Our friends Patti and Gerard from North Carolina finally arrived as planned on Saturday evening. But, first we needed to finish cleaning up the boat. Around 8 AM, I went to Marina Taina to find out about using their water to wash down the boat. The fuel dock was very accommodating and let us pull up alongside their megayacht dock and use their water for no charge. We did fill up the dinghy with more gasoline as a way to compensate. With four of us working, the job, that normally would have taken a full day, was done in about 2-3 hours. Tahina has a lot of surface area, and there is lots of detail (like rubbing down places where the kayak and fenders marred the fiberglass, or underneath the grating at the entrance to our main door). We even cleaned Coconut, the dinghy, a well. Soon we were all forced to wear sunglasses because Tahina was so bright and shiny!
We had one unexpected, and unwanted, complication. Karen had started sneezing a couple of days earlier. Which we attributed to allergies back in Huahine. However, on Friday her throat was hurting. On Saturday, it was clear she had a cold.
In the afternoon we did one last big run to the grocery store to stock up our provisions for the extra mouths we were feeding. Since Karen does all the provision planning, she had to come along. Despite feeling bad, she got it all done though. When she got back to the boat, the rest of us put everything away while she rested. I offered to go and meet Patti and Gerard at the airport alone. A quick check on the Internet confirmed their flight was pretty much on schedule.
After taking a shower, and putting a Tahina hat on my head, Jason took me ashore with a radio in hand. I caught a bus to the airport. At the airport I found a little marketplace where ladies were selling leighs of flowers. They were not very expensive – about $3 per leigh with lots of fragrant flowers.
Their flight landed within 10 minutes of its scheduled time, but it seemed like the entire plane had unloaded before at last they came through the customs exit. It turns out the line for Americans was much slower than for the French/European customers. It was a truly very happy occasion, especially after two week delay due to the strike at the Tahiti airport. Of course, I immediately graced them with the fragrant leighs and gave them big hugs.
A quick taxi ride back to the Marina, a call on the radio, a short ride on the dinghy out to our anchorage, and Patti and Gerard were finally on board! We had a beautiful full moon night, calm waters, and cool evening air. The crew and Karen had prepared some wine and cheese appetizers. We all sat and enjoyed the evening and got caught up on our recent experiences. Then we grilled up some shish kabobs on the grill and soon had a nice dinner. Jason and Lara were being very helpful and acting just like a professional crew on a megayacht – except they got to join us for the conversation and meal.
Naturally, Patti and Gerard were quite tired from their 19+ hour flight. So, we sent them to bed. We were all tired from cleaning so they weren’t the only ones to sleep soundly! Patti and Gerard were a little surprised to be woken up by roosters calling in the early morning hours. All of the islands we’ve visited (in the Caribbean, Panama, Galapagos, and French Polynesia), have plenty of chicken running around as they supply an easy additional diet of eggs and meat. So, we are so accustomed to their racket in the morning, we didn’t even think to mention it to our guests.
We had a full large bag worth of goodies that came with Patti and Gerard. In there was some boat parts, mail from the past few months, a really cool mothers day/fathers day gift from our daughters (an LCD notepad that you can draw notes on and erase with the press of a button!), DVD movies, and more. One of the items was a new ATM card which doesn’t charge fees for withdrawing money in foreign locations. So, early Sunday morning I went to get some local cash. Patti and Gerard accompanied me and got to see the local shops near the marina. They also got to see plenty of the local roosters and chicken along the way. We bought some fresh bread and pain au chocolate for breakfast at the store and walked back to the marina.
Back at the boat, Jason and Lara had us prepped for departure. There was 15 knots of wind forecasted, and we saw some other sailboats headed out. We soon had our sail raised on the way out of the pass of the lagoon, but the wind didn’t materialize as we crossed to Moorea. We motor-sailed the first 10-12 miles. Not only that, but there was a sizable swell out there. We would occasionally see a 5-6 meter (15-18 foot) swell – which thankfully was mostly behind us. Patti had never been on a sailboat in the ocean, so this was a real thrill for her. Gerard was loving the experience as well. Unfortunately, Patti went below to get some sunscreen and got a bit queasy. But, she managed to calm back down when we got around the island into smoother waters. We also saw a rare sighting of a large shark swimming at the surface as we were crossing.
We next had to contend with a rain squall which approached as we were nearing the anchorage. The good news is that it gave us some wind and we were able to sail the final few miles. But, we did experience some light rain. Despite the weather, we were soon back in the same anchorage in the bay of Opunohu where the rally festivities were held a week ago. We spent the day, admiring the views, snorkeling, and swimming. Patti and Gerard had another great day and we finished with another nice dinner under the full moon.