Quick Fix: 17° 29.40 S / 149° 51.10 W

March 18th 2012 (day 1,753)
Conditions:  Wind: 25/NW     Sky: Cloudy/Squalls
                    Boat SPD: 0   (Anchored)

Flag Etiquette
We've been cruising French Polynesia for a record-breaking (for us) 265 days - our longest visit in any country since leaving America. Our visas haven't expired just yet, our Polynesian courtesy flag, however, is definitely up for renewal.

Torn, frayed and faded, it's sailed with us for over a thousand nautical miles. It has weathered gales, squalls, relentless tropical sun, and steady South Pacific trades. Some cruisers choose not to fly a courtesy flag, each to their own, but for us they're like stamps in a passport - little reminders of where we've been, and for those still neatly folded in bags, of where we hope to go. - NH

Day 1,744 - Arue, Tahiti (17° 31S 149° 32W)
11:01hrs - March 9th 2012
A Big Hug From The Sea

I am a goldilocks swimmer, the conditions have to be just right, not too hot not too cold, but just right, and so this little moment of perfect goes to the top of my ‘awesome’ list.

A few days ago half way between Tahiti and Moorea, one of my favorite memories of this whole journey happened.  The deep sea between the islands was the calmest and prettiest I have ever seen it and while motoring to Tahiti, about 10 miles away from Moorea, the water became so irresistible we had to stop the boat and get in.

There was not a stitch of wind, no waves, no current just perfectly quiet dreamy deep blue water that went on for miles in every direction, and I realized it had simply been waiting patiently for me to pay attention, to know that it was there.

It held me gently while I floated next to Dream Time without a care in the world, quietly dreaming with the sun on my face and my ears just below the surface listening to the muffled silence of a vast and peaceful ocean below.

It was so perfect, it felt like one of those moments when you realize this is it people, this gorgeous thing may only ever happen once, enjoy it!  It felt like a gift, a present, a prize.  A big healing hug from the sea.


Click here to read our
article in the February
issue of Cruising World magazine >


Day 1,739 - Opunohu Bay, Moorea (17° 29S 149° 51W)
10:27hrs - March 4th 2012
A Quiet Season

We're anchored inside the lagoon at the entrance of Baie de Cook (Cook's Bay) on Moorea's northern shoreline. Our hull is throwing a shadow on the sandy bottom, which lays just two feet under our keel,
the water is clear enough to count the links in our chain, and like most of the anchorages in this part of
the South Pacific this time of year, we're the only cruisers here. A few local (French) sailboats are nearby, but for the most part the majority of cruisers are still in New Zealand, Australia, or have just transited the Panama Canal, as we did in 2009, and are now slowly heading this way.

The 'business end' of cyclone season is almost over. La Nina, the opposite of the warm El Nino weather phenomenon, kept the ocean temperatures in these parts cooler than usual, so we've had a peaceful season here, bobbing around in anchorages that, for the most part, we've shared only with a few friendly locals: spotted eagle rays that glide around the boat, stopping frequently to sniff the seabed. Puffer fish that wiggle, more than swim, to greet you whenever you jump in the water, stingrays and even the occasional shark.

In a few months the seasonal migration of cruisers will pass through and the quiet, serene anchorages that we've had mostly to ourselves over the last four months will be a-flutter with all the colors and chatter of an international cruising community. Opunohu Bay, just three miles west of Cook's Bay, and arguably the most picturesque, comfortable and convenience anchorage in all of Moorea, will easily house a few dozen cruisers - for the last week we've shared it with just three local sailboats, all of which consider it 'home port'.

We're looking forward to beginning a new cruising season, stretching our sails and heading out to the Tuamotus - a chain of over 70 perfectly formed remote, coral atolls scattered, northwest to southeast,
over a thousand miles of ocean. But before we go, we'll spend just a few more quiet weeks here, in Moorea, with the locals.