Words by Nancy
Location: Anchored inside the westerly passes of Raiatea, Society Islands.
Andrew and I arrived in French Polynesia over a week ago to meet up with the OceanGybe crew and are loving life as guests aboard Khulula. With Bryson still back home for the first week, Hugh and Ryan toured us to some of the breaks and spots that they'd already visited in this area, including Teahupoo. The boys have found surf everyday so far, although we haven't come across any cruisy beach breaks so I've stuck to other water activities, or making after-session meals.
The lifestyle of cruising short distances and mooring each night in beautiful waters is really chill, although we did get a small taste of what it takes to do long hauls in a 40 foot sailboat in the Pacific, as we were introduced to overnight sailing between Moorea and Raiatea. The distance covered was a merely 1/30 of that traveled by the OceanGybe crew on their longest passage, and it really put into perspective the challenge of sailing around the world and the dedication with which they have undertaken this goal. Overnight sailing involves some of the following: trying to cook/eat/read/sleep in a lurching boat, rotating shifts where one member of the crew is up on deck checking for other ships in the darkness or wind direction, wind speed, etc, or having to change sails in complete darkness while harnessed to the boat to save oneself from getting pitched off the side, and getting drenched by waves that you can't see coming. That being said, this experience also offers: the exhilaration of moving through the darkness without any land or other boats in your sightline, incredible stars, amazing sunrises, and the sense of accomplishment when you arrive at your destination, knowing that new scenes and experiences await you.
Bryson came to meet up with us in Raiatea and we are going to stay around the island several days before heading off to Bora Bora, where Andrew and I will be taking off on a plane and Khulula will embark on their next long passage en route to NZ. At the moment, we are anchored in a small bay towards the outskirts of the island's main town and when we first got here this adorable little boy kayaked over to us and asked us en Francais to come and have a beer with this parents. It turns out that his parents (German and French) are here on work visas as teachers in the local school. They invited the English teacher over, also from France, to chat with us. Ryan began to discuss Rugby with the English teacher, who has offered to pick us up on Saturday morning to head to the pub to watch the France v. England match. Before we left, they'd also invited us for a traditional Polynesian meal of raw fish and coconut on Friday evening.
On a culinary note, literally the least expensive items in the grocery stores in French Polynesia are delicious French cheeses and French bread, so as a natural progression, our cheese meal is now included each day somewhere between lunch and dinner.