Ioarana (hello in Tahitian, pronounced yorana) and greetings from the ever sunny islands of the Society Archipelago, from Dizzy.
We have rejoined the real world of commerce and bustle in Tahiti, sailing back into the foreign bizzarities of traffic, Shops, refrigerated dairy products (yeeew) and busy streets. The movement and hurry seems strange after the solitude of deserted atolls to re-accustom to, but the beautiful melting pot of Polynesian and Asian heritage amongst the tropical flower cloaked girls here is making the transition easier.
Our first anchorage in Tahiti was Teahupoo, which oozes a majestic power and magic unparalleled by anywhere I have seen. In addition to having one of the world’s most menacing and perfect wave, the coast is collared by mountains that abruptly rocket into the clouds, tangled in green jungle, spurting waterfalls from angular spines. I remember watching the most hideous waves unload onto the coral with the mountain backdrops and thinking I was in a Peter Pan style cartoon. As shown in the pictures, there’s some amazing big blue waves to behold in these islands.
In the water, the Aloha (Hawaiian word meaning the pure spirit of surfing brotherhood) is potent. On the biggest, most menacing days, Everyone joins in a round of applause, hollering and celebrating together for any surfer paddling back from previous waves with leering grins, a smile that screams ear to ear that you just got the barrel of your life. Shakas and handshakes from the localised line-up for the monster slaying (or the odd heinous beating when things don’t go your way). Feels good.
The crowds are minimal as the wave is situated a two hour drive from the main population centre of Tahiti, and there’s only a handful of locals willing to give the wave a nudge, so most days it was a few familiar faces in the water at most. Even then many waves go completely unchallenged, as they roar down the reef screaming defiance in gigantic bellowing blue pride, daring anyone to try, while the surfers squirm about, feigning indifference and trying to convince anyone else but them into running the gauntlet.
We arrived and anchored four days before a 4-5 metre south-west pulse rocked the coast. When the swell was peaking I was sharing the beasties with five pro surfer/bodyboarders and a flotilla of photographers milling and bobbing in the channel. Floating around them where multiple tourist boats, bringing the curious to observe the greatest show on earth, and two rescue sled teams on the sidelines, which fortunately the services of which I never had to call upon. That day had the ambience of the Roman Coliseum, an arena where there can only be one player at a time running from the beast. The perspective of sitting deep in the throat of a growling cavern, the spectrum of blue hurtling around you more diverse than any colour chart, muscling and wrestling with all your strength to reach the channel where the crowd sits in safety gawking at the mayhem is an image that continues to tweak me out to this day. If you are released from the bowels of the monster and get spat like a grape seed into the channel, your brain cells are fizzing, short circuiting and exploding from over-stimulation, such is the adrenaline charge and relief that renders you a shaking, tweaking, unintelligible fool, Higher than a kite of your own bodies greatest drugs. I think I found my new favourite place on earth, A surreal playground for the insane.
On our Immediate agenda is to find our furry buddy. My fuzzy friend P kitty has gone AWOL and hasn’t made it back yet and the wondering of his wandering is killing me. Even worse is seeing our captain without his little furry sailor friend, as they were a powerful cruising salty seamen duo. Its harsh to have to witness a man who has only exhibited the best vibes have something like this happen to them. We are tumbling over peoples fences and stumbling about the local properties meowing at all hours of the day and night (in the process making a most entertaining comical sight for the locals), and are holding hope that one of our many posters in the neighbourhoods will eventuate in his safe return.
I took the previous weeks off cat hunt duty on account of my brief hospitalization. I went out to check the social scene on a Saturday night, and awoke the following afternoon with tubes in my arms, caked in my own blood in emergency at Papeete hospital. This was not the circumstance I was expecting or hoping to wake to when I pried open my swollen eyes into the hazy day. Some very nice man got drunk and decided to stomp me about, and proceeded to let me headbutt his fists as I had a little rest in the gutter. Our crew has been repeatedly warned about the other side of Polynesian hospitality, that when they drink they don’t handle themselves with as much merriment as we are used to at home, and are prone to getting a bit punchy. Turns out I have a broken nose and lot of swelling and a few cuts and what not, but as the realists often say in irritating tones, it could have been much worse. Looks like I’ll be having a bit of a quiet healing week, and at the end of the day I’m not at all fussed by the situation (Big cheers to France for footing the medical bills) I’m still literally floating in paradise, I just want the freakin cat back.
We managed to spend enough time anchored around the island of Moorea to become friends with many a familiar face from the surf. A particularly lovely Polynesian princess, Vainui (Hawaiian for a large mass of water moving) of Moorean descent, initiated me to more than just the delightful surf fringing the coral reefs, and took me hiking through the lush valleys and hills. I was able to sweat my way through the elevations to be rewarded with a view of Cooks bay where the Natural Mystic floated in sun drenched contention. In the foreground is the main industry on the Island, other than tourism, of Pineapple and Papaya fields hugging the coastline. Through Vainui’s introduction, some memorable BBQ’s, beers and waves were enjoyed on her home Island, and it was a treat to share some great times with a true lady of the local ocean.
For our daily agenda we are attending to the reparation of our boats and boards various ailments here at Marina Taina and to avoid getting smote by psycho cyclones December – March. This means sailing north from here to explore a few island chains that from Google earth reconnaissance proves to be mighty alluring. Tomorrow morning our new photographer, Dom, will be coming to join us to continue capturing our magic mission. With that final piece in place we will be off into an unknown endless blue horizon to have a good look about the less frequented parts of a big ocean.
It looks be an interesting upcoming path into unknown territories. There’s a supply ship that services our intended region four times a year, but broke and hasn’t visited in 7 months. Yippee. We have stocked an arsenal of fish killing equipment, as that’s where dinner is coming from. The culture/diet etc has changed minimally since Captain Cook first rowed ashore so we best play nice or they might eat us. We have already done two months out from shops and services through the Tuamotus and were comfortably self sufficient. We generated electricity for five people from solar and wind, and gathered and fished for our sustenance. Four months is a different ball game, but as they say in America, whatever.
Hope you enjoy the images of our latest dreams and dramas, and look forward to reporting on what we encounter on our next trajectory into the unknown. I would also like to wish a Naturally Mystical Merry Christmas to our most missed at this time of year. We had a tropical Christmas relaxing on anchor of one of the more beautiful islands you could fathom, chasing waves around the corners and crannies of this paradise, but our thoughts were with those far away, family and friends at this time of year. Wishing you all stellar celebrations, gentle hangovers, and a fulfilling 2009!
Thanks for reading. Peace Diz