The Leeward Islands

June 30, 2003

Our last message to you came soon after our arrival in Papeete. After rereading that message, I think that we must have still been in a little shock with the bond payment and the high prices. We have been assured since that time that prices in Britain can equal or exceed the prices here. You can bet that we will not do much traveling in Britain!

After all is said and done, we can honestly say that we have enjoyed our stay on every single one of the islands in Polynesia for different reasons. One of our photos shows the anchorage in Papeete at sunset with Moorea in the background. You will also notice the outrigger canoes with the men paddling them. Every day and evening, at the anchorage, it was the same. These men (and women) came to paddle their outriggers with the same concentration and determination that we have seen in professional sports. The cadence of the work was quite mesmerizing. One of the paddlers in the center determines when they switch sides and with a verbal signal (Hup!) each paddler takes his paddle to the opposite side and they never lose a beat. Even when someone stops paddling for some reason, you can see his/her body moving with the beat. While moving from one anchorage to another on the island of Moorea, two of these boats (one with men and the other with women) challenged themselves to overtake us and nearly did. The women, in fact, outran us even with 1500 RPM on our engine. Bravo!

Because some of our readers have never met us, we decided to include photos of ourselves this time. Sander’s photo was taken on the south end of Moorea while he was attempting to fix the family car. The tires have had a slow leak for a while and the valves had to be removed for cleaning. Then the tires were filled with a car product called “stop leak” or something like that. The valiant effort was made – the tires still leak.

Jane’s photo was taken to show some of her shells that she has found lately. One of her favorite things to do is snorkeling. Now when she snorkels, she looks for shells at the same time. The best shells are on the bottom in sand near the reefs. Of course, if they are on the bottom that also means there are sea creatures still in them and it can be quite a job (smelly too) to remove the creatures.

After three weeks in Papeete, we decided to do our check-out procedure to see if we could get our bond money returned. Everyone discouraged us saying they were sure that we would have to wait until the final check-out in Bora Bora in July. The paperwork that we received from the officials in Papeete even stated that the refund would come in Bora Bora. We decided that we would take the paperwork to the bank in Papee)te and play dumb about the whole thing. No problem! They did not seem to care where or when they paid the refund - Voila! - we had the money in hand to pay for the sail repair and buy our fuel. It worked out beautifully. We spent several lovely days on Moorea with John and Bridget, our cruising friends from Britain and then made the 80-mile trip to the Leewards Islands, Huahine and now Tahaa. Please bare with me for a little language lesson now. The Polynesian words have many vowels in them and each of the vowels must be pronounced.

A is pronounced like a short “O” E is pronounced like a long “A” I is pronounced like a long “E” O is pronounced like a long “O” and U is pronounced like our “oo” All very similar to Spanish in this way… Here are some of my favorite names: (Don’t forget to pronounce every single vowel!) Papaiapaapaa (Papa-ee-a-pa-a-pa-a

Tahuaohata, Mt. Teraumaramarama and Baie de Haamene The last was where we anchored for several days while Sander took apart the engine to look for a leak in the heat exchanger. This bay was four miles inland and very quiet and safe. We could not chance an anchor dragging while we had no engine to use. The problem was found – some severe corrosion in the head that holds the heat exchanger at the entrance and exit holes for the water. Sander rebuilt the areas with JB Weld and we will hope that it holds together until our arrival in NZ where something more permanent will have to be done.

Wow! This is the last day of June and it is hard to believe that we have been in the South Pacific for two months already. We will spend another week circumnavigating the island of Raiatea and then we will sail the 22 miles to Bora Bora. We will try to write again from Bora Bora before we make the crossing to the Cook Islands.

We look forward to hearing from you on our ham system with the address: **

Jane and Sander