It featured the most exciting upset in its history. The Tahiti-Moorea Rendez-Vous, which took place from June 24-27, has to have been the most momentous yet, at least partially attributable to the six-man outrigger canoe racing final, in which our own Michael participated. Michael, together with our friends Krister (s/v Brittania), Lauren (s/v Pico), Evan (s/v Ceilydh) and two professionals were in the final heat when the nose of their canoe crossed the finished line first, just as the canoe tipped and was overtaken by the competition. Lucky for us, it’s the nose that counts, but it took several long anxiety-ridden moments of judges’ deliberation to make the call.
The weekend’s events were also highlighted by Saturday’s rally of about 40 boats from the starting line in Tahiti over approximately 15 miles to Opunohu Bay on the magnificent jagged peaked island of Moorea. Harrison decided to switch places with Amanda aboard s/v Brittania so that he and Brittania’s captain Krister could sail their 35 foot sloop while playing guitar and bonding. The winds quickly died, and only 8 boats actually crossed the finish line without having motored at least part of the way. Brittania was one of those eight and earned them (and Harrison) a mention in the the sailing magazine Latitude 38 (see this link). Our friends aboard s/v Ceilydh earned second place, but came first among cruisers (the first place winner was a local boat without all the cruising gear aboard). Aboard Whatcha Gonna Do, we got a bit too impatient trying to sail without power but we did serve up some great eats for our guests Amanda (s/v Brittania, who had never sailed on a cat before), Julie (the wife of Latitude 38’s editor Andy Turpin), and Philip (of Cars for Cruisers in Opua Bay, NZ, one of the sponsors of the Rendez-Vous).
The kids had a blast participating in coconut husking, stone lifting, and banana carrying races during Sunday’s events, as well as kids and women’s outrigger canoe races. We spent a lot of time catching up with other cruising friends, eating and drinking and singing and dancing. Michael in particular enjoyed the Tahitian dance lessons. The Polynesian charm was contagious.
The kids’ rendez-vous followed the adult activities on Monday – they spent the day on the beach with about 25 other kids playing capture the flag, swimming and snorkeling, husking coconuts, and other things kids do when they just hang out at the beach. The swarms of kids have continued since.
Part of the fun for our crew was rafting up with s/v Brittania in Moorea. It was like having a sleepover but without needing to clean the sheets. Krister and Amanda are 30-somethings from the San Francisco Bay area who learned to sail only 2 years before taking off for the South Pacific. They are the kind of people you want around always. Harrison coined it for us: Free help and free happiness.
While in Moorea we also managed to snorkel underwater tikis, we swam with stingrays and we did yoga on the beach in the mornings. And we are now back anchored at Marina Taina just outside Papeete in Tahiti, getting some R&R after a packed few days.