Sunday, July 3, 2011

Namaste on the move

We've had an amazing month in Moorea and Tahiti, filled with new friends, old friends and family.
The California Catt's, including Uncle Larry, Aunt Ellen, and cousins Emily and the "other Chris Catt" - or junior as we liked to call him on the boat - spent a week with us in Moorea in mid-June. There was a massive mixup and mistake on our part that left the Catt's cabbing all over Tahiti to find us upon their arrival. We spent our days jumping off the rope swing, kayaking, paddleboarding, snorkeling, and just playing around. The dolphins visited us in the dinghy and Larry, who's an amazing photographer, documented their trip. It was fantastic to have some family time, and we were sorry to see them go.
We returned to Tahiti, saw the Catt's off, and began completing a few boat projects. Our French friends, Gilles and Suzanne, kept us busy with BBQ's, diving and hanging out with the locals. They've been an awesome addition to our Tahiti time, and we're so stoked to have met them.
We dove with them near our anchorage at Maeva Beach and spotted a massive sleeping shark, several blacktip reef sharks, and schools of jacks. We took Gilles' big dinghy and we ended up breaking down on our way back, with a 10-12 foot swell pushing us into the reef. Luckily, we had Macgyver on board and he had us up and running after a 1/2 hour of some serious paddling.
Our best friend from Tahoe Nichole, and her boyfriend Adam, joined us on June 22 for 10 days, which included my birthday! We chilled out in Pointe Venus for the first few days of their trip. Chris and Adam took full advantage of the windy conditions to kiteboard, and Chris was a patient instructor to the newbie. Our days were filled with beach volleyball, paddling and swimming.
We hauled anchor the morning of my birthday and enjoyed a picture-perfect sail to Moorea, where we joined forces with Gilles and Suzanne who sailed over for the weekend. We had a beautiful dinner of salmon torte, courtesy of Gilles, panko-macadamia nut fish, and broiled polenta with mushrooms.
The following morning Chris and I dove with Gilles and Suzanne outside the pass, near motu Fareone. The spot is famous for shark feedings, and the blacktips showed up en masse upon the dinghy arrival. It was quite a show. Unfortunately, we didn't find any alive coral, but there were schools of striped jack fish.
We spent the rest of the week anchored near Opunohu Bay, and enjoyed spectacular weather, diving, paddling and a new sport that Adam introduced us to - slack line! I'm sure many of you have heard of it, but it was pretty new to us. You simply fasten a 1" webbing strap between two coconut trees on the beach and start learning how to balance. Adam is amazing, doing handstands, jumps, and practically running across the narrow lash. Needless to stay the other boater kids and locals were excited to give it a go and we had some good times on the white-sand beach. The sunset photo shoots were phenomenal!
After a good kiteboard session, we stopped off at stingray world and snorkeled with what has to be the friendliest rays in the world. They are extremely accustomed to people, mostly due to the daily feedings, and they approached us fearlessly. The spot is typically full of tourists, but we hit it at sunset and had the place all to ourselves.
We also taught them how to dive, and they took to it like fish in the water. Both were incredibly comfortable and we were able to do four different dives in and around the bay, including an old wreck near the pass, and two adventures outside the pass at the canyons. We spotted hundreds of fish at the wreck, including blue-stripped snapper, titan triggerfish, butterfly fish, peacock rockcod, and whitecheek surgeonfish to name a few. Outside the pass, we spotted turtles, moray eels, and a few blacktips.
It was awesome to have my girl, and meet her man, whom we adored, and a piece of home to fill my heart here in French Polynesia.
It was so great that apparently the gods felt I needed one more day. After a lively night out with all our friends, we arrived at the airport the following morning to learn their flight had been canceled due to a pilot strike! The flight was rescheduled for later that evening, leaving us with no turnaround time before our friends from Maui arrived. But all is well on board after a hectic first night and day with Rusty and Kim, their kids, Jessie and Cassidy, as well as Kim's mom Lynne. We prepped the boat for our big sail back to the Tuamotus, filled the fridges with goodies and we'll be sailing out Monday morning, Chris' birthday. Happy 4th of July!