Maupiti, French Polynesia
The difference between a sailor story & a fairytale is that fairytales start with 'Once upon a time' & sailor stories start with 'There I was - this is no shit.' After that, it's all the same.
On our last night in Bora we reunited with our friends Roman & Isis plus newborn baby Rahiti on le Cochon Noir - formally known as Piggy or Oink Oink over the radio. We had them & Bill (who's at this point considered part of the family) over for the evening. Hanne made great sushi. One thing leads to another, as it always does, & everyone has gone to bed except Bill, Roman & I. Bill's telling amazing stories about Vietnam, Cartagena or Key West that always start with 'There I was, this is no shit', I'm being a good host & ribbing Roman about being Australian. In response Roman does his best kangaroo & koala impression. Hilarious! Great night.
By far the best part of the night was when Hanne was cozying up to Bill saying "oh I really want to get more experience on different sailboats *wistful sigh/flutters eyelashes*". He was quick to respond with "Oh yeah! Hey Joss, you wanna come sailing with me?"
A few nights prior on Galena, Bill & I stayed up chatting & listening to music long after my crew called it a night. We are both long in the tooth when it comes to stories. It was a(nother) great night. Special. During which I had already expressed my interest of sailing on different sailboats to expand my skills as a sailor. He watches us young whipper-snappers hiking, swimming & climbing things & had already decided to come with us to Maupiti. Having a tagalong couldn't ruin his reputation as a solo sailor Casanova too much, could it?
Bill would say "Darlin', having you as a tagalong could only improve my reputation."
I could hardly sleep I was so stoked to crew Galena! She is a 37footer nearly identical to the little boat in A Perfect Storm. It was very cool. Galena is very smooth. From afar, Paramour looks gap-toothed without a Main sail up. We're flying 3 sails - the Main, Stasel & Jenny. So many differences that are only noticeable when they're working. So interesting. We lash our tongues like whips & crack the rum as soon as the anchor is set. I could imagine sailing Galena alone, from the way the lines & instruments are set up, but Paramour (46ft) would be very difficult. (She has a working windlass! So much easier than pulling up the anchor chain by hand!) Very cool experience!
Maupiti is a beautiful tranquil little island, where locals stare at you as you go by, wave & say 'Iaorana!' – Hello in Tahitian. The bakery has been without flour for 15days. We are in withdrawal for delicious French baguettes.
It was because of Nusa Dua from Huahine we even fell upon this island. Pierre raved about it. They are here next to us as we pull in. When they come over we hit 'Guest mode', as opposed to when Bill's around. They are very nice people & tell us the location of the hike, the rays & the name of the next island we want to go to. It's good that somebody knows.
So we have a plan.
Day one is hiking. Pierre told us about a supposedly beautiful trail with stairs to the top of the island. We walk right past stairs on the road, because they are blocked with a sign reading Private Property.
We take a different road that goes seemingly upward. Jamie finds a trail in the trees; I follow reluctantly. We spend the next 3 hours bushwhacking our own trail through the bush through thistles & brambles. About halfway I decided it'll only be fun as a memory. Looking back, it's true! We all had so many scrapes, a couple bruises, & there was almost a devastating fall, but fun in hindsight. Not so fun that day. We took a peaceful break that would have been more satisfying if we were actually at the top & at the trail! The trail on the way down is actually beautiful & fun. Naturally we couldn't go up the same direction as doing down. This way was more....interesting.
Day two is Manta Ray hunting in the morning - before 8:30. They always come clean themselves on that rock there. Nusa Dua is there early too, before they head out. At 20ft the visibility isn't very good, & we never find them.
There is a reason I never make plans. They always go wrong. It’s nice to have goals, but don’t take them too seriously. Seriously. It was good fun anyway.
The cargo ship arrives on this day & we reserve baguettes for the morning. Capped the evening off with a farewell dinner, drinks & a lesson from Bill on chick flicks. We had been trying to to outdo him, but he is the master. Well played sir.
It is Remembrance Day/Veteran's Day when we say goodbye to Bill. A good friend. We make plans to learn to work the SSB radio & keep in touch with him along the way, but never figure it out.
These horizons are endless. We will surely meet again.
And don’t call me Shirley.