Shiny New Boat
A week late, but it was worth it because we now have a shiny new-looking boat. After an extended stay in the boat spa, Technimarine relaunched Jamala early morning on the 27th of July with her bottom smoothed, hull polished, propeller painted, and gear serviced. We even had crew onboard to help us.
Will and Julie, who we met at the hotel, wanted the experience, and we wanted help in case things got tricky getting out of the travel lift and into the marina. Fortunately, we had no problem with either, but it was a win-win anyway, with good company on the hour-long trip to the marina.
Being belt and braces sort of people, most of the time, we called into the marina office the day before launch to see what berths might be available the next morning. We selected one on the city side and asked our friends Mark and Cindy to help catch our lines when we arrived – which they kindly did.
This berth has proven to be a good one. There might be some clattering racket from the karaoke sessions in a nearby bar once a week, but it’s nice being in the city for a while. We can watch people go by at the back, and boats come and go out the front. And the boat next to us is a small whale-watching boat that takes people out once or twice a day, so there’s little risk of someone unfamiliar with the marina undoing all that hull polishing work by unceremoniously scraping their boat down our side.
Later, we invited Will and Julie for dinner onboard Jamala.
James the sailor, a fellow Ocean Cruising Club member. also visited us. James has his own YouTube channel – Sailing Triteia. His video on losing his rudder 1000 miles from Hawaii has been viewed over 3 million times. So, it’s fair to say he is doing well with sponsorship.
We stayed at the Sarah Nui hotel for so long, waiting for the boat work to be finished, that the lady in charge of the breakfast service presented us each with a leaving gift on our last day, which was very sweet. She also introduced us to her son, Tahi, who is continuing his pilot training with Air New Zealand.
Tahi came to see us on Jamala a couple of days after arriving in Marina Papeete. During our conversation, I told him of the issue we had with a package that had gone missing after being sent to Tahiti Crew. Unprompted, he immediately phoned his cousin who works there to give her what sounded like a stiff reprimand for losing the package. Unfortunately, we never did get the parcel back, but Tahiti Crew did reimburse the total amount for the contents of the box and delivery – and it wasn’t cheap – so good on them.
Tahiti isn’t usually short of rain, and it isn’t possible to predict when a deluge will start. But, as the heat usually compensates for a soaking, it’s generally safe to venture out sans protection. So, when Bertrand and Pascale picked us up for a road trip, we expected the best but prepared for a bit of rain by carrying an umbrella. We didn’t expect a monsoon-like downfall as we were halfway up a hill on a hike.
It started well enough. We had no problems at the nice black sand beach we stopped at to take photographs. But things went quickly downhill shortly after we arrived at the Water Gardens Vaipahi.
Both Maria and I were wearing flip-flops, which made for comedic progress both up and down the hills. Maria would have lost a race against a sloth. Fortunately for me, I wasn’t as slow, and I had the umbrella. They say that life is a learning experience. Well, that is another lesson learned: wear proper shoes and take wet weather clothes. It might be hot and sweaty, but it would be hot, sweaty, drier and faster,
If we thought the weather unfortunate, the wedding party who started to gather for photographs at the waterfall, just as we decided to wash our muddied footwear in the pool, didn’t seem to mind at all.
After the soaking, we carried on to Teahupoo on Tahiti Iti, where global surfing tournaments take place. We planned to get on one of the small boats ferrying passengers back and forth to the reef to get a better look at the big wave. But that was scuppered by the rain. It was still hurling down, so we gave it a miss. But you can just about see the wave in the photo below taken from under the shelter of the restaurant where we stopped for lunch.
When we arrived at the botanic gardens, the rain had abated just enough for us to walk around in the dry. That led to another, albeit brief, comedic moment when Bertrand received an unceremonial bollocking from a park worker for picking up a chicken – risk of rejection apparently, both for him and the chicken. The collection of trees and water plants here is amazing, if not quite eerie, in some places.
Even a very slow and ageing Tarzan made an appearance.
The Sunday market is one of the ‘must sees’ on the Tahiti tourist trail. Judging by its popularity, it’s also a must-do for most of the population around Papeete. The crowd dodgers arrive bleary-eyed at 0530 to bag the best of the fruit, veg and bakery goods – so we are told. But we know for sure that at 0700 the place is packed.
Another attraction for tourists and locals alike is the 3-Brasseurs pub on Mondays when beer is two for one. The pub was also the location for Avelina’s leaving drinks. She is off to France for a while before, hopefully, returning to French Polynesia in a couple of months.
Stomping around the streets of Papeete uncovered some more street art. I think this is wonderful – there are some very talented artists around.
With the outside of the boat done, it was time to start work on finishing the upholstery. This was the part I had been putting off for an age. The complexity is high, and the chances of getting it right the first time are very low. But it’s now underway. Maria has chained me to the boat until I finish it, and there ain’t no going back.