Society Cruising & Competition
July 21st and a new era for me and Saorsa.
Over a year ago cruising up and down America John and I met. At first we were just racing our boats, fixing them, individually enjoying America, our love for ice cream and exploring the East Coast. Our paths crossed several times due to events with the Ocean Cruising Club and we had a real hoot racing the two boats over 1600 miles to Antigua.
John had made commitments to work in St Maarten and I had committed to do the World ARC with a great female crew as far as Fiji. We tentatively said that it would be great to sail together in Fji in the third week of July. It gave us both space to decide what next or even if there was a next. As the weeks ticked by the emails, satellite coms, and whats app communication grew and blossomed. John sailed his boat (Hanse 53) 4000 miles back to the UK and despite Covids best attempts he arrived in Tahiti bang on schedule the third week in July!.
Day 1 of his arrival we needed to keep him awake to combat jet lag, so in good Lamb fashion a hike was called for. Turns out John is rather fit (fortunately), as he survived a good 12km hike up a large mountain, an ice cold dip in the waterfall pool at the top and was brave enough to follow me down a water chute.
It took less than a week for John to start feeling at home – he loves to tinker and it turns out I had systems on board
that were not functioning to their full capability, if at all. Within a week the windless was rescued from near doom, (a very corroded bearing) and several electrical switches nurtured back into service for sensible duties. We can now switch the deck light on and off from the cockpit – something the girls would have loved. Also old pumps that haven’t worked since I got the boat have been extracted, stripped and re-engineered. With Saorsa very happy to have someone really step up the TLC I found myself loving having a fellow competitive sailor on board.
A month in the Society islands has proven an awesome place for John and I to enjoy some fabulous sailing, explore and keep the competitive spirit fuelled.
It started with a resounding test of our sailing compatibility – a race from Tahiti to Moorea.
We met all expectations crossing the start line first and holding off the Open 60 till half way. We had a great day with
Hoarai & Aravihi, two locals who we agreed to take on board for the trip to Moorea as part of a local program to enhance local yacht relationships. On arrival there was more competition in the local canoe race, where Nicola, John, Amilie and myself ably lead by May (the local young lady expert on canoeing, who was tiny but as strong as an ox), we stormed the heats and romped home exhausted to take first place.
After Moorea we headed for Huahini meeting up with the crew of Sapphire for a bike around the island to soak up the islands beauty and of course a well deserved lunch. The island of Tahaa treated us to a spectacular underwater display of colour with a Coral garden thriving in fish life. At this point we found ourselves in the middle of nowhere needing a Notary to verify some documents to enable John to travel to NZ in November.
Thanks to the local Gendarme and google translator we located one on the neighbouring island of Raiatea, so off we toddled and found a beautiful mooring on a turquoise reef at the cost of a 6 pack of beer.
Paper work done and yet another picturesque sunset and motionless night behind a reef we set forth to Bora Bora. This island looks stunning from Tahaa, or Maupiti, and indeed is a picturesque spot.
The place was special for us because we met up with old friends from the World Arc and had a fabulous night at the Bora Bora yacht Club and Bloody Marys with Island Wander, Sapphire, Celtic Star and Kari. It is often described as the jewel of French Polynesia. For both John and I, that was yet to come.
Maupiti is a gem. It has a reputation amongst sailors of being difficult to get in and out of the reef that surrounds the island of Maupiti, and indeed some boats we know have tried a few times to go there and turned back. We were fortunate and got in on our first attempt leaving the waves behind and entering a lagoon vibrant in colour and beauty. We are stuck here for at least a week because the weather window to depart and head east is rare and currently there are 5m waves crashing around the reef.
It is just a pleasure and a privilege to be here. With no hotels and only four other boats anchored around the atoll, it is heaven to us. This morning we snorkelled with Mantas and took the dinghy on an expedition across the turquoise waters. This afternoon we need to try and fix the hot water element.
Oh, and yes the competitive spirit continues, John and I are both bread lovers. This week we are nurturing sourdough starters, and today is our first sourdough bread experiment…. Not bad for beginners, his tastes better mine and most defiantly looks more stylish.
In the meantime we feel so lucky to be here in Maupiti....