the long, hairy, arm of bureaucracy, can still reach out and give you a wedgie.
Doesn't matter that you cross oceans all on your lonesome,
that you catch most of what you eat, live on hydro and solar power,
use a minuscule amount of fossil fuels, and are pretty much totally independent of relying on any sort of government or organization
to bail you out of whatever troubles you get yourself into...
Your still going to wind up, on Skype for hours, trying to cancel a cell phone that you already CANCELED FOUR MONTHS AGO but have nevertheless been being charged 275.00 a month for, or wandering around government buildings with reams of paperwork under your arm being told that "no" this is not where you check in( or out)and "yes" you have to do that but "no" they don't know where you do that and you will wander around in circles , scratching your head and muttering to yourself about how that, the despite all the cultural differences in the world, only idiocy seems to be universal.
Then you remember that you ARE cruising and you take a deep breath.
It is annoying, to have only a three month visa, to visit area as large and fascinating as French Polynesia.
Especially when one is sailing and one can only explore where and when the winds give their blessings.
It will also seem absurdly unfair, that EU citizens can loiter about paradise for a year or more, while American and Canadian citizens pull the short straw of the three month limit.
If you are Canadian, you will be too polite to raise a ruckus about this and just accept it and do your best to see as much as you can before clearing out.
If you are American, you want to hire a lawyer and sue somebody or at least, find a "loophole" in this bizzaro situation
Jon and I are duel citizens, so our emotions ( as we only have about 10 days left on our visas) are mixed.
In the end, we will just have to wing it.
For future cruisers out there, thinking about visiting FP, I would say go ahead and try to get the extension before you leave- because you will not want to rush this amazing place.
However, this is assuming you are deeply organized and planning well in advance...
If you are like us and you just go for the passionate-seat-of-your-pants choices in life,
You might have to start thinking outside the box.
(and that's all I can say that for now!)
The winds were too high and the surf in Teahupoo was closing out-so there was nothing to do but get'er done.
We put our backs into it, got some boat chores happening and took care of all the annoying stuff we really needed to get to.
We restocked our provisions, in Port Phaeton-which was easy and amusing.
There was a wonderful giant supermarket right up a dirt road,
many trips back and forth, pushing loaded grocery carts over gravel and horse droppings,
and piling it all into a dingy and shuttling it back and forth.
The four of us, loaded up on everything we were running low on, including meat, which i will now have to spend some time canning.
Incredibly, we went through all 100 cans of food that we made back in La Paz and now we have a lot of empty jars aboard.
Its time consuming and I really have to swallow the discipline pill to want to take on all the labor involved in doing it again-
but the fact is it's SOOO much tastier, healthier, cheaper and better for the environment to make your own canned goods than buy commercial stuff-I just gotta do it.
Certain aspects of doing without for so long really change one's shopping experience.
As tempting and amazing as the wide variety of products is to see again, I can't help but consider them in a different light.
We have seen firsthand, the Japanese and Chinese fishing trawlers out there...
and as much as I love canned tuna- I can't do the store bought anymore.
(watch the excellent NEMO video Emily posed on our blog)
In fact, I notice many subtle changes in our little crew since we left Marina del Rey, almost two years ago.
We are at once, a more serious group, focused on all sorts of intensive "real life" stuff...
like where to hide from cyclones or how to survive on rationed water or the best way to plan and manage a sail from French Polynesia to Alaska...
and at the same time, we are largely, a more "playful" group of humanoids than we were before this adventure;
We tend to burst into song a lot more( surely influenced by our polynesian friends) we have time everyday for prolonged cuddles or wordless stares at nature...
the importance we put on smiling and laughing while enjoying activities like surfing and free diving vastly out weigh any sense of financial security.
I wonder if there is not actually some deep, evolutionary genetic response taking place.
Where our collective DNA is being altered, mutating itself into a design more attuned to the future.
Being out here, far away from,the what kind of car is best to drive or what shampoo will make my hair look nicest-influences...
The "JOY! " button lights up.
Your soul is filled with wonder, at the astoundingly beautiful planet we get to live on and the experience of meeting some of its extraordinary inhabitants, inspires a deep need to connect to all of it.
We remind our children, everyday, that what we see out here can't be taken for granted.
That the Tuamotos (being among the lowest lying islands in the world), have a tenuous future.
Global warming and rising ocean levels will alter our world within our life-times- and many scientists say, in the next decade, even.
It's our job as a parents, to show our kids the world they are charged with protecting.
The job rests squarely on their shoulders-so they oughtta be ready for it.
I think about Linda Hamilton in "Terminator", when she trains her boy to be the warrior of the future...
Only instead of guns and ammo, we're loading them up on compassion and empathy...and a sense of ownership.
This gorgeous blue marble is YOURS , baby...
Keep it safe from the bad guys, the greedy, the unenlightened...
Go out there and get noisy and be a bad-ass about saving it.
Kai and Hunter have met the people who inhabit the low lying islands, they have yodeled songs with them and played with their goats.
It's why going to Alaska to see the glaciers and the grizzlies is the most important thing on our "to-do"list...
and why, every can of tuna we buy in the store,
really does matter.
It's also why we might occasionally break a conventional rule or two.
Passionate, eco-pirate training requires the outlaw approach.
If only we could give the bureaucrats of the world better things to obsess over than whether you did or did not fill out the correct box in a line of boxes, seven months in advance of a trip, that you didn't know you were going to take, so you can file for an extension to your three month visa, so you can share more of the world you want to save, with your children, who will be the ones saving it.
What if learning to play ukulele was mandatory?
Or lying on your back in the grass and star gazing was a national pastime?
Isn't finding true love as important as what you do for a living?
I want the "Bureau Of Contentment" to be the ones I get stuck on the phone with:
"So...you say you are not content, ma'am?"
"Well no actually, i've been feeling a little unloved..."
"I'm sorry to hear that, ma'am. Have you watched the sunrise with someone your fond of, recently?"
"No, not since college, actually..."
"Ah, I see. Well, lets start by transferring you to the Bureau of Laughter, and they can tell you some good jokes and get you smiling, so we can get you back on track."
"Oh, okay. Thank you, so much."
"Not a problem, ma'am. We are here to help. In the meantime, try to get outside as much as possible and take refuge in the astounding and Always Free, glory of nature...have great day."
This call has been monitored by God.
|There was some restocking...|
|and rejigging water pumps...again!|
|Then it was off to find fuel...entering the pass near Marina Taina|
|Holy moly... a sea of masts!|
|and some cool houses!|
|Out for s night in town|
|Hunter's hilarious self-portrait|
|Boat school...needlepoint and guitar|
|You don't have to own as much as the next guy...|
|to enjoy the view...|
|With your morning coffee...|
|Although...I admit, this spot was pretty dope...|