Monday, June 13, 2011

South Pacific Expedition - Papeete and Moorea

Papeete with Moorea in the background
Baxter and I dropped Kala off at summer camp with plenty of kisses and promises that she will have fun and headed to the airport for our Mahina adventure.  We said goodbye to Utah with a raspberry wheat at Wasatch Brewery in the airport and had a rather non-eventful flight to LA.  For anyone who has flown through LAX, you will understand what I mean when I say that they are in desperate need of renovation.  Suddenly Atlanta Hartsfield looked like a travelers dream.  We took our bags (2 duffels and 2 backpacks) all the way around to one terminal (about 3/4 of a mile outside in the parking lot) only to find out that Air New Zealand code shared our flight with Air Tahiti Nui and we had to walk back another 1/2 mile to the international terminal.  So glad we allowed plenty of time.  With a nice relaxing flight to Papeete, we arrived at 6 a.m. the next morning and decided instead of buses or taxis, we would just enjoy the tropical air and walk to our hotel - it really helped us feel that we arrived.  Since it was early, we didn't expect the hotel to allow us to check in but maybe we could drop our bags.  To our surprise, they had our room ready.  We put the bags down, donned the swimsuits and headed to the beach.  By 9:30, we were whipped and had to take a nap.  By the afternoon, we woke up just in time for a fruity umbrella drink, a dip in the pool and then dinner with one of our expedition mates.  The next few days continued in relatively the same pattern with a trip down to the marina where we would meet the boat, a kayaking adventure in the harbor where Baxter played with an outrigger canoe, and a trip to the Papeete market.

Cook's Bay - Moorea

Baxter sailing to Houhine in the sunset
On Friday, we moved onto the boat and met the 6 other crew members, had orientation of the boat and then immediately set sail for Moorea.   We spent one night there, anchoring in Opunohu Bay and Cook's Bay (site of Mutiny on The Bounty where Capt Bligh and Fletcher Christian parted ways) where we had a safety class.  After sunset the second evening we headed to Houhine which was an 18-hour overnight sail, to arrive at first light.  It was our first night adhering to the passage watch schedule with the crew, where you were scheduled for 2 hours on and 4 hours off.  It really wasn't bad getting up at 2 am to take the helm and it really gave us confidence in an overnight passage with just the two of us.   Considering this was day two, we couldn't wait to see how our skills and confidence would evolve throughout the expedition and how that knowledge would transfer to sailing Stella Blue when we get home.

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