Whenever we are sitting in a city harbor, we don’t really feel like we are cruising. We feel like we are living in a small space where getting most things done is generally inconvenienced by that fact that we live on a small boat out at anchor.
We met the families on SV Alondra and SV Panacea in just such an environment, the anchorage in Papeete, Tahiti. We were all in Papeete sucking down the Wifi or catching flights or getting work done or dealing with official paperwork. But then, we broke free!
Banyan was the first to break out and arrive in Moorea, an island just west of Tahiti. It was a short 4-5 hour sail from Tahiti. We dropped the hook in Upunuhu bay where the whales like to frequent, turtles roam around and there are plenty of overland hikes. We were very soon joined by Alondra and Panacea and we let the fun begin!
While mornings were packed with schooling, afternoons were filled with fun. SV Alondra has dive gear and a compressor on board so Cameron went for several dives with the dads where they encountered whales, turtles, and lots of great fish. We went for a hike straight up a ridge just to get a view of the boats. The kids played in the water tons. We headed over to “Stingray Village” where the rays and reef sharks hang out. The kids took the rowing dingy to shore ALL BY THEMSELVES lots of times and played on the beach.
There was lots more to see in Moorea, but Banyan needs to be on the move, so we made the jump to Huahine. Huahine is by far my favorite island in the Society Islands so far. Tourism is more low key and life just seems to be running along at a very chill pace. We anchored just off the village of Fare (not much room, but bettor holding than the anchoring near the southern pass) and were in the water snorkeling in no time. We decided to explore the land a bit and rented bikes. What was supposed to be a two hour bike trip around the island was an epic 6 hour rain drenched adventure including a pearl farm tour, an archeological museum, eel feeding and a picnic lunch. The girls loved it at times and hated it at others.
Very soon we were joined by SV Alondra who brought more diving fun, hiking and water skiing on surfboards (skurfing). Alondra has two girls the exact age of Adelaide and Isa and they get along beautifully which has been super fun for all.
After some fun in the little town of Fare for a few days we headed south inside the lagoon to the anchorage of Avea. Some days the kids would paddle off to the beach and would be gone for hours exploring, making forts and creating imaginary lands, taking in stray dogs and generally exploring this amazing world.
We have been rocking boat school with Alondra around. Art class was with a local woman who taught them how to make the traditional Hae ti Poo (crown for your head). Cameron hooked that up. Both the parents on Alondra are marine biologists as well as gifted and passionate teachers. They have been EXTREMELY generous with their time and knowledge, doing upwards of 5 science classes with the girls. Echinoderms, classification, taxonomy, crustaceans, arthropods, nudibranks, and plankton have been just some of the topics covered. We have all learned a TON about the sea beneath us.
The girls did group field research projects together at an archeological site and presented their findings to all of us. I organized a music concert where we had no less than two acts with a poetic interlude. Each girl presented two musical pieces and my girls recited their poetry as well. We had a stand up harp, a violin and two pianos! We capped it off with a group song “I LAVA You” from Pixar’s short. Thankfully I was joined on ukulele by Kate on SV Adaggio who fleshed out the band. To round out the group projects, the girls got together and did a baking competition. It was Top Cheff time on Banyan with ratings, comments and recommendations on their respective dishes. It was a near thing, but Adelaide and Zoe’s Ginger Lemon Cheesecake took second, with Isa and Naomi’s Chocolate Mouse Cake coming in first.
Today we are on Taha’a, one of the more beautiful islands in the Societies. Alondra has just pulled onto the mooring ball next to us after a few days apart. The girls are chomping at the bit to get together with the Alondra girls and I’m thinking there will be sundowners in order very soon. Now THIS is cruising.
P.S. I was able to get our August One Moment a Day video up onto YouTube! Go check it out.