Safe arrival in Tahiti – July 5, 2007

Thursday, July 5th

We arrived safely in Papeete, Tahiti at about 2:00 p.m. today.
We are actually staying in a little lagoon just west of
Papeete,Lagon de Punaauia. To get there you have to navigate
through a 4 mile long channel that is bordered by a reef which
takes you right by the airport. You have to call the port
captain and ask for permission to cross the water in front of
the runway before you proceed. There are at least 100 boats
anchored here so it took us some time to find a spot and get
ourselves safely tucked away. We saw Intiaq but it was too
crowded near them to anchor. We heard several people calling on
the radio, and they were all boats we have seen and/or met in
other places on our trip, and all around us are familiar boats.
I guess this is one spot that no one can bypass if they do a
circumnavigation. Papeete is a big town (over 100,000 people)
and we hope to get a lot of work and shopping done – we also
hope we can see some of the festivities that are going on in
preparation for Bastille Day. Our passage here from Taou was 230
miles and took about 32 hours. It was a fast and windy passage.
One other boat, “Madam”, left the little bay in Taou at the
same time we did, and we established radio contact with them
during the trip. They are a French boat – owned by Katherine and
Bruno – who are on their second circumnavigation – their first
one being completed over a several year period, with breaks to
go home and work.

On our last day in Taou it was extremely windy and most of the
people in the harbor went into shore to hang out at Valentine
and Gaston’s guest-house. We had become friendly with pretty
much everyone there, and the afternoon turned out to be a very
fun informal party. Valentine likes to trade the black pearls
they harvest for goods from yachters, and she spent much of the
afternoon with all of us – letting us pick out a higher quality
pearl or two in exchange for goods such as rum or good kitchen
utensils, and lesser quality pearls in exchange for whatever the
heck we can come up with. We gave her a bottle of rum and some
of the other stuff they needed such as toilet paper, soap,
toothpaste and some super-glue. Valentine had Gaston drill a
little hole in the nicer of the pearls I got so I could wear it
right away as a necklace – a nice souvenir of our lovely time
spent in Taou. We were sorry we had to get ready to leave the
next day as we liked all the yachties who were there – and our
friends on Yara had just arrived. Gaston and Valentine are also
truly hospitable people. It is just incredible how welcoming
they are to all the boaters there. They are happy to accept
gifts, but they give a tremendous amount in return. As an
example I had asked Gaston if they had a small amount of
filleted fish that I could cook for dinner. At sunset Gaston
came out to the boat with about 3 pounds of beautifully cleaned
and filleted parrot-fish – and didn’t ask for a thing in return.
– although I did run below and grab a big bar of chocolate for
him. Parrot fish is not something I would normally want to eat
– the parrot fish are so beautiful, it doesn’t seem right, but
that is what they eat here. It was actually very delicious. It
was sad to leave Taou.