1st to 18th August
Henrietta hasn’t sailed far in the past few weeks but she now has new standing rigging (i.e. wires to hold up the mast). Mathieu, the young French rigger (passing resemblance to a lithe Johnny Depp – as in ‘Chocolat’) found several more broken strands in shrouds, suggested with gentle nod of his head that I was lucky still to have a mast, and replaced the lot. He was energetic, thorough, extremely skilled and fascinating – all of which made the bill more bearable.
So then, growing ratty with the dual-carriageway traffic and a hot and busy anchorage in Tahiti, I sailed to nearby island of Moorea. It’s picture postcard lovely and a popular tourist destination with good cause: jagged dark fairy-tale mountains, a fringe of coral reefs and coconut palms, fine walking, surfing, snorkelling and, for the whizzier types, flotillas of growling jet-skis on sea plus platoons of gaudy yellow quad bikes on land.
I’ve enjoyed walks (on one of which I met in succession: Tahitian film star, in vivid red sarong and tatoos, on location, French student pharmacologist from Rennes on holiday, Devon sailing couple from “Serenity” on a Moody. Most walks are less sociable – just me!); and the warm smiling helpful friendliness of Polynesians. An example of the latter: – on reaching a little tourist bar after long mountain walk, it was a shame the fresh fruit juice was finished and there was nothing to eat except ice-cream. I light-heartedly said to the girl Cindy (in my miserable French) that I was half starving and tired. She smiled sweetly and sympathetically….and then gave me her lunch! Although I was embarrassed and urged her to keep it, she was insistent, and refused payment. A perfect French quiche came my way. We’re humbled by such kindness. Such gestures are not part of English culture.
After a few different anchorages on Moorea, I sailed back to Tahiti for a couple of days. Ostensibly to collect spare pump parts, it was a waste of time (except collecting letters and shopping, and a warm freshwater shower – first in over three months!) because courier company was wrong; spares are not in Tahiti at all but still sitting in New Zealand. (Give delivery by UPS nil pointes). I can wait no longer to fix the pump; the ‘bucket and chuck-it’ routine must go on. And now I’m back in Moorea, seeing friends and walking the mountains, while waiting for a forecast of less wild winds before moving on.
There’s still quite a long way to New Zealand you see…..