Quick Fix: 17° 29.28 S / 149° 52.74 W

February 26th 2012 (day 1,732)
Conditions:  Wind: 10/ENE     Sky: Mostly Clear
                    Boat SPD: 0   (Anchored)

A Nice Sunday Drive
It's Sunday here in Moorea, so Catherine and I did something terribly British - we went for a nice drive. You see, in England it's quite common for couples and families to take a drive on Sunday, usually out to the country or down
to the seaside, and more often than not for no particular reason other than to get out of the house, burn-off some incredibly expensive petrol, cause nationwide traffic jams, and perhaps stop off for a nice pub lunch along the way.
So we took a three mile, thirty minute dinghy ride from our anchorage over to a little restaurant on the beach - the food was excellent, far better than any pub lunch I've ever had,
the beer not so much. But all in all, it was a lovely day. - NH


Quick Fix: 17° 29.48 S / 149° 51.14 W

February 22nd 2012 (day 1,728)
Conditions:  Wind: 18/NE     Sky: Clear
                    Boat SPD: 0   (Anchored)

The World's Safest Fish
Even though it's the rainy season down here in the soggy South Pacific, we're going through a bit of a dry spell - we haven't caught a single fish for weeks! But we have met Kevin Stafford, crew from the Wizard, the fishing boat featured on Discovery's - Deadliest Catch television series. Kevin's an accomplished sailor (currently sailing solo from Tahiti to Hawaii on Pahto, his 28' Cape Dory!) and he's
a professional fisherman, too. But after spending hours together trawling for tuna, Mahi Mahi, Wahoo or anything that even closely resembles a fish, we didn't catch anything - but we did have a great time trying! Thanks for the tips, mate, and have a safe passage up to Hawaii. - NH

To learn more about the adventures of Pahto, Kevin, and his wife, Katie, who are about to embark on an exciting new journey together, visit their website at: svpahto.blogspot.com. Good luck guys, it was a pleasure sharing a waypoint with you! And Kevin, let me know when a crew position opens up on the Wizard.

Day 1,723 - Opunohu Bay, Moorea (17° 29S 149° 51W)
16:55hrs - February 17th 2012
The Way to a Cruiser's Heart

There are few things in a sailor's life that can be more soul fulfilling than helping someone in trouble on the sea, and a few days ago a bad day turned into a good one and souls were fulfilled.

A Moorea summer is pretty wet, very hot and sometimes stormy, but there are in between periods of just right when the sun shines and the sky is blue and the water is perfectly clear, and when that happens it's time to visit the spot in the lagoon where the stingrays and black tip sharks go to play.  We’d spent the day with a new sailing friend and fishing fanatic Kevin, we swam about being shoved, smooshed and tickled by the soft friendly rays looking for food, all the time being circled by the oddly respectful and distant sharks (are sharks afraid of rays?) and around 4pm after some lunch and more swimming it seemed time to go, so we got into the dinghy for the 30 minute ride back to the boat.

About half way back Neville spotted two people off in the distance on the inside edge of the reef in the coral, but they were waving so we turned the dinghy in their direction and made our way through the coral to get to them.  At first it was not at all clear what had happened.  The couple in the water were locals but very far from shore with no boat, no snorkels or fins and  they were holding onto an upturned cooler? Not something you would expect to see there. Then I started to see debris floating around, bags and water bottles.  When we got up to them they asked in French if we could help them back to shore and I thought maybe they had just swum all the way out there, who knows why, but were now too tired to swim back?  The lady tried to get into the dinghy first but as she climbed in we saw she was completely exhausted and her feet and legs were scraped and cut and she had a huge fish hook fully embedded into the back of her calf muscle, and at that point we realized this was serious. 

It turned out Max and Loretta had been fishing for the day in a small aluminum boat outside the reef.  It’s not my idea of fun but it’s where all the good fishing happens. It’s where the tuna and mahi mahi are, but it’s also where the wind pushes the surf up against the reef and smashes it tumbling in frothy waves over the coral into the lagoon on the other side and today the waves were up to 6 and 8 feet high.  A great surf spot but clearly risky for fishermen.  It was a risk they must have felt they could take right up to when a bigger than expected wave caught them the wrong way, capsized the boat and sent them and the boat and everything in it bouncing and crashing over the reef into the coral on the other side.  It’s hard to imagine the moments of terror they must have felt when they were thrown out of the boat not knowing which way was up, where they were, where the boat was and when they were going to hit coral.  Somehow with enormous luck and some very good Tiki karma they managed to get over the reef relatively uninjured, find each other and something to hold onto, and then they just started waving. 

We got them into the dinghy, brought them ashore and after establishing they were more or less OK we offered to go back to the reef to try to find and retrieve the overturned boat and anything from the boat that had survived. Max wanted to come too but Loretta stayed ashore to contact family as we motored out.
I waited in the dinghy while Max Neville and Kevin found, righted and bailed the boat out. The engine was past help after bashing coral for hours but the boat looked like it might survive.  The most disappointment was reserved for the upturned tackle box we found floating a few hundred feet away, Max was the saddest I had seen him up to that point, and I was sad for him.  He had probably taken years to collect and perfect his best performing fishing gear
and every last bit of it was lost to the sea, except of course for the large hook embedded in his wife’s leg.

We went ashore today to meet Loretta and her sister.  Loretta said that it was the first and last time she was ever going fishing outside the reef again, but that her leg is mending nicely and Max was fine.  It was very good to see her recovering, dry and smiling and happy and to say thank you she and Max gave us beautiful Moorea pearl necklaces which seemed far too generous but then she produced a huge bag stuffed with perfectly ripe pineapples bananas and oranges, jackpot! Clearly they know the way to a cruisers heart!  


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Quick Fix: 17° 31.38 S / 149° 32.17 W

February 2nd 2012 (day 1,708)
Conditions:  Wind: 10/NW     Sky: Partly Sunny
                    Boat SPD: 0   (Anchored)

Where Has All The Time Gone?
I'm celebrating another birthday on Dream Time (yes, happy birthday me). My fifth one, actually, since Catherine and I set sail from New York in 2007 to begin our world adventure together. And somehow, even though we're cruising around the world at a most leisurely and sedate pace, time is whizzing along.

Ordinarily this could be cause for alarm - life sweeping past at a pace you can't quite keep track of. But I'm OK with it,
it's just like sailing, as long as you're heading in the right direction, you can just sit back, sip your Bordeaux, and
enjoy the ride. - NH