I am indebted in Rangiroa. Every Franc spent, everytime we hitchhike to get around is owed to someone else. I lost my credit card on July 3rd in Panama. It was weird to call Mastercard on a broken Skype connection & tell them to send it to Tahiti. I have to cross my fingers & hope it is waiting for me there!
This is the place for scuba diving. Famous in French Polynesia means world class. Jimmy, Jamie & Hanne are certified divers, while Chris & I took our intro dive. Scuba diving is something I could see myself becoming obsessed with. There is so much. In one little reef there are velvet purple sponges, erratic coral with fish emanating from within, vibrant neon fish, eels with big gaping mouths that seem animatronic, one chill shark in the distance through the blue pallor, soundless communication, grits of sand & shells, oysters with their velvet tongues sticking out. On a break from scraping the hull, I'd go snorkeling & diving down to watch the buggy eyed fish go about their days. Squirrelfish are my favourite.
When the first catamaran arrived, we went over straightaway to introduce ourselves. (We’re keeners.) The exchange went like this:
"Hey! Where're you from?"
"Hey! I'm looking for crew!"
This is Dan the Irishman. A 23yr old skipper, looking for young blood to make up for the 3 months he spent in Marquesas alone. The feeling is reciprocal. Even though our first night with him was tame with his girlfriend & formal drinks, he gained himself an open invitation to come chill out aboard. Which spells debauchery. One morning had him wrapped in our Jenny sail on the bow too hungover too function. Meanwhile the boys were just getting started & we were all slaving away to sew it up with bottlecaps taped to our fingers as homemade thimbles. He takes way too much pleasure in drunkenly teaching us knots & talks an exceptional amount of shit.
Family nights are do-it-yourself sushi with Bigfish ("from all over" w/ 3 kids) & Santa Paz (Brazil, 2 kids) - our new neighbors. Camaraderie outside our family of 5 is extremely refreshing.
Bigfish & Santa Paz really taught us a thing or two about life on the water with kids. Their kids are amazing. They are the most personable homeschooled kids I've ever met with seriously good heads on their shoulders. Alex came over almost every night to watch movies, Iyla would drive the dinghy boat to boat, & Max took us maniacal tubing one day & regales us with his big fish stories. They taught us the
do's & don'ts about swimming with sharks. They've got all these incredible skills already - kitesurfing, freediving, scuba diving & teaching themselves out of a textbook. Even when it comes to climbing the mast, they all show awareness of their own limitations, but move with such ease; second-nature safe about everything.
Makes you wonder what life could have been like, & all the possibilities yet to come...