Stay in Tahiti and departure home!
Well, here we are, sitting in the Marina in Papeete, Tahiti, listing all the myriad things that need to be attended to on Mayaluga before we depart in days, weather window permitting. We had flirted with the idea of leaving Mayaluga in French Polynesia for 8 months and coming home, then spending another sailing season down here in the Society Islands. We both agree that three months would hardly be enough to sail and explore just this island group alone. The budget however would be too steep a price to pay, probably approaching $25k including an extra year boat insurance, hurricane storage, return air tickets home, and the attendant expenses associated with living in Victoria for several months without income. We are both happy with our decision to sail Mayaluga home and to get on with the rest of our lives. Karin will definitely be happy to disembark in Victoria, and I think I will be about “sailed-out”. We have already completed almost 8,000 NM and will cover another 6,000 NM sailing back to BC. We have only had crew on-board so far for the 700 NM Victoria to San Francisco, and the 3,000 NM Mexico to Marquesas, so most of our sailing has been just the two of us. We feel confidant about our abilities to complete the long offshore passages alone without crew, despite the very tiring aspects of constant watch keeping.
Tahiti has 250,000 inhabitants, quite clean generally, some evidence of poverty on the fringes, but overall prosperity appears to be the order of the day. There is no income tax here; government revenues are by way of consumer taxes. For visitors it is a very expensive place! Two burgers and fries with beer was over Cdn$70. Two parfeits were $40. The French government subsidizes Polynesia to the tune of over 2 billion Euros annually, so the locals manage to survive somehow. The streets are packed with new cars and SUV’s, a popular model here being the Porche Cayenne as an example.
I have walked more kilometers in the last little while than I can ever remember. I know the streets of Papeete like the back of my hand. Scouring the outlets for boat parts, unlike Victoria where just about anything you may want is available at Trotac Marine, and if they don’t have it, they will get it within 24 hours. Here they promise you that they can source it within 6 weeks! Dream on! We had an electrician on board to finally solve our charging issues through the engine alternator. We installed a new alternator and a new ACR, which was new when we left Victoria.
The Papeete annual festivals start this week, so it should be entertaining to say the least. Our slip at the Marina de Papeete is not only right downtown, it is also just a stone’s throw from the “city square” where it will all take place. We have tended not to eat out for reasons of budget, but we have treated ourselves to the “food-truck” experience on occasion. It’s quite unlike anything we have ever experienced, dozens of food-truck vendors set up in the city square between 5:00pm and 10:00pm with trestle-tables and plastic chairs by the hundreds in this open area of almost 2 acres. The whole downtown comes alive as thousands of visitors but mostly locals, throng the streets. We cannot help but reflect how Victoria’s downtown would thrive and benefit with such a novel approach to sucking thousands of people into the city centre every evening in summer.
We plan to sail on a NE beat into the wind and make a stop at one of the northern Tuomoto Islands on the way through to Hawaii. We need to gain several degrees of easting before we cross the equator again, and then once we are through the ITCZ (Inter Tropical Convergence Zone, otherwise known as the doldrums) and it’s attendant squalls, we will hopefully pick up the northern hemisphere trade-winds to propel us the balance of the 2,500+ NM to Hawaii on a rhumbline course. I think we are both a little apprehensive about this passage, largely because it is not a road well traveled, and also because it is quite late in the season. Last year in July, the Hawaii region was pummeled by three immense and severe “named” storm systems. Hopefully we will be spared that ordeal as we have retained the services of Bob McDavitt, a highly respected weather-router in New Zealand. Such a service cannot ensure that we will be spared the ordeal of storms. It will help us to choose the best passage to avoid the worst and take advantage of the best weather so we can make good miles every day. Mayaluga is a good all weather boat that has kept us safe. We are however conservative sailors and we reef down at night which does slow us down a bit and probably costs us about 20 NM each 24 hours. There is an old saying: “There are old sailors, and there are bold sailors, but there are no old bold sailors.” Haha. The funny thing however is how one’s perspective changes over time as one becomes conditioned to severe weather. We used to think that 10-15 foot seas were huge. Now we don’t even flinch until they get to 20 foot plus. Of course we do hope for calmer seas so that life on-board is more bearable and bruising and potential for severe injury becomes less.
We will continue to update our blog every few days at least if we can via radio, if of course we are able to get a computer to stay put on a horizontal surface!
Warm greetings from on-board Mayaluga about to leave Tahiti and move northwards. Every mile is a mile closer to home!