From Rita 2

June 18th-20th The Rally. In spite of the inclement weather the Tahiti-Moorea Rendezvous was a great success. As appointed VIP/Committee boat, we enjoyed hosting the organizers and sponsors. One of the sponsors was Latitude 38 managing editor Andy Turpin and his wife Julie. The Tahitian organizers Stephanie & Karine were also on board and brought with them not only tasty food & drinks..but also a group of ukulele players and drummers to help send of the anxious regatta participants.

And I do say anxious because once we left the more sheltered cove of Papeete..the fleet encountered strong winds and swells crossing the Sea of the Moon to Moorea. Most made the crossing with reefed sails and in record time. The rest of the day was spent enjoying once again the delightful music and dancing of the Tahitian people and a wonderful BBQ to follow.

The next day we all enjoyed a variety of Tahitian culture..learned a lot about the famous black pearl industry..palm leaf weave making..coconut splitting and shaving..and best of all outrigger canoe was a blast. We also shared some of our animal balloon making talents to the delight of the many young cruising children. Then unfortunately the rains came..but we hovered under large tents and enjoyed a traditional Tahitian Ma’a (feast) that was cooked underground and included all of the French Polynesian delicacies such as breadfruit, pork, several fish dishes, etc. It was a good thing that we filled our bellies then because we had to leave shortly after that to return to Papeete to drop off one of our crew members, Urska, for her return trip back to Europe. (Unfortunately we heard several days later that at the Paris train station she was robbed of one of her backpacks which held her diary, laptop, camera, etc. which held a years’ worth of recorded memories..we are very sorry for her great loss.)

June 21th-23rd Papeete…we spent another few days here shopping and provisioning for the next several weeks of our journey to the leeward islands..Hauhine, Raiatea and Bora Bora. Maggie, our newest Australian crew member that we met in Puerto Vaharta, arrived safe and sound from an excursion in El Salvador. We enjoyed another final meal at the open air ‘trailer park’ enjoying a variety of foods and topping it off with some of the island’s famous dessert crepes.

June 23rd-26th We finally left Papeete at sunset for an incredibly beautiful overnight passage to Huahine. The moon was almost full and helped light our way. With 6 crew on board it was a delight to double up and take our 3 hour watches. We arrived in Hauhine and found a good anchorage with close proximity to the largest village, Fare where some of us snagged some of Tahiti’s famous black pearls and tasty ice cream.

Brian dingyed us up the bay and we snorkeled while riding a strong current back to the boat while enjoying some of the most colorful arrays of coral yet that we have seen on the islands. The next morning we ventured to another more protective deep water beautiful bay and some of us chose to trek around the small island of Huahine-Iti. It was an invigorating walk up and down the picturesque mountainous island to a village called Haapu. While walking the village bay area we were befriended by a local hog who chose to walk quite a ways with us while trying to comically nudge our legs with his wet snout. Finally some locals helped us to send him back down the road in which he came from.