After Andy did one last dive this morning, we decided to abandon the grouper. Logistics were continuing to make it difficult to pull off this National Geographic moment. First, we kept hearing the real rush of grouper would really come in July, Secondly, the grouper that were there were at 90+ feet. While this isn't too deep to dive, it is too deep to dive alone which leads us to third, it was getting to be too expensive to dive with the local dive shop everyday. They made no concessions for bringing your own gear and $5000 francs a dive was quickly adding up. Andy did get some fantastic footage (he pulled out the video camera for all of this) of hundreds of sharks. It looked pretty incredible to me. All kinds, just like the rest of our dives, only larger in numbers.
So, that leaves us on our way to Papeete (and yes, we're on a downwind run). It looks like there's at least 5 boats underway as we speak from the Tuamotus now and the anchorages and marinas are quite crowded. We'll probably anchor in front of the main marina, scope it all out for a few days and then decide where to park it for the duration.
I'm going to digress for a second and give part two to my "Annabelle" review in South Fakarava. I feel it's only fair. When Andy went in for his dive yesterday, we spoke with Annabelle a good bit...it seems her reluctance to serve cruisers is really tied up with how many guests she has. She currently has 28 guests and is at full capacity, so the idea of serving others is really stressing her out. She's afraid she's going to run out of everything. When she's not full, she's more than happy to serve cruisers (although I think it will still just be meals...it looks like she might be sticking to the no beer thing, but I can't tell for sure). She even finished our conversation with inviting us to breakfast this morning, her treat (although it was after her guests finished...it didn't feel like leftovers, but I'm pretty sure that's what it was). So in the end, for fellow cruisers passing through...it's worth a shot...doesn't hurt to ask.
Now, back to our story...One of the reasons we're eager to get to Tahiti is our bank. For all of my former co-workers in credit card, perk up here...I know we cruisers are a small group of people but the pain is very very great. There are two major problems and I thought we figured them out in Mexico and had it handled, but apparently not.
First, you must inform the bank that you'll be traveling out of the country. Check, we're not first timers; we had that covered. Our particular bank has a six month limitation on their system, so every six months you have to call back. It's a pain in the butt, but I'm aware of it, so when I called in February, I was told we were good until August.
Second, if we made any purchases from U.S. merchants and had them shipped to the U.S., our card was immediately cut off. Occasionally they would send us an email first but every time they did that, we were in a location without internet (and phone) so we didn't know about it until the time frame for replying was up and they had already declined our purchases (requiring us to not only have to call the bank again but go through the whole ordering process again - usually with a very sketchy internet connection). When I called in February, I made a special point to tell them that we would be ordering from U.S. companies and shipping within the U.S. while we were still traveling. To make a long story not quite as long, we got cutoff when trying to ship our new computer to Tahiti...I'm livid.
So that's priority number one, get the bank thing squared away and computer shipped. Then priority number two is a cold beer, and finally, pictures posted to the blog (presumably while drinking said beer). I am so looking forward to Tahiti. I've skirted around the issue a bit for fear of sounding shallow or weak, but I've been in isolation way too long. Andy's passion is diving and I certainly enjoy it for a bit, but I need a bit more stimulation. I'm looking forward to my walking tour I've mapped out of the city and hanging out with other cruisers we either haven't met yet, or haven't seen in a while. There's a big party from the 24th to the 26th (Dad, I think they're throwing it for your birthday), and it proves to be a fabulous time, complete with authentic French Polynesian games...and finally, kids! Poor Jake, it's been almost three months since he's seen another kid that speaks English!
Well, it's time to go check out the horizon...I see a squall coming. More to follow.
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