Luggage lugging in paradise
The next phase of hard labour started when we arrived in Nuku Hiva: we needed to get the stuff we wanted to keep off the boat, stored away and shipped to the US. For that, we enlisted the help of Kevin at Nuku Hiva Yacht Services. Not only did Kevin give us some old suitcases, but he also lugged our stuff up his stairs for storage and gave us access to his loft so that we could sort things out and weigh the bags before leaving. Our initial thinking was to take the bags with us. But our estimate of how many suitcases we would end up with was way out: we thought six – ended up with twelve. So, Kevin sorted out transport to Tahiti, where Tahiti Crew will be taking care of their onward journey to the US.
The Moody 425 holds an incredible amount of gear. We had already gifted a lot of stuff in Hiva Oa and Tahuata, but still had more things to get off the boat, even after offloading the 12 bags. Our friends Carolyn and Andrew bought some of the provisions we bought in Fakarava. And they arranged for the excess to go to a local charity in the form of care packages, to which many other sailors in Taiohae Bay also contributed.
Hello revamped Taiohae Bay
The place has been brushed up a bit since the last time we visited. The road is finished, the Marae revamped, and there’s a cleaner look all around. It was also the run-up towards Christmas and workmen were in the process of transforming the town’s tree into a Christmas tree: a major operation keeping at least four people and a cherry picker busy each day for a fortnight or more. The result was handy for the motley crew. We used it as a landmark to find our way back to the boat after our preparations for Christmas involving copious quantities of alcohol – especially after visiting the Fat Susan crew who have been superstars.
And we decided to get Lady Jane into the festive spirit by bringing the lights out. We can’t take any credit for the Christmas tree shape – that’s all Ulrike’s idea.
Bring on the dancing girls
Maria, Carolyn and Ada attended Tahitian dancing classes in the run-up to Christmas. And on Friday, we fellas received an invite to watch. Even in that short time, they had become pretty good. It’s all in the hips and has nothing to do with shaking yer bum. The teacher explained to Maria ‘That’s sexy and we don’t do sexy.’
Goodbye Lady Jane. Hello Bella
It’s been so busy that it’s been impossible for us to get sentimental about selling Lady Jane, but we do have mixed feelings. She’s looked after us in the five years we have had her and has never let us down. For that, we are very grateful. But we know that Matthias and Ulrike will look after her and continue to improve her.
We couldn’t have wanted for better buyers. They invited us to look at their existing boat – a Hallberg Rassy 352 – and it’s immaculate. Matthias spent months preparing that boat before setting off across the Atlantic. He stripped out the interior, rewired and replumbed it and installed a new engine. The bilges are whiter than an arctic winter, and there’s not a drop of moisture in them. It’s a showcase of good craftsmanship. Lady Jane is in good hands.
Lady Jane officially changed hands on the 17th December at 1000 and Matthias, and Ulrike changed her name to Bella. The name change might seem a bit hasty, but they needed to photograph the back of the boat with the name and port on it to register the vessel in Germany.
We spent our last night in the Marquesas onboard Andrew and Carolyn’s boat, Askari. We didn’t break-in; they generously invited us to stay with them, and we are very grateful for their hospitality and help. We had a fun night and it was great to spend some time with them on board their super Oyster yacht.
Andrew took us ashore in the morning so that I could go with Kevin with the bags to get them booked onto the Aranui. That was an interesting process: measure the bags give the measurements to the woman behind the counter; she calculates the volume and tells you how much cash to liberate from your wallet. And that wasn’t too much – around £150 for the 12 bags – although it didn’t look that much in the container.
And Goodbye Dubarry Boots
While sorting through everything on the boat, I removed our oilies and boots from storage to send them to the US. Everything was in fine (if not slightly musty) condition except my Dubarry boots. The boots in the photograph below were stored in the dark for three years with some other, less-expensive, sea-boots that came out looking the same as they went in. I wrote to Dubarry about this, but their response amounted to a shrug of the shoulders: they couldn’t fix them. I calculate those boots have cost £5 per hour to wear. Won’t be going shopping with those folks again.
After our full-on activities over the last few weeks, we decided to treat ourselves to a stay at the Intercontinental Resort in Tahiti. The place is so refined that you get carried from the taxi and presented to the hotel management – just like the guest in the photograph below:
We also received an upgrade to an over-water bungalow. That was a welcome surprise. We were also surprised by the number of boats anchored around the hotel and the airport area. Our understanding was that anchoring is tightly restricted, but there appeared to be more boats in that area than last year.
The food in the Lotus restaurant at the hotel was superb. Maria almost fell into her chocolate dessert and mine was a work of art so fine, it was almost a shame to eat it.
Homeless in Tahiti
Our friends, who we have known since meeting in Lanzarote, Jan-Dirk and Jana on their Saba 50 catamaran, JaJapami, invited us to stay with them over Christmas before flying to Seattle. So, after checking out of the Intercontinental, we rode a taxi to Papeete Marina where we saw our JaJapami buddies for the first time in over a year. We couldn’t have wanted for a better time. We ate at a local Italian restaurant with them, saw Christmas with them, and kept the local wine trade in fine form. Jan’s cooking was excellent and we are beyond grateful for their kind hospitality and generosity.
We also had a reunion with Aveline, who we met in Hao. She was on holiday in Tahiti, so we arranged to meet for lunch. Aveline offered to drive us to the airport later in the day to catch our flight for Seattle. And when we arrived at Tahiti airport, she presented each of us with a parting present of a Lei made of shells before saying goodbye. The tradition is to say hello with flowers and goodbye with shells.
Sleeping in Seattle
So, that’s it for now. We arrived in Seattle without incident and are spending the New Year’s start in our hotel room before heading up to Anacortes to see our new boat.
Our new boat is an Amel Super Maramu 2000. The photographs below were taken by the previous owners, but we shall post more in the coming weeks. In the meantime, if you want to get an overview of what the boat is and what it looks like inside, search for Amel Super Maramu 2000 on YouTube, and you will find a few walkthroughs. They are an extraordinary type of yacht.