As most of you know, when we have guests sailing with us, we require that they write a blog about their experiences. Here is Bente’s, who sailed with us from Fakarava to Tahiti.
I feel humble as I sit to write about my fantastic experiences visiting Vinni and Carsten for almost a month. They were truly generous, saying “yes” immediately when I wrote to ask if I could sail with them in the Tuamutos.
Landing at the airports both in Tahiti and Fakarava I was met with Drums and a contingent of Polynesian dancers. I’m not saying Vinni and Carsten arranged it – but I guess I wonder………………..’
The water in the Tuamutos is unbelievably clear. We could easily see the sharks and I even got to pet a nurse shark while it was eating a smaller fish.
We went ashore to find some internet and as you can see, the lifestyle seems to agree with them – their tans are deep, deep. Not the kind of tan you get in a tanning parlor. These have been underway for a year or more. Speaking of internet, out here internet is a when and if thing. When it is there and if it is working. Which it isn’t most of the time. I couldn’t get on the net via my telephone the entire four weeks I was in Polynesia. An enjoyable holiday from the net, although a bit of a cold turkey when you are used to instant access.
Were we alone out here? No. There are many boats that are sailing around the world or part of the world. I met a number of other cruisers and had interesting discussions with them about their travels and why they are cruising. A common theme was that a lot of the time spent ashore was spent chasing spare parts, diesel, provisions and last but not least, internet so they could stay in touch with family and friends.
The dinghy is the utility vehicle for all transportation to and from shore. Our motor decided to strike and Carsten had to paddle back to the boat so he could repair it. Getting in and out of dinghy, especially in the surf presents it’s own set of challenges – especially for a landlubber like me. It took a while, but I finally got the hang of it.
Coconuts are everywhere, literally. Here you can see a new palm tree coming as the nut sprouts.
The old lighthouse/tower is still on Fakarava, but not in use anymore. It stands tall and is easily seen over top of the palm trees.
We stopped on Taou atoll and visited Gaston and Valentine, who entertained us with stories about her life on the atoll where she has lived since she was born. Today there are 2 families on the atoll, the other one is her sister and her family. They fish, harvest copra and make some extra money serving dinner to visiting cruiser when there are several boats in the bay. A beautiful atoll.
We reached Tahiti and Vinni and I drove around the island (there is only one road). The Paul Gauguin museum was still closed for renovation (it has been closed for over three years and the renovation has not started yet). His house was open and we could easily feel the atmosphere and appreciate the beautiful paintings Gauguin painted here, even though his work only began to be appreciated after his death.
On little Tahiti there is a monument to surfers – note that Vinni is now world famous as a surfer…………..
There are homeless dogs everywhere. They are friendly and seem to be fed. Many put out water dishes for them.
Apparently old cars are just parked and as the years go by nature starts covering them. We saw an area with 10-15 wrecks that was almost completely covered by the plants. In a few years you won’t be able to see that they are there, although it will take decades before the metal rusts away. The plastic will be there forever.
The two day run from Taou to Tahiti was a totally new experience. Despite beginning seasickness, I enjoyed it. Vinni and Carsten are very experienced sailors, so I felt perfectly safe. But it gave me a taste of what it means to sail a long passage – three to four weeks.
I’ll close with this fantastic sundown and once again say thank you to Vinni and Carsten for sharing their boat and experiences with me.’
This was a never to be forgotten experience.