 NZ, which seems expensive compared to the US, where they'd be half that price. 1 Kg of sugar is 100 PFs, and a 2 Kg bag of NZ washed potatoes is 220 PFs. Just to give you an idea. The shop is close enough so you can bring the trolley back to the dinghy dock, which makes filling it up easier, therefore getting more stuff in ! So we walk out after paying on the visa doing the conversion and going yikes, but all necessary items of course ! Filled up our 20 lb / 10 Kg propane cooking gas tanks, which cost 4,500 PFs for two, that's $37.50 NZ each ! Thought that's expensive too....but then no idea how much it costs in NZ these days for some of this stuff....
Sea temperature is still quite high at 32 C, water is very clear, and we snorkel out near the reef, but there's not a lot of fish or coral around. Did snorkel off the end of the runway, as we're so close to it, they've placed some old wrecks there along with a small cessna plane, which makes for something different to look at.
Will head off to Moorea in the next few days, that's only a 15 mile hop, and can be seen from where we are with the jagged outline of the mountains. Weather window looks good.....

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