Papeete, Tahiti, Society Islands, French Polynesia
Tahiti is also the place where we part ways with FLY AWEIGH. A few months and about 5000 nautical miles ago, two friends asked us to come with them on an amazing adventure. To do what many dream about but few actually accomplish: to sail a 44 foot sailboat from Mexico to Tahiti. Along the way we’ve faced thousands of miles of open ocean and become shellbacks, combated air pirates, opened coconuts with dull machetes, swam with 250 sharks and had a dozen other adventures. What was promised was the trip of a lifetime. It did not fail to meet that lofty mark.
Now we are here, in a place we talked about as if it would take an eternity to get to and really it only took a couple of months. Our time together has come to an end. Since we already have our next boat out of Tahiti lined up in a few weeks and Tiffany’s mom is coming out by plane (wuss 😉 we will become “normal tourists” for a time. It should be interesting. Don’t worry, we’ll keep the blog going with our adventures in Tahiti & Bora Bora just like we did in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle. Allan & Alison will continue on their cruise and we will very likely see them again on this trip. From now on though, it will be as friends passing in a port.
“Shipmate” is a term that people throw around a lot without understanding what it means. Most seagoing military types understand what it means to serve on a ship with another person: when it comes right down to it, it’s just you and your crew against all the fury and rage that good old King Neptune decides to throw your way. You cook, you plan routes, you catch fish (well, we tried) you sail though storms and perfect sunsets, ultimately, you live…all together. When you sleep at night (or in Greg’s case, all morning) you trust your shipmates to keep you safe.
Let us also take a moment not only to thank our friends but also the good ship S/V FLY AWEIGH herself. (boats are girls. They just are. Oh and the S/V stands for “Sailing Vessel.”) The little boat that not only could, it did! When people asked us what kind of boat we were on we would usually reply “a limo.” FLY AWEIGH is a great ship that can not only get you across the largest body of water on the planet, she’ll do it in style. Comfortable, ridiculously easy to sail and just a great boat with all the bells and whistles. Our next boat will really have to strive to keep up with the standards we have grown accustomed to over the past few months.
Our last evening aboard Allan and Alison took us out for dinner at an institution we had not partaken of for months: an actual sit down restaurant! We wore our shiny sandals and as we’ve grown to presume with these two, it was an interesting experience.
and for dessert? A special treat all the way from Mexico. When we first prepared the ship to cross the Pacific, we prepared a ditch bag in case we had to abandon ship and survive in a life raft while awaiting rescue in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Not a pleasant thought, and it’s better to be prepared than try to figure out what you need as the ship is going down. Greg and Tiffany wanted to make sure we had stuff like survival water and a spare radio in the bag. Allison refused to enter a life raft that was not well stocked in chocolate. Her rationale being that if we had to crawl soaking wet into a floating rubber kiddie pool hundreds of miles from land (or rescue) and watch our ship quietly slip beneath the waves…well, at that point we could all have used a chocolate candy bar. Couldn’t argue her point there, so we all got a candy bar in the bag. The unexpected joyous part is that, assuming the boat doesn’t sink before you leave it, you get to eat your candy anyway!
Oh yes, and of course the finches of French Polynesia couldn’t let Greg have his vacation from the nautical realm without a proper send off…
Bring on the bungalows!