As I write this Moana is stern tied to the quay in Papeete harbor. We are in the heart of the city. We've got cars driving by all hours of the day & night just about a boat length behind us. This is a HUGE change to the quiet slow existence we've had for the last three months. Bright lights, big city.
Papeete is the hub of French Polynesia and supports a population of about 100,000 residents. It is the first place in 5,000 miles to do refitting of the boat. This is much needed as we've got a good list of things to fix and upgrade. It's amazing how much more wear and tear ocean voyaging does to a boat.
Moana is ten steps from the crosswalk. When we first arrived and went to cross the five lanes of traffic with a friend, we couldn't believe it. Cars would screech to a halt if you were near the crosswalk. This took a while to get used to.
The boats at the quay seem to be quite the tourist attraction. Most of the day people are slowly walking by and looking at the many ports of call for the boats tied to the quay. We often see people taking pictures of their significant others with the boats in the background. The morning we arrived we had some strangers come by. Upon seeing San Diego, CA on Moana’s transom they let us know that they were also from San Diego. They were in Tahiti on a mission trip and invited us to a traditional Polynesian lunch at their church that afternoon. They were very generous hosts. It was great to catch up with happenings in San Diego and the food was marvelous.
We've enjoyed the many, many radio stations here. Our favorite is a Polynesia Music station. We've been listening to it all week and are getting to know many songs. We are surprised and cheered by how often we hear the word “Moana” in their music. It makes us feel right at home.
There is a parking lot about a block away from the quay that is full of vans called Roulettes. These roulettes are mobile restaurants that come and park in this lot each night. They have good food at a reasonable price. There is also a stage in the parking lot with live local music every night. After three months of not going out to eat once, we've enjoyed the luxury of having food prepared and dishes cleaned for us instead of by us.
We've had a few days of strong winds. There was 30 knots blowing through the harbor a couple of days ago and the wind was right on the beam (which means it was blowing at us on the side). Many of the boats on the quay dragged their anchors. Our (oversized) anchor held steady and thankfully nobody was next to us.
This past week has been a little overwhelming as we aren't used to city life. It was a shock to go from the quiet of the passage, the Marquesas and the Tuamotus to the middle of Papeete.
We're hoping to get our projects done soon. Through our ports we can see the beautiful island of Moorea twenty miles away. We're anxious to get out of the city and on to the other islands. I think I can hear the drums of Bora Bora calling us.
Sam & Sally
currently in Papeete, Tahiti