Tuesday, June 28, 2011

2011 Tahiti Moorea Sailing rendez-vous

Ancorage in Moorea
Well, we had no idea what kind of time we were going to have.  I think I mentioned we were a little intimidated by all of the people here for this rendezvous given that we haven't been in the company of more than 3 boats at a time for about 6 weeks.  But I have to say we have had a blast and been pleasantly surprised at how much fun it can be to party with 100 boats!

The weekend started off with a special kickoff downtown given by the local government, a few sponsors and Latitude 38.  Sort of a "Thanks for coming, don't forget to tell all of your friends how nice we are" kind of thing.  We were more than a little late for the festivities as I failed to get proper directions.  I could have sworn I read that everything was on the waterfront but apparently I was wrong (It doesn't happen very often you know).  We finally found some fellow cruisers in a bar we walked through and luckily they knew how to read and told us it was in the City Hall.  They also knew how to read a map and gave us proper directions.  After a very long (very long) heartfelt welcome, we were all given special lei's made out of shells and Andy and Jake were given little bracelets made from woven palm fronds that were supposed to bring good luck to the Captain, crew and boat.  Eventually we were led to the waterfront (I knew it was part of the festivities somewhere) where we ate dinner at one of the Roulettes (trucks/vans that open their windows, set out tables and serve huge plates of food...very good) and watched our first Polyesian show.  We were able to find the bus back to the boat around 8:30...I wish I had taken a picture of Jake....he had played really hard and was trying to fall asleep, all the while sporting all of our leis, complete with a fresh flower behind his ear, truly embracing his new polynesian lifesyle.

Our Agent Cindy...she was absolutely fantastic and well
worth the cost....very nice lady.

Saturday morning was the rally over to Moorea.  This is a sailboat Rally (not a race, everyone was sure to repeat over and over) from the main pass in Papeete to the neighboring island of Moorea.  It was complete and utter chaos at the starting line but turned out to be a lot of fun.  We got a quick start as we avoided near collision with 3 other boats and went around the lead boat.  Unforntunately, there was no wind.  We all found ourselves moving at about 2 knots to nowhere.  About and hour into it, the race committee was considering calling the whole thing early so that we could ensure we all arrived before dark.  About that time, the wind shifted and we were the first to realize it.  We whipped out the spinnaker and finally picked up speed to about 7.5 knots.  Our first mistake was to announce it over the radio...because suddenly, instead of being all alone with one other boat (a beautiful monohull in front of us - the lead spot) while others were closer to land losing the race, we were being followed by a ton of spinnakers!  To make a long blog a tad bit shorter, we started out in 2nd place and ended in 5th out of only 9 boats who chose to sail the whole way...everyone else eventually gave in and turned on their motor.  We're taking pride in being the first boat to put their spinnaker up, the first boat to wrap their spinnaker, and the first boat to take it down!   We never expected to win anyway, but it was nice being in the front for a while.  The cocktail party on the beach following the race was a blast and I even got a chance to show off my dance moves with a few polynesian men (I think someone else has some pictures, I'll try to get a hold of them and post later).  I got a few compliments that makes me think I might still have it (or not)!

Today we were back on shore by 9:30 for the Polynesian games.  Andy and I were on a team with Finoa and Tommy on Phambili...we were called Team Catastrophe, a name we wore well.  We ended up coming in very last on the canoe races but we're pretty convinced our polynesian crew were sandbagging us...that's our story and we're sticking to it.  Andy made a good showing in the banana carrying races but we both opted out of the heavy lifting of stones.  I enjoyed some of the extra curricular activites they had...making leis, dying our own Pareos and buying a few pearls.  And we were finally shown the secret to cracking open coconuts.

Andy carrying his bananas

These are all class C pearls but the price was right for me!

What was Jake doing during all of this you might be wondering.  Doing what Jake does best...playing, playing, playing.  There were tons of kids but he and Natalie seem to hit if off the best and they spent all day playing in the sand and water.  He had a hard time taking time out to root for his old parents in the boat races...I'm not even sure he noticed we were gone.

The day ended with an empty cooler (it was freeflowing with free rum punch all day) and what had to be a lot of tired Polynesian dancers...they never stopped.  Awards were given and we were lucky enough to take home a nice shirt, a hat, souvenier seashell and lots and lots of flowered leis.  We're taking it easy tonight because tomorrow, there's a kid party.  I'm not sure they really need it, as by the end of the weekend, I think they're about tired of each other.  However, it'll be nice to not have to worry about whether or not our kid is bugging someone as everyone there will be parents and have a little bugger of their own.

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