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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Rendezvous

Greetings from Moorea (pronounced Muh-ray-ya).  We came over from Tahiti on the "Tahiti-Moorea Sailing Rendezvous" (race/rally), on Saturday, June 28.  The rendezvous actually began Friday afternoon at check-in, downtown Papeete by the port.  There was a tent set up with local vendors displaying their goods and services, there were games, arts and crafts, and then there was a formal Polynesian "Skippers Blessing" followed by dancers & local musicians, the reception and the crew briefing.  We got goodie bags with t-shirts, and the like. Afterward Bill and Judy from the yacht Bebe joined us for the "roulette" dinner in the port area.  This is a nightly event that we have enjoyed a few times.  Several cooking trailers are set up and arranged like outdoor restaurants taking up the entire plaza, making every edible delight you can imagine.  There is pizza, steaks, seafood, sushi, sashimi, hamburgers, Chinese food, Polynesian food, crepes, ice cream and sometimes entertainment as well.  Bill and Judy, by the way are from Houston, and sail a beautiful 53 ft. Amel yawl.  We have met several cruisers from my old stomping ground out here.   

Moving along…early Saturday morning we pulled away from the dock in Marina Taina to begin the rally in Papeete's downtown port.  We had agreed to take along 2 locals as guests aboard Destiny for the sail to Moorea, which is only 10 miles to the west.  Our guests turned out to be two young men named Nicholas!  Both were French; one from France and one from Tahiti.  They were adorable – about my daughter's age – and we enjoyed showing them around, teaching them the English words for things on Destiny. They did the same for us in French and in Polynesian. They wanted so much to be deck hands and to help us sail.  Sadly there was absolutely NO WIND!  The rally horn blew and all the boats sat bobbing with sails flapping around.  We were all laughing and calling to one another, cracking jokes about the "warp speeds" we were all pushing.  Finally after a couple of hours of agonizing flopping about, the race officials announced that we would motor to Moorea because lunch was being served at 1:00, and at the rate we were going it would take all day to get there.  When we arrived at the entrance of Vaiare, we were greeted by canoes and outriggers full of locals dressed in ceremonial garb, blowing horns and beating drums, calling out, "Ia Ora Na!"  It was wonderful.  Then we entered the most beautiful bay we have seen yet.  The water was so clear and blue that Frank kept saying we were in a swimming pool.  After getting anchored and settled in we all dinghyed to shore for the Polynesian feast and games.  The games were pretty challenging but we participated in most of them.  There was rock lifting where a local guy would lift larger and larger great big rocks and then a local would compete.  No one even came close to matching him.  There was an outrigger race – 4 of us and 2 locals to a canoe (mine came in next second to last!). There was this crazy javelin toss – a tall pole (35-40 ft. in height) stand in the middle of a large circle with a coconut on top of it and you try to get your javelin to stick into the coconut.  HA!  Many of us couldn't even pitch it half way up.  The locals were much better, although only one made it. There was a fruit carrying race; you carry a 6-ft pole over your shoulder from which coconuts and bananas hang, and run with it around 4 points.   There were some great prizes given for winning – but we didn't win any.  We had a wonderful time anyway.

So the events of the day came to a close and we all headed back to our floating homes to find that another large sailboat had dragged anchor and hit our beautiful Destiny.  We were heart sick at the sight.  Upon arrival, we found a French guy in our cockpit trying to settle the boats down.  According to him, the other boat had drifted into ours, hooking our anchor chain dragging Destiny along with it.  He had actually tied the other boat to ours with our Genoa sheets and had dropped our second anchor to prevent her from dragging further into other boats.  We could see there was damage because wood shavings were all over our deck and the other boat's life lines were drooping but we could not yet determine who had sustained what.  Thanks to the concerted efforts of other cruisers on Morning Light, Baraka & Cop Out the vessels were safely separated.  It was quite an ordeal, involving Ken from Cop Out diving to get the anchors apart, prudent maneuvering of the two sailboats, dinghies, people, anchor chains, ropes and lines.  We had to await first light to assess damages to Destiny, but could tell that the other yacht had incurred some.

Thank God Island Packet builds a solid yacht!  Sunday morning revealed no damage to the pulpit, toe rail, stanchions or the freeboard.  Frank and I dived to check our hull and found nothing more than a scratch to the gel coat on the starboard side.  I baked batches of brownies and delivered them to the four boats who had helped us out and we gave thanks many times over.  We stayed in this beautiful bay for a couple of days, enjoying her beauty.  The snorkeling was fabulous.  The coral here is in good shape and the fish and sea life are abundant.  Colors magnificent! We would liked to have stayed on for a while but by Monday mid-day it was time to mosey over to Baie de Cook (Captain Cook's Bay) to meet up with others. 

We're posting pictures today as well while we have internet.
while at sea:
Skype ID: frank.barb.gladney

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