Quick visit to Hawaii

It’s kind of nice having a second home, especially one that’s in warm, sunny Hawaii – even if it has moldy carpets and leaky windows! The surprise was that when my friend Martin and I arrived at the boat (Sara had to stay home for work), our neighbor informed us that we had just missed four days of clouds and rain – but all of our time there was great, especially considering the bitter cold for Vancouver last week. We had a fun, relaxing few days (joined for some of it by another good friend) and managed some jobs around the boat, too, in between beers in the cockpit and exploring the island’s beaches. Almost too relaxing, as we nearly failed to do the main job: mailing the fuel injector pump off to be rebuilt!  After the difficulties of the last voyage (from New Zealand to Hawaii), it felt great to have some time on the boat to chill out and not have any imminent stresses.  No sailing (without a usable engine, I can’t easily get out of the marina), but plenty of exploring and socializing.  Too busy having fun to take many pictures, but here are a few: Continue reading “Quick visit to Hawaii”

A day out in Papeete, Tahiti

We’d been at Marina Taina on Tahiti since last Tuesday and, apart from a couple of trips to the giant Carrefour just down the road, hadn’t seen anything of the island. Saturday’s plan was to get to Papeete to try to find a replacement motor for the autopilot (which keeps failing on us) and to check in at the police station. Quite excited to be heading ‘off site’, we were up bright and early. Friday’s brunch on the boat with Janice had left us with some pancake batter to use up so Doug got to work making us breakfast, and we sat out on the deck with mugs of tea, ready to tuck in. One disgusting mouthful in, we realized something in the mix was as unaccustomed to the tropical heat as we are. Oh well, bananas and papaya it would have to be. We headed off out into the already burning sunshine, returning once for the water bottle and a second time for the camera with photos of the motor and parts we needed. We were already getting sick of our day out and it was still only 8.30am.

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Raivavae

IMG_20130809_063608After the drama of the anchor dragging we settled into an amazing week on the island of Raivavae, a place I’d never even heard of which suddenly became home to us. Mostly we were working on the engine or trying to do other boat jobs to prepare to set sail so we didn’t see the stuff tourists go for – beautiful beaches off out by the reef, mountain walks with incredible views, diving, snorkelling, canoeing. Apparently that’s what tourists do anyway, when tourists visit. Chez Linda, the attractive pension run by the lovely Linda and John, where John and Deb were staying, organized all that kind of thing, along with lending bikes and cooking delicious meals. In the time we were there, though, I think only two other couples arrived. Interestingly there was a lot of local opposition to the airport being built thirteen years ago and you still get the feeling that, despite being welcoming and friendly, this is an island that is quite happy to not be inundated with visitors.

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Above all else, it’s the Wind…

Everyone talks about the wind here in Rapa. There are few places one can go to get away from it. Today a few of us went on a walk into a valley facing west, looking out onto the “Pacific” (anything but pacified around Rapa) towards New Zealand – a world of experiences away now, even though we departed less than 2 months ago. Walking in a stream in this valley, I suddenly became aware that the sound of the wind was not with us. That ever constant, gale-force roaring had dissipated and I could hear only the gurgling of water pouring down its rocky bed.
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Feasts and friendliness – post by Deb

rapa5The island of Rapa is ruggedly beautiful with jagged green peaks surrounding a large bay.  Atop the ridges are the remains of twelve ancient forts built by the old tribes of Rapa, who according to legend, were fierce warriors who waged constant war against one other.  George Vancouver, the first European to “discover” the island in 1791 (small world), estimated that there were about 2,000 inhabitants at the time.  After the missionaries arrived in the mid nineteenth century with their western diseases, the population plummeted to a few hundred.  Today, there are 500 residents who pretty much live off the bounty of the land.   Continue reading “Feasts and friendliness – post by Deb”

Landfall – post by John

June 22 2013 we made landfall, on the French Polynesian island called Rapa Iti. It is a very small island. Looking at a map of the polynesian islands it is west and south, on the bottom right hand corner. The next islands over are Pitcairn and Easter. In fact, the original name for Easter Island is Rapa Nui. Nui means large and Iti means small.

This island has stone structures too. It is shaped like a letter C, with a harbour on the east side. The island is volcanic of course, and the tall mountains are carved with weather erosion, creating jagged peaks, even sharper and more dramatic than on the Napali trail in Kauai or in the western fjords of the south island of New Zealand. As you enter the harbour you see on the very tips of the jagged peaks, stone forts shaped like bee hives. Pa, they are called, and they are built on a peak for self defence. There are twelve of these, and many years ago they were built and used by each of the twelve families that lived here. Warfare was evidently common, and these forts were necessary for protection. Continue reading “Landfall – post by John”

A good test in patience – post by Janice

“So… when are you leaving?” It’s the question we’d all like to be able to answer accurately, but invariably unexpected problems and uncooperative weather continue to make liars of us all. In the last few weeks, we’ve been traipsing about the Hauraki Gulf of northern New Zealand, sailing when wind and weather have been decent, and hiding out at various anchorages on the days between, fixing up the boat.

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Exploring the Hauraki Gulf – post by Deb

WildlifeWe’ve spent the last three weeks sailing around the Hauraki Gulf, just off the coast from Auckland.  We visited several islands, doing day hikes and enjoying the diverse birdlife (from little blue penguins to songbirds).  One of the islands, Tiritiri, was reverted to its natural state through years of volunteer effort eradicating non-native species and replanting over 280,000 indigenous trees. Continue reading “Exploring the Hauraki Gulf – post by Deb”

Lists and Lights: Stepping away from the computer

The many lists
Some of the many lists

It’s been a week of list making (using FreePlane mindmapping): research to do, equipment to buy, boat jobs to plan, admin to complete before leaving town, things around the house that Sara needs to know about (she has, to my knowledge, never watered the plants, for example, and has little idea of my elaborate schemes to encourage maximum light and growth)…  and my favourite lists: places to revisit and people to hang out with before I leave.

After days of computer work (mainly related to insurance, equipment purchases and scheduling boat work) the more personal, Vancouver-based lists were calling. They also fit in nicely with our current ‘Operation Love Vancouver’ mission: an attempt to make the most of this stunning place and stop complaining about the weather, traffic/transit, and how outrageously expensive it is. It definitely worked this weekend.  Despite grey skies and rain, we had some fun adventures – a good reminder that acting like you’re on holiday when at home helps you see a place with different eyes.  Here’s some of what we saw: Continue reading “Lists and Lights: Stepping away from the computer”