One for the turtles

The weather finally settled and we said goodbye to Tahiti.

Most of our visit in Papeete was spent restocking or trying to procure various boat items for our upcoming months of cruising.
There are some vast distances to cover in our future and restocking for survival -always takes a little forethought.

Whenever you think you'e done-there's still nine more loads of stuff you will eventually be cramming into every conceivable nook and cranny.

In La Paz, I had planned on four months of cruising, with no major restock chances before Papeete and it worked out, pretty much exactly- right down to the last bags of flour and sugar.

Restocking in French Polynesia turned out to be easy-but staggeringly expensive, compared to Mexico.

Nothing to be done but stick to the basics and look for the good deals- corned beef and Polish hotdogs, anyone?
Mostly, I'm counting on my boys slaying plenty of tasty fish out there...
I was able to restock on Sushi rice and Thai ingredients, so we won't suffer too much.

No matter how hard we tried to NOT spend any more money, the fact was, the weather was kinda crap and we were really low on everything-so this was our big chance to keep shopping.
The four of us made more trips back and forth to the grocery store than you can imagine,  the kids lugging grocery bags filled with long-life essentials, like cans of butter and bags of dried pastas, Jon hefted cases of boxed milk on his shoulders, while I checked stuff off mental lists and stopped us at every roadside farmer, selling pineapples and breadfruits.

We dropped a pile of cash at a local launderette to have our comforters and towels washed and dried ( a whopping bit of luxury in our salty-sandy-minimally-rinsed- world).
Planning to feed four people for four months and have enough propane to cook with and water to drink and diesel and gasoline to burn-never mind fancy items like coffee and chocolate bars, adds up. 

Suddenly cruising for two and a half years with (almost) no income starts to seem a little crazy, 
especially when you have three carts at the check-out and your receipt is as long as your paddle board.

The trick is, to ignore the ice water in your veins and hustle back to the boat and stow it all, as fast as possible,
then spend the rest of the day "skurfing"  (getting towed behind a dingy while shredding on your surfboard).

We find PLAY fixes the "what the hell are we doing?" pangs, especially anytime we are faced with a bill.

At last, there wasn't a single spot left on the boat to cram anything into.
Looking up at the sky, we saw that (for the first time in weeks) there weren't high level altostratus being shaved into "mare's tails" by the high winds.

A spell of good weather was coming.

Time to go, but it late, so we opted to clear out at first light.

We dropped the mooring ball and motored over into the fuel dock and loaded Pura Vida with as much diesel as she can take, topped up our water tanks and the spare jugs we carry on deck and anchored down by the cut in the reef.

Sitting on deck and watching the sunset,  we cheered on all the local Tahitian kids surfing the reef break behind the boat.
We have a little rule on board about no sunset swims ( sharky) but watching these kids having a blast in the channel right up until dark- might of dispelled that myth for us.

The next morning, we nosed out of the pass, with Pura Vida sinking deeper on her waterline than she has in ages.
It was thrilling to be heading to for new adventures and with the added comfort of knowing we are full up on everything we need, once again.

It's also empowering to have a  500 mile range of diesel in our tanks and jerry cans and enough water to last us a month at sea.

I laughed, remembering an email I had with a friend, a while back...
She was "gearing up" for a 12 hour road trip.
12 hours !
With places to stop for gas and water and snacks, whenever you need it!

Our little world has certainly changed,  in the last  few years of this cruising thing.
Now, we're looking at how we will get home like..
"Oh, cool, it's only 2400 miles from Mopelia to Hawaii...
We can be there in like, 20 days!
Piece of cake!"

Of course, we have to wait for the hurricane season in the North Pacific to chill out,  so there's only, like, a really small chance of us running into a life-threatening storm,
Oh, and hopefully our non-marine-bought in HIva Oa- used for trucks- batteries won't die, rendering us unable to download weather forecasts or communicate with anyone, in any way...

but lets not think about that part.

On we go!
( and statistically, anyone making a 12 hour drive on a highway is in way more danger of getting into a life threatening accident than we are)

There was only one problem with our plan, now...

We still don't have one.

"Where do you want to go?" asked Jon, as Tahiti fell away behind us.

Everyone was lying on deck, enjoying the feel of the ocean swell beneath us, again.
The kids drank fresh squeezed Mango juice and we sipped our coffees.

The "what's next?"  question has certainly been on our minds-we just can't make them up, is all.

After weeks of mulling it over...
this is what we've come up with, so far;


First off, we really need to work and earn some money and that's the closest port for us to get to where we can do -whatever it is that we do.

It's also "on the way home" kind of, way of Alaska.

Jon and I would love to keep cursing and all, especially now that we got all the way over here and could see Tonga and Fiji and maybe Indonesia and New Guinea and Thailand...
But that will all have to wait for other adventures down the road.

Fiscal reality cannot be ignored forever,
and we miss our family and friends.

The trouble is, we can't just turn left and head for Hawaii right now, because it's the middle of hurricane season in the North Pacific, and I  sort of have this goal of NOT having to put up our storm trysail on this trip-if we can help it.
All this means, is we will have to wait SOMEWHERE until October.
Plans are further complicated by visas and route planning.
The further west we go, our visa situation can be resolved but it becomes much harder for us to get back to Hawaii- 
our lives are governed by choosing the safest and most favorable trade winds.

This is our conundrum.

I still had not answered Jon's question, so I resorted to a technique used by many an ancient mariner;

I looked around and pointed at the first thing I saw.

An epically beautiful island rising from the sea, beckoning us to explore it.
"There! " I said, pointing to Moorea.

Decision made.

Three hours later, we coasted through the reef entrance into Cooks Bay.

Even the wreath of low lying clouds rimming Mount Moaputa, could not dull the  "Wow" effect.
It's one of those breathtaking spots, where, instantaneous  time-travel happens...

I imagine standing on the deck of a massive square-rigger;
It is the 16th century, I am of European descent and am  wondering if the natives are hostile...

Actually, Moorea and Tahiti proudly claim no history of cannibalsm
So that first  landing was probably a tad more relaxed than in the Tuamotos or the Marquesas.

By the time Ol' Captain Cook arrived in, 1769,( he didn't discover this epic bay but managed to wrangle having its name, somehow) the locals had already been "missionized" and were well on their way to having their resident populations decimated by alcohollism and desieses brought by the early explorers.

A consensus taken 80 years after Cooks first visit, showed that only 10 percent of the original polupation was left standing.

Sorry about that, folks.

Luckily, the people here don't seem to hold a grudge.

Moorea is a paradise-no doubt about it.
It was sort of peculiar, but once we got through the  surrounding reef, 
Cook's bay was strangely reminiscent of Desolation sound in BC.
Neve mind the palm trees and the pineapple plantations-
steep, green mountains rising up out of a deep and glass calm bay- 
it made us a little homesick, actually.

We anchored in VERY deep water and spent a few hours doing not much more than marveling at the scenery.
I was happy to see several turtles huffing around the boat, breaking the smooth surface with their soulful little faces, giving us wary glances.
They have been a rare sight since leaving Mexico and we were thrilled to see them again.

The lure of spending even more money somehow possessed us,
 and we decided to dingy over to one of the swanky hotels and have drinks and watch the sunset.
Sometimes, I think we just long to watch other people -looking at stuff.

The next morning, we moved over to the next bay -even more stunning, if that's possible-
and dinged two miles ( in our slow dingy) to the uber lux Intercontinental hotel and rented bicycles.

For lunch, we stopped at the Mahana snack shack and had the most fabulous lunch ever.
 It cost a million dollars ( as does everything in FP) but it was worth it. 
I keep writing about poisson cru -because I cannot stop stuffing my face with it, every chance i get.
It's  one of those things, like ceviche in Mexico or Paella in Spain or Pizza-anywhere. 
You just have to keep trying everyone's version of it.
This version was the MOST delicious ever. I have no idea what made it better, it had the same ingredients:
fresh tuna marinated in lime and coconut milk, julliened carrots, onions, tomatoes and cucumbers...
But this one, inexplicably, rocked all others by comparison.
Kai had  a perfect steak, Jon had  delicious shrimp curry and Hunter had the best cheeseburger I can remember.

Mahana Snack-Do it.

Everyone was tired and happy and stuffed to the gills when we got back to the boat.
We rinsed off with a swim in crystal clear water and sat on deck drying off and looking at the crazy beautiful view.

The societies are spectacular-in every way.
They are astounding beautiful but also extremely posh.
Every anchorage has a mega yacht (or three), the cruising fleet is in full force, everywhere you go,
there are swankity-do hotels galore and luxury everywhere you look.

Don't get me wrong, its all fabulous and the Hollywood in me, loves a glass of cold wine at  the bar now and then...
but, really? 
Its not what we gave everything up to come and see.

Jon and I lay in our bunk that night, reading.
The boat hardly moved on her anchor, protected as she is behind the fringing reef,
stars shone down on us through our hatch, the night perfect and cool with a breeze smelling of frangipani and vanilla.

'"This is nice... " I said, snuggling next to him.

 Jon was looking at me, a little wistfully.

"What?" I put down my book, kind of knowing, already, what was coming.

"I wanted to see Bora Bora, so badly and this place too, it is, so, incredibly beautiful, but..."
Jon shook his head.
"I just don't want to spend the next two months showing the kids more hotels and jet ski's."

'I know what you mean," I nodded.

Jon propped himself on his arm and distractedly toyed with my probably, very sticky, salt -encrusted hair, while he talked.

"I miss the deserted islands, the living reef, the surviving on coconuts, the whole, thing we had going there for awhile. I felt like we were really giving the kids and us something special then. This is awesome kind of makes me feel like we're back in the game already..."
He looked down at me.
"This is our chance, baby. We have a few months left to do this, amazing special thing, we've been up to... and then we go back, to you know...normal"

I have to admit....
sometimes I really miss normal. 
I do.

I miss my mom and my girlfriends and having a couch and the security of earning money...
but despite the hardships, the lack of water, the swimming with sharks, the constant, dread of being "on the edge"  with our precious children...

I know what Jon means.

The turtle eyeing me, as I paddled past him on my morning jaunt- he knows it, too.

So, I guess, 
there's only one thing left to do,
figure out where we go...


Entering Cooks Bay-on a BC kinda day.
Morning in Cooks  Bay anchorage

Trouble, much?
Great houses in Cooks bay
Entering Oapanhu bay

Peeking at the other version of visiting these islands...

Bike touring the island
One more reason to visit Moorea!

My new obsession

Outdoor seating by the sea

This is the magician responsible for some of the BEST food we have ever eaten!

...and she's a doll but I still couldn't get her secret recipe!
Posing in the gardens at the hotel where we got the bikes...
Posing in the pool before they booted us out-guests only!


  1. i love the point-at-the-first-thing-your-eyes-land-on decision making technique! i'm going to try that....with a few different own lil adventure making here in LALA Land!

    BEST DAY SO FAR OF 2013??? Friday, July 26th....FACETIMED with 4 of my favorite, inspiring, brilliantly brave and beyond beautiful, inside and out, people in the whole world!!! THANK YOU FP Gods for allowing that to happen!

    miss yall madly, love y'all deeply

  2. Stay wild, on your wet edge as long as you can. Squeeze every wonderful, and sometimes hair raising moment you guys can from this wonderful experience!