14,716 nautical miles, 813 days, one a***hole
That isn’t a bad record, is it? It’s taken almost 15,000 miles and over two years to come across our first real arsehole. And even then we didn’t see him.
Maria and I were celebrating our wedding anniversary at the Huahine Yacht club when a young French girl came over to us to ask if we have a boat on the dinghy dock. She explained that the guy who organises boat tours from the building next door to the Yacht Club had jumped into our dinghy, opened the petrol tank and poured the contents into our dinghy. ‘He went crazy’, she said. But she didn’t understand why he did it – and nor do we. We are always careful to make sure that we are not in the way of anyone and leave the dinghy on a long line. All I can assume is that he took exception it being locked to the cleat because he couldn’t nick it.
We paid up and went to look at the aftermath of this lunatic’s assault. Fortunately, there was still plenty of fuel left in the tank to get back to Lady Jane. But the smell of petrol was nauseating. I went to see if I could find this guy. We are ultra-careful not to pollute the sea when filling the dinghy tank, almost to the point of paranoia. We use a huge funnel in an attempt not to spill any fuel, and have soak cloths at the ready just in case anything does spill. So, I was extremely pissed off. Fortunately, though – for him, me, or both – the shop was closed, and there was nobody around.
The dinghy has an automatic valve that allows fluids out of the dinghy but not back in, so much of the petrol had already flowed out into the sea. After getting back to the dinghy, I used a cloth to soak up the floor as best as I could, but there was little I could do to prevent the remaining fuel leaking into the water. What a tosser.
Whales, Rainbows and Spirituality
That one incident aside, we have enjoyed our stay here in Huahine. When we arrived, after a pleasant overnight sail from Moorea, a beautiful rainbow and a small pod of whales greeted us outside the pass – just visible on the photograph below. And we have found the local people (except for one) to be friendly.
We found a great place to anchor in the sand between the two passes, then the next day we moved to a mooring line that I spotted when snorkelling around the boat. It was in good condition, with two chains to independent anchor points, but the float had broken free.
Only mad dogs and Englishmen – and Women
We were going to hire electric bikes on our wedding anniversary and pedal over to the Fare Potee at Maeva. Maeva is the ancient capital of Huahine and one of the foremost spiritual centres of Polynesia. Unfortunately for us, however, a cruise ship had arrived that morning, and the bikes had been snapped up by the passengers. So, we set off on foot.
We walked south first of all – to see what was there – and then back north again towards Maeva. After sweating away for what felt like miles, we looked at Google Maps to see how far we had to go. Another hour was the answer. So, we did what any sensible traveller would do: stuck our thumbs out for a lift. And within two minutes a woman, with her two children, in an SUV stopped for us. She sorted the seating arrangements so that I could sit in the front, and Maria in the back and took us all the way to Fare Potee.
At the Fare Potee, we met some archaeologists who have been living in Huahine here for years. They told us it’s better to come here without bikes because stealing is a local pastime. Thieving isn’t to transform stolen goods into cash; apparently, it’s a bit of a sport. Although we read on Noonsite that a sailor had $2,000 taken from their boat, so it’s good to be cautious.
As we come out of the building, the archaeologist folks also told us of a walking trail not far from the museum. So, we headed over to take a trek around.
Chemin de Randonnee
A group of local guys immaculately maintain the trail. We found them working on the grounds nearby, and one of them came over to show us where the trail starts. We followed his directions, took a deep breath and off we went into the forest and up the hill. It was great to do this; we haven’t hiked anywhere since leaving the Marquesas. Towards the top of the hill are a couple of Maraes (communal and sacred meeting grounds) which were also immaculately tended. The hiking trail may be small, but it’s nearly perfectly formed.
After arriving back down, we didn’t feel much like walking back to Fare. So, our thumbs went back out, and another car stopped. This one with a Taxi sign on the top of it. Bugger. But we agreed on the price and hopped in. Vincent treated us to an explanation, in French, of how Huahine got its name. The term “Hua” means ‘lady parts’, he said. And the “hine” is extracted from Vahine meaning woman. Put them together, and you have Huahine. So, there you go.
On the back seat of Vincent’s car was a ukulele. He invited me to take a look at it then to play it, which I did. Badly. So, in an admirable display of multitasking – driving while playing – he took over and belted out a tune. And he was pretty good.
Rain and more rain
It might be warm rain, but it still soaks you through. The deluge started as we came back from the Yacht Club on our anniversary night and it has hardly stopped since. So, we have been voluntarily boat-bound. There’s currently a front passing over Huahine and Tahiti which should clear on Monday. And as soon as it has – we are off to Raiatea.