19 Jul Papeete, Tahiti, Illes de la Societe – Thursday, 05 July to Wednesday, 19 July 2001
We make the 24 hour passage to Papeete, leaving Tikehau at 0900 on Thursday and entering the lagoon at Papeete at 0830 on Friday. We moor at Marina Taina in the Maeva Beach area south of the airport. Later in the morning we go into Papeete and Don checks Starr into Tahiti with the Harbor Master and then Don, Pete, Cathy and I mess around town for the afternoon. We eat lunch at the Papeete Market. On Friday night we all enjoy one of the dance competitions for the Hivea Tahiti Festival and on Saturday morning we go out in the Novurania and watch the start of the canoe race around Moorea. We end up following the chase boat for the Ua Pou crew (our friends from the Marquesas) part way to Moorea before we turn around and head back to Starr. Pete and Cathy leave on Saturday night.
While we are in Tahiti we are fortunate to be able to see our friends from Ua Pou in the Marquesas and Kauehi in the Tuamotu.: Rataro from Ua Pou and his wife, Tania, Vaehei their daughter and Teaki their son come to Starr to visit. Edward and Rosina from Kaeuhi come to the boat to say hello the day we arrive. Edward notices that we need a pasarol to get on and off the stern of the boat and returns later in the afternoon with one already constructed out of new lumber (lumber is very expensive here in Tahiti). We go to church with Edward and Rosina on Sunday morning and then they take us for a drive around the island. Rosina is a sweetheart, but she doesn’t speak much English and I don’t speak much French. I ride in the cab of the truck with her and we both run out of things to say to one another about a third of the way around the island. We resort to pictionary; I have a map and I point at places on the map and Rosina indicates yes or no or points to the proper location. It is a long drive; we meet Rosina’s Tahitian family in Papenu on the way around the island see where she grew up. I also see where my Tahitian neighbor back home, Manio (Reid/Tahutini) Radford, grew up in Paea.
While we are in Papeete we also spend time with many of the friends that we have met along the way: we become friends with Jim and Jo Wallace on the 65′ Nordhaven, Atlas (from Cairns, Australia/ we met them in Fakarava); meet Dave Bridges’ family, wife Gail and daughters Tracy and Laurie, from Blue Yonder (from Virginia/we met Dave in Fakarava); spend more time with the family from The Wonder Years, Olle, Karin and children Olle, Jr and Nils Ljungdahl (from Sweden/we met them in Hakahau and saw them again in Fakarava); and mess around with Cabot and Heidi Lyman from Chewink (from Maine/we met them in Kauehi).
We also run into some people from out past life when we put on Superyacht Northwest in Seattle. Ron Holland is cruising on his beautiful sailboat Golden Opus and is docked right next to us in Marina Taina. Ron lives in Ireland, but was originally from New Zealand and we first met him in Nice, France. It’s a small world.
Most yachties told us that we wouldn’t want to spend much time in Papeete, that we would just want to provision and move on as quickly as possible. On the contrary, I really liked Papeete with its bustling waterfront and urban energy. It still had some old buildings and felt like I imagine a colonial city to be. It was easy to get around in on “le truck”, we discovered many hidden corners to explore and he people were friendly and outgoing. Papeete seemed to be a blown up version of the small intimate places that we had already visited. My only complaint is that it is dirty. Their appeal to tourists would be greater if they cleaned the sidewalks and streets like they do in Paris, France. We returned to Seattle on July 19 for five weeks of the best time of the year to be home.