Today is July 15th. Antonia and I had been in Papeete for just over a week. For the first time in 6 months, J. Henry was docked. For the first time we could fill our water tanks with a hose from land, we could take things off of the boat to clean and we didn’t have to get in the dingy to make it to shore. This was big. We had been daydreaming of making it there for a week or so. We were excited to find a cold beer at a bar. It had been over a year since she had been to an actual bar, not so long for me but the idea was still thrilling. We had been dreaming of a grocery store, of internet and of all of the resources a city has to offer. We managed to find all that we were looking for, although my daydreams had grown far too extravagant. The first beer at the bar was in a place on the main street. I am totally fine with a touristy place for a single beer celebrating our arrival, but after months in the Marquesas and then in the Tuamotu Archipelago, the cartoon-like designs of Tikis on the walls, the shirts that were meant to look like a “Jack Daniels” label, and the bright neon lights were a bit much. Those details mixed with the noise of the streets and of some out of place music blasting all around, put both of us in a bit of a shock. We drank our beer and could hardly speak, both of us just looking around, jaws hanging. A few days in, and we began to assimilate a bit more. We met some other younger sailors, and our social life picked up. Every night we were invited somewhere for some sort of party or gathering. We had fun, but as time goes on, “city life” can wear you down. We had begun to miss the complete solitude of Tahanea; the clean clear water, swimming on the reefs, perfectly quiet nights and relatively free (as in dollars) living. We had been in Tahiti for a week and had a little over a week before Zach would fly in, we decided to provision and leave. The island of Moorea is a two-hour sail to the West. We planned to sail to Moorea and recover.
We are now in Cook Bay, a stunning harbor which runs so deep into the island, it nearly feels like a lake. We can see the reef on the horizon but here the water is murky and glassy, the air smells like the forest. We’ll head onto land this morning and see what we can find.
We will spend the next few days here, waiting for Zach to arrive. Then we will be back in Tahiti. There, Zach and I will make our plan for moving forward (more likely, moving backward). Antonia will likely sail with us for a week or so before getting on a flight back to Paris. She’s ready to get back to Europe so that she can start a new career and life; a big shift after living in the Marquesas for over a year.
Zach will be among the first travelers coming into French Polynesia from abroad. It will be interesting to see how things unfold. I am hoping the opening of these borders won’t bring a second wave of Covid-19, but I am skeptical. Locals are concerned as well, but many need the business. Many sailors are provisioning for several months and getting out of Tahiti in expectation of another lockdown and confinement.